We are very fortunate as residents of Brilley to have a Herefordshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve Brilley Green Dingle on our doorstep.
Brilley Green Dingle is part ancient semi-natural woodland and part plantation on an ancient site. It lies on the south-facing slope of a steep sided valley through which runs the fast-flowing Milllhalf Brook.
The reserve can be visited all year round.
There is a clearly defined circular route running around the reserve. In winter or during prolonged wet weather, some lower parts of the reserve become extremely muddy and difficult to negotiate. Boardwalks have been installed on some sections to alleviate this. There are several flights of steps running up the steep valley sides and during wet weather tracks may become very muddy.
Please note parking is restricted to one car at each access
Brilley Green Dingle has a rich bird life and several dedicated people monitor individual species.
The pied flycatcher population in Brilley Green Dingle has been monitored for more than 10 years by local person Rod Symondson who gives a personal account below and provided us with the wonderful pictures of this lovely bird.
In 2004, the wildlife trust were looking for someone to set up a nest box scheme to monitor pied flycatchers at Brilley Green Dingle. I decided to put myself forward, and the following year under the guidance of expert, Dr David Boddington a former HWT chairman, I erected eleven nest boxes to begin with and awaited with eager anticipation for spring to produce a crop of pied flycatcher chicks. Well; it was a disaster.; Virtually every box was occupied either by blue tits or great tits, but not one pair of pied flycatchers.
However it was a learning curve and the following year I blocked up a few of the nest boxes with corks (not wishing to make too many tits homeless) opening them up again towards the end of April, when the pied flycatchers would normally arrive in Britain from Africa. The result was that this time in 2006, three nest boxes were occupied by pied flycatchers producing a total of 23 eggs of which only a disappointing 14 hatched and fledged, but in the intervening years, the number of nests has fluctuated to between three and five producing up to thirty eggs and usually resulting in 100% success rate in fledging young. Best of all, we ring the young and when possible the adults, and on occasions, I have been delighted to find that there were returnees who had flown to Africa upon fledging and back, returning again to Brilley Green Dingle, their place of birth. What strength for so tiny a bird, smaller than a sparrow, and what amazing satnav they possess!
Please do not unblock plugged holes pre nesting nor inspect unauthorised any nest boxes especially during the nesting season.
There are multiple bat boxes in the Brilley Dingle which are monitored by the Herefordshire Mammals Group.
More to follow....