Recently Viewed

Close Remove All

Dudley Council the historic capital of the Black Country
Dudley Skyline

Barrow Hill Local Nature Reserve

Barrow Hill is one of the most significant and well-loved areas of green space in the borough. It supports our largest and most diverse area of grassland, ancient woodland, ponds with populations of Great Crested Newt and other important habitats and species.

In July 2005, Barrow Hill was declared a Local Nature Reserve to preserve wildlife and geology of a special interest and to allow people to come into contact with and study nature. 

Management of Barrow Hill

The area is linked to both the Fens Pools area and the Staffordshire countryside via the Pensnett Railway Walk.  As a local nature reserve, Barrow Hill’s future is more certain. In managing it, the challenge is to ensure that the wilderness quality that makes it such an attractive site is retained, whilst at the same time, there is proper provision for access for all people to this very pleasant green space.  One such agricultural technique that we use is hedge laying, a process that rejuvenates hedge growth and in turn improves wildlife diversity. Visitors can see long sections of hedge in different stages of growth throughout Barrow Hill. 

The Dudley Volcano

About

About 315 million years ago, the area where Dudley now stands lay at the southern edge of a vast tropical river delta swamp that stretched as far north as what is now southern Scotland. Resembling today’s Mississippi delta, the sediments deposited in the swamps formed the Coal Measures that fuelled the Industrial Revolution.

Earth movements uplifted land to the south and the swamps gave way to a well drained floodplain. During this new phase, Etruria Marl was formed, the clays of which are very important locally for brick-making.

Faulting in the Earth’s crust allowed magma to intrude the buried sediments. At Barrow Hill, surges of ash and lava erupted from a volcano, similar to those in Iceland today.

Conifers growing on the slopes of the volcano were buried by a gentle, but rapid ash deposit that preserved them in situ. The heat charred the outer bark, but the internal structure has been well preserved, making them the oldest three-dimensional conifers yet discovered in the world. Some of these fossils can be seen at Dudley Museum and Art Gallery.

Erosion of the softer rocks that covered the volcano’s magma chamber has left much harder dolerite standing proud as the hill we see today. Although relatively small, the outcrop was quarried for road stone in the 19th Century.

As a local nature reserve, Barrow Hill’s future is more certain. In managing it, the challenge is to ensure that the wilderness quality that makes it such an attractive site is retained, whilst at the same time, there is proper provision for access for all people to this very pleasant green space.

  • Barrow Hill Scenic Photograph
  • Next to St Marks Church, Vicarage Lane, Pensnett, Dudley, West Midlands, DY5 4JH.

    The nature reserve is located just off the A4101 High Street, next to Russells Hall Hospital. The nearest motorway connection is junction 2 of the M5, which is a 20 minute drive away.

    Parking on Vicarage Lane.

    The nearest rail stations to Russells Hall Hospital are: Stourbridge Town, Dudley Port and Sandwell & Dudley.

  • The Barrow Hill Wardens, The Wardens Base, Dell Stadium, Junction of Bryce Road and Pensnett Road, Pensnett, Brierley Hill, Dudley, DY5 4NE.

    Telephone: 01384 812780

    Contact Barrow Hill Wardens