Cotwall End Valley is a Local Nature Reserve and Site of Importance for Nature Conservation, comprising a variety of habitats including species-rich grassland, ancient and semi-natural woodland and lowland health.
The walk passes through picturesque wooded valleys with pools, brooks and natural springs. The valley has a rich history and geology associated with its agricultural and industrial past. The site has some important wildlife with nationally rare flora and fauna including several species of orchid and the endangered Great Crested Newt. In addition to wildlife, Turner’s Hill geological Site of Special Scientific Interest provides important exposures of a sequence of strata of late Silurian age, including the Sedgley Limestone and Ludlow Bone Bed.
The history of the area is rich and fascinating. Cotwall End was originally a small hamlet of one or two farms established by the reign of Edward III. The reserve is well supplied with water and has numerous natural springs, which would have made it very productive farmland. ‘Bob’s Brook’ in the Dingle is a head-water of the River Stour. Water from the valley was also used to supply Dud Dudley’s revolutionary iron foundry in the early 17th century. In the past, the considerable geological resources such as clays and sandstones have been exploited for high quality bricks and grinding stones amongst other things. Four coal seams occur in the valley and were mined with varying degrees of success including the famous 9m (30ft) Staffordshire Thick Coal seam found 75m (80 yards) below the surface.
Brockswood Animal Sanctuary operates from the reserve and is owned by Mr Neil Swann. For further information please telephone 01902 884390