New and updated routes and amenities improve accessibility for visitors to the site.
Councillor Danny Millard, Sandwell Council cabinet member for culture and tourism, marked the official launch on Monday, 8 November, of new and updated routes and amenities at Warrens Hall Local Nature Reserve that improve accessibility for visitors to the site.
Located on the border of Sandwell and Dudley, the 17-hectare nature reserve is an area with a rich industrial heritage: Cobb's Engine House, which dates from 1831, was once home to a Watt beam engine. The site also provides an important home for plants and animals among its grasslands, hedgerows, pools, streams and canals.
The reserve is high on the Rowley Hills, with views to the Clent, Abberley and Malvern Hills, and features a network of steep, undulating paths. The sharp gradients of some areas of the site had previously been inaccessible to a number of visitors.
With £80k collectively from the government-funded Towns Fund Accelerated Programme for Rowley Regis, and Sandwell Council accessibility funding, several features now have improved accessibility. Pathways have been updated and reprofiled; new paths have been installed including a route to Cobb's Engine House; several fishing resources were improved; and new bins and benches installed, with some of the latter including tarmac pads to provide strong, secure footing.
Councillor Millard said: Warrens Hall Local Nature Reserve is a special place for so many people in the Black Country and beyond. Its combination of our industrial heritage and green spaces have drawn people here for many years, and provided a place of respite for people during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
Sandwell Council has worked closely with the Friends of Bumble Hole and Warrens Hall to identify priority areas that would benefit from improved accessibility, opening up the nature reserve so that more people can get around the site and enjoy its unique charm.
Brenda, a representative of the Bumble Hole and Warrens Hall Conservation Team, said: It was great for the Conservation Team to work with the Sandwell Valley management team and to see improvements carried out to this unique and important Black Country site. It is encouraging to see how the funding has improved access for more local people and visitors to this beautiful place.
Warrens Hall Local Nature Reserve is part of Geosite12, which also includes Dudley Council adjacent Bumble Hole. Geosites are sites of special geological interest which collectively form part of the UNESCO Black Country Geo Park.
For further information about Warrens Hall Local Nature Reserve, call the team at Sandwell Valley Country Park on 0121 569 3070.