Willoughby Branch Line

The reserve is part of the disused branch railway from Willoughby to Mablethorpe. Since the line was taken up in 1971, the track has developed into a fine wildlife area with ashwood, hawthorn scrub and grassland supporting a varied flora.

The reserve is part of the disused branch railway from Willoughby to Mablethorpe. Since the line was taken up in 1971, the track has developed into a fine wildlife area with ashwood, hawthorn scrub and grassland supporting a varied flora, including abundant bird’s-foot trefoil and restharrow, hemp-agrimony, spotted-orchid, twayblade, lady’s bedstraw, yellow-wort and great burnet. Butterflies include common blue and several species of skippers and browns. Whitethroat, lesser whitethroat, blackcap, sedge warbler, redpoll and other finch species, and occasionally nightingale, nest in the reserve. Hips and haws attract fieldfares and redwings in winter, and barn owls frequently use the track for hunting.

Management consists of twice-yearly mowing of the path and the taking of a crop of hay from the wider tract of grassland at the Farlesthorpe end of the reserve. Oak, field maple, birch and alder have been planted in suitable sites along the track. Hawthorn bushes are coppiced occasionally to prevent them overgrowing the path.

The main access to the reserve is on the Farlesthorpe-Willoughby road. A small car park is provided near this entrance. From the B1196 road, a few metres east of the old Willoughbystation crossing, a green lane access may be used by courtesy of the owner. A public path runs the length of the reserve. The reserve is leased from Lincolnshire County Council and is a statutory Local Nature Reserve.

Further information

Follow the link to the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust website (see “Related Links” below).

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Last updated: 16 May 2014

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