Linwood Warren Nature Reserve
An Introduction by:
Manager Brian Oxborrow
In the 1940’s and 50’s, as bigger farm machinery, diggers and chain saws became more plentiful, members of the Lincolnshire Naturalists Union became concerned for the future of our wildlife. One of the members, Dick Cornwallis, a local farmer, is said to have had a dream or nightmare of coming home over the Humber Bridge (not built until several years later) and seen Lincolnshire laid out before him as one great plain of waving corn, no trees or hedges to be seen. He and colleagues decided to set up an organization to save sites of biological interest, from further destruction. Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust was the third Wildlife Trust to be formed. One of the first Nature Reserves to be acquired and set up was Linwood Warren, which was developed from unproductive farmland.
Linwood Warren was known by Dick Cornwallis for its varied habitats and wildlife, and has evidence of human activity by Stone Age Man, the Romans and Normans who introduced the rabbits. A pre World War 1 shooting range and World War 1 practice trenches can clearly be seen.
In the early days, reserves were left to nature, resulting in dominant grasses and invasive scrub taking over after many of the rabbits were decimated by myxomatosis, which resulted in the loss of heather and heathland habitat.
The 1970s saw a change in the management policy; isolated areas of scrub on the wet heath were cleared by volunteers (some of the pine trees being 30 years old). On the dry heath, some of the dominant grasses that were stopping heather regeneration, were scraped off. In both cases heather seedlings emerged within months.
With changes in Government policy in the 1980s, more money became available to put in fences for limited grazing, a pond was excavated and more extensive scrub clearance undertaken.
The Warren is always a pleasant site to visit, where you can see ling, cross-leaved heath and bell heather and bilberry. If you are quiet and lucky, you may recognize several species of birds including 3 types of woodpecker, goldcrests, woodcock and buzzard; mammals including water shrew, rabbits, stoat and fox; reptiles including slow-worms, adders and grass snakes, many amphibians around the pond along with a great variety of insects including beautiful butterflies and dragonflies.
Our volunteers still play a very important role in maintaining this heathland site by removing scrub, bracken and brambles, keeping pathways open and providing areas so that heather can regenerate and wild flower numbers increase.
Regular Work Parties are held on the first Sunday of every month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visitors are always welcome on these mornings, to see the work in progress or to join in the activities.
Like all Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust Reserves, Linwood Warren is always open for visitors.