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Upton Warren - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Pam_m
The Flashes Pool at Upton Warren

England, Worcestershire



The reserve covers 65 acres (26 hectares) and is in two distinct parts - the Moors Pools and The Flashes - each with their own access arrangements.

The Moors Pools, which form the northern part of the reserve, are freshwater lakes formed on previous agricultural land. They attract a lot of wildfowl and are also home to a wide variety of other bird species.

The Flashes form the southern part of the reserve. These are saline, receiving brine from underground seepage. The pools owe their existence to past underground brine extraction, which has caused subsidence and the consequent flooding.

Between them is the Sailing Pool, outside of the reserve boundary and owned by the County Council, which can also record some interesting birds.

Upton Warren is a must-visit reserve if you live in the West Midlands or are passing through.


Notable Species

Photo by Sy V
Moors Pool at Upton Warren

The ever changing seasons bring a great chance of a rare wader. Peregrine are regularly seen throughout the year perching on the adjacent radio masts at the Flashes. In the last decade Bittern have often seen on the Moors Pool from as early as July (2009) through till March with as many as four birds present on occasions. After the harsh winter of November 2010 to January 2011 which wiped out the Cetti's Warbler colony of 19 years standing, the species returned as a breeder in 2013. The Moors Pool offers fantastic photographic opportunities for Kingfisher and Water Rail (especially in the winter), while the Flashes holds an ever increasing breeding population of Avocets.


In total 244 species have been recorded at Upton Warren, including many county firsts for Worcestershire. Notable sightings include:

Wilson's Phalarope, Red-necked Phalarope, European Bee-eater, Black-winged Stilt, Great White Egret, Savi's Warbler, Black-necked Grebe, Gannet, Bluethroat, Spotted Crake, Least Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, Spoonbill, Caspian Tern, Sabine's Gull, Eurasian Hoopoe, Temminck's Stint, Golden Oriole, Laughing Gull, Glossy Ibis, Marsh Warbler, Montagu's Harrier, White-winged Black Tern, Richard's Pipit, Rustic Bunting, Blue-winged Teal, Purple Heron, Red-backed Shrike, Great Grey Shrike.


Around 150-155 species are annually recorded on the reserve.

Birds you can see here include:

Great Bittern, Grey Heron, Common Shelduck, Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Water Rail, Common Buzzard, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Hobby, Peregrine Falcon,Water Rail, Pied Avocet, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Northern Lapwing, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Common Redshank, Eurasian Curlew, Common Snipe, Jack Snipe, Black Headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Barn Owl, Common Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare, Eurasian Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Common Reed Warbler, Willow Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Jay, Chaffinch, Brambling, Eurasian Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, European Goldfinch, European Greenfinch, Eurasian Bullfinch, Reed Bunting,

Other Wildlife

Insects are abundant on the Moors Pools. The ruddy darter frequents these pools along with the southern and brown hawker dragonflies. Banded demoiselles and blue tailed damselflies skim the surface of the pool. Several species of butterfly have been noted at both sites - Marbled White, Small Copper, Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Gatekeeper to name a few.

Otters are occasionally noted at the Moors Pool.

Throughout each season there is an abundance of flora at both sites. Of particular interest are the Bee and Pyramidal Orchids at the Moors Pool.

Site Information

History and Use

Upton Warren has one of the most active threads on Bird Forum with regular updates on sightings, information on the management work parties and their objectives, historical data on previous sightings and a host of quality photographs.

There is also a well populated Flicker group.

Areas of Interest

Photo by Sy V
View from the Eastern Moors Pool Hide
  • The Moors Pools - on the northern part of the reserve
  • The Flashes Pools - on the southern part of the reserve

Access and Facilities

  • The entrance to the Moors Pool area is on the A38 Droitwich to Bromsgrove road about 450m north of the Swan Inn at Upton Warren (look for the "Lifestyles" sign by the road); there is a parking area on the left after 150 yards for around 20 vehicles. Please do not drive further up this access track towards the residencies.
  • Access to the Flashes Pools is from the sailing centre car park, located off the Webbs garden centre roundabout on the A38, about 200m south west of the Swan Inn. Walk round the south west bank of the sailing pool to this part of the reserve.
  • There are several well maintained bird-watching hides on both sides of the reserves.
  • Wildlife Trust members should carry their membership card, and non-members must obtain a permit either from the Trust offices at Lower Smite Farm or from the Outdoor Education Centre for which a charge is made. The charge is £3 per day either from the Sailing centre or wardens on site. All money goes to the up-keep of the reserve - usually buying new equipment (a £600 strimmer was bought from the proceeds in October 2009). Group visits are by arrangement only with the WWT. Please note there is no reciprocal arrangement with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and members of that Trust will be charged a £3 day permit.
  • Nearby toilet and refreshments are at the BP Garage, although there are toilets inside the Sailing Centre's Reception area, if you can find a member of staff (with knowledge of the combination) to open the main door. The Swan Inn and Webbs Garden Centre opposite the sailing centre also has toilets and eating facilities.
  • Grid Ref: SO936677 (Moors Pools)
  • Grid Ref: SO932673 (Flashes Pools)

Contact Details

For further information on this, or any other Worcestershire Wildlife Trust (WWT) reserve, please contact:

Lower Smite Farm,
Smite Hill,
WR3 8SZ.
Phone: 01905 754919,
Fax: 01905 755868,
Email: [email protected]

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1

Content and images originally posted by timmyjones


jackied's review

There are 2 main pools, one fresh water where the majority of the ducks can be found and one brine which the wading birds like. some good birds turn up on migration and ducks and geese winter, mainly Canada Geese. Over the last few years Avocets have bred here. Bitterns can be found in winter.


  • Always something to see


  • No wheelchair access

Arthur John's review

I have been going for three years now and never tire of the place. Although I have visited many reserves, few have as much to offer.


  • often surprising visitors
  • anything can turn up


  • none

ajkwba's review

Range of habitats, up to date records books kept


  • Easy access


  • Limited parking at Moors Pools