RSPB Walsall Local Group

a million voices for nature

Field Trip: Ladybower Reservoir

13 July 2003

Our first visit to this reservoir. sat high in the Peak District, took place on a hot, sunny day. The reservoir itself does not hold many birds, apart form the usual ducks and geese,. Being very peaty; we had come to see what we could find on th moorland above the valley.

The feeding station at the National Park Information Centre was well stocked with nits and seed, proving an attraction for Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Tits, including Coal Tit.

Moving past the Centre, we followed the road round, opposite the dam, before cutting off uphill, along a narrow track to the top of the dam. This is where the Dambusters trained during World War two, and where the film commemorating their adventures was made.

The path levelled off here, and , being wide, was very popular with cyclists. After nearly a mile, we took a path through Shireowlers Plantation, heading up onto th moor. This proved to be very steep, so we took our time, pausing at very opportunity to look for birds and catch our breath. There were several Meadow Pipits, Wrens and a Kestrel to add to our list, before we toped for an early lunch. In the field next to the track we were watching some Pheasants, when three waders appeared from out of a dip on the ground; after some debate and use of a telescope, they were identified as Whimbrel. Moments later a large raptor appeared, easily identified as a Goshawk, quite rare in Walsall (!), but breeding up here.

Moving onwards (and still upwards) we skirted the trig point at Back Tor and made for the path along the ridge. The diversion proved to be a good decision, as we put up a covey of about eight or ten Red Grouse.

Reaching the ridge by the 'cakes of Bread' - a group of stones, imaginatively named - we could see the skyline of Sheffield in the distance. Other rocks we passed up here were called "Salt Cellar" and "Wheel Stones", which did bear some resemblance to an old- fashioned stage coach. The path here onwards was downhill along an old packhorse route back to the reservoir. Here we passed through what was left of the old village of Derwent. The rest of it disappeared when the valley was flooded.

We stopped by an old bridge and collected cherries from a tree, before making our weary way back to the car park and a welcome ice cream at the Information Centre.

Mike Pittaway

Birds seen on the trip were:

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