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Dudley Council the historic capital of the Black Country
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Wren's Nest National Nature Reserve

Wren's Nest National Nature Reserve of exceptional importance. It is one of the most notable geological locations in the British Isles and visited and studied by geologists from all over the world.

Facilities and Disabled Access

Facilities
  • Unfortunately, there are no visitor facilities (visitor centre, toilets etc) at Wren's Nest.
Disabled Access
  • The topography of the site is varied and we would suggest that visitors with specific requirements contact us before you travel to ensure that you have the necessary information.
  • The Highlights Walk (Orange on the visitor map) has been upgraded and would be suitable for a mobility scooter or wheelchair user with some additional support.
  • The lower path to the Coral Reef and Ripple Beds is flat, however the path to the Seven Sisters Mine does have some steep slopes.
  • Entrance to the paths are through gates operated by RADAR key during car park opening hours.

Come and 'Hunt the Dudley Bug'

Join one of the wardens on a guided walk around the Nature Reserve for a 'Hunt the Dudley Bug' walk. Learn how Dudley used to be under a tropical sea, find your own fossils to take home, and maybe you will find your very own Dudley Bug.

Community groups and schools

Groups are welcome to visit the site throughout the year and we can hold warden led groups and tours. You are also welcome to visit without booking these.

Schools

School visits should be booked through the Wardens.

We can offer structured workshops featuring: 

  • Hands on activities
  • Handling of artefacts and models
  • Coverage of a wide range of topic areas.

Trips can also be combined with a visit to Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust.

Rock Detectives - Key Stage 3: We have developed a free, comprehensive education pack called 'Rock Detectives' aimed at KS3.

Wren's Nest Group Booking Form (PDF 86.03KB)

Wildlife

The limestone rock at Wren's Nest provides an environment where a distinct range of habitats and species of plants and animals are found. 

Plants, flowers and grasses

In early summer the limestone grasslands are rich in fine displays of wildflowers in a variety of colours, plant forms and leaf shapes.  Many of these plants are locally rare and Wren’s Nest is one of the few places in the West Midlands where these attractive plants can be seen.  Other examples include: Small Scabious, Milkwort, Quaking Grass, Hoary Plantain, common spotted Orchid, Bee Orchid, Pyramidal Orchid.

Grasslands on the Reserve are cut once a year towards the end of summer, a style of management which favours an attractive variety of wild flowers and grasses including Sweet Vernal Grass, Crested Dog's-tail and Hay Rattle. Where deeper and richer soils have developed, coarser grasses like Cocksfoot will be found, with swathes of Willowherb, Thistle and Bramble.

Trees

On the hill at the southern part of the reserve you will see some of the oldest surviving trees planted over the last 200 years, including Ash, Beech and Sycamore.  The Ash woodlands have a good range of shrubs and assortment of mosses, ferns and other woodland floor plants.

Butterflies and insects

At the height of summer a walk across Wren's Nest should allow you to see as many as ten different kinds of butterfly.  Clumps of thistles and knapweed are a good place to see Red Admirals, Skippers and Small Tortoiseshells which visit them to feed on nectar.

Many other insects also take advantage of the rich sources of nectar at Wren's Nest, such as Bumble Bees, Hoverflies and a great variety of beetles. Brown Hawker and Common Darter dragonflies may be found hunting along hedgerows or in quarries.

Fossils and Geology

Over 400 million years ago, the area where Dudley now stands was covered by coral reefs and tropical seas providing an environment for the famous fossils we find there today. Over 700 types of fossil are known to have come from Wren's Nest. 186 of which were first discovered and described here and 86 are found nowhere else on Earth.  Find out more about Wren's Nest Fossils.

Geology Matters is a searchable website which allows users to find information about fossil, mineral and rock specimens held by the museums services within the Black Country and other related material held by the Black Country archive services.

Heritage projects and funding

Wren's Nest has been fortunate to receive Heritage Lottery and Natural England funding for improvements around the National Nature Reserve.  In 2008, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded a grant of nearly £800,000 to Dudley Council to enhance Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve for its' project, Ripples Through Time.  In 2010, the project received additional support (£70,000) from Natural England's, Natural Assets programme, funded by Advantage West Midlands.

The new works were officially opened on 27th September 2011, the nature reserves 55th Anniversary.  As part of the Ripples through Time project, a number of work streams were implemented including:

Physical improvements

Included entrances, paths, steps and fencing as well as creating four new walking routes around the reserve. These have seen the introduction of new way markers to guide visitors around the site, each with their own story to tell.

  • Accessible route - a route which takes visitors to the key features of the site including the Fossil Trench, Ripple Beds, which are both on the lower part of the site and are suitable for all wheelchairs and buggies, while the Seven Sisters Mine, due to the sites topography is accessible for those in a motorised wheelchair or who have assistance as some slopes are at an increased gradient.
  • Murchisons Trail - explores the key geological features of the site, including the 'NCC Cut' and 'Murchisons Viewpoint' as well as the Seven Sisters and the Ripple Beds
  • Wildlife Trail - this walk will take you over both the Wren's Nest Hill and Mons Hill sides of the Nature Reserve, visiting some of the key areas for wildlife watching
  • Abraham Darby - find out more about the Archaeological features of the site, including the birthplace of Abraham Darby and the foundations of the old farm house.

The funding also allowed us to renew access to the viewing area of the Seven Sisters Mine which had been fenced off and inaccessible to the public for over seven years and build two new viewing platforms at the Northern and Southern ends of the mine.

A new car park was also built for the National Nature Reserve. This is located off Wrens Hill Road.

Interpretation and learning

A number of new interpretation features have been designed and installed throughout the Nature Reserve – information panels, sculptural pieces and a ‘time periscope’.

A Learning and Community Development Officer was appointed to develop the learning, interpretation, volunteer and community development aspects of the nature reserve. Development of learning resources including on-site and outreach programmes, website, online learning packages (including podcast) and expanded guided walks, talks and special events have been developed.

Friends of Wren's Nest

Established in 2006 the 'Friends of Wren's Nest' Group was set as a social group for people with an interest in the site, and to also provide on-site practical support to the Warden service.

The Friends Group pride themselves on being a very sociable group with regular events and meetings to suit all tastes. As well as fundraising, meeting and events the group are keenly active and involved in habitat management, tree planting and hedge laying each winter.

If you are interested in joining the 'Friends of Wren's Nest' Group please contact us on contact@friendsofwrensnest.org.uk.  For more information and to find out what you can get involved in follow us on Facebook @FOWNNNR.

Monthly Litter Pick - We have a regular litter pick who meet every 2nd Tuesday of the month at the Wardens base. 10am - 12pm (2 hours). Find out how to get involved on our Facebook page or call Linda on 07880 578837.

  • The Wardens, Wren's Nest National Nature Reserve.

    General Contact Form

    Follow us on Facebook @FOWNNNR.

  • Wren's Nest National Nature Reserve, Wren’s Hill Road, Dudley, DY1 3SB

  • The car park is located on Wrens Hill Road. The car park is open between 09.30 - 16.00, Monday to Friday.

    Disabled access: There is one car parking space designated for blue badge holders at the nature reserve car park.

  • The Nature Reserve is open 24 hours.