Broadwater Warren lies within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty near to Royal Tunbridge Wells. The heathland and woodland at the reserve are undergoing restoration which started in 2007. More than a decade on it is now returning to a mosaic of heathland and native woodland with scrubby margins. Just like it would have been centuries ago.
The restoration at the reserve has enabled heathland birds such as woodlark, tree pipit, and even the threatened nightjar to increase in number. And it’s not just birds that have benefited from the conservation work. Adders, bumblebees, wasps, and butterflies have also made a comeback, while the restored pond is frequented by heron, kingfisher, dragonflies, and frogs!
A number of migrant birds breed at Broadwater Warren – such as whitethroats, tree pipits and nightjars – and spring sees the return of these species. Both great and lesser spotted woodpeckers can be heard drumming in the woodlands, too. In the summer, species such as yellowhammers will be in full song, and dragonflies can be found at the restored pond. Crossbills can be seen at the reserve in winter, along with the occasional Dartford warbler! WildSide users have also spotted endangered marsh tits as well as Eurasian jays.
Broadwater Warren isn’t just great for wildlife watching – there are various walking trails on the reserve ranging from 1.5 to 3 miles long. There are also a couple of designated viewpoints that allow you to take in the sights of the reserve. Keep your eye out for a small herd of ponies that are grazing on site too.
Average rating: 3.0 (good)
Average cost: free! Entry is free to RSPB members and non-RSPB members alike, and so is the on-site car park.
Best time to visit: year-round – there is something to see in each season, from nightjars, chiffchaffs and tree pipits in spring, to lesser redpolls and siskins in winter. The reserve is open from 8 am (Tuesday 10 am) to 5 pm every day.
How to get there: there is a free car park on-site and it is just outside of Royal Tunbridge Wells. Buses from Royal Tunbridge Wells stop on the A26 which is close to the reserve. The nearest train station is Eridge although you need to walk over 2 km to get to the reserve.
Typical activities: bird watching, walking
Number of reports: 1
Last updated: 2021
WILDLIFE IN Broadwater warren
According to reports submitted to WildSide, the most popular species that can be seen here are:
marsh tit – 100% OF WILDSIDE USERS (1/1) REPORTED SIGHTINGS
The marsh tit is on the UK’s Red List for endangered birds – there are only around 40,000 breeding territories in the UK. As a comparison, blue tits are estimated to have 3.5 million breeding territories. The marsh tit is a small, mainly brown bird with a black cap, dark bib, and pale belly. They are similar in appearance to the willow tit, making accurate identification tricky! Marsh tits are most abundant in Wales and Southern and Eastern England and are often found in broadleaf woodland and copses, as well as parks and gardens. The woodlands at Broadwater Warren are being managed for vulnerable species such as the marsh tit, with the wet woodlands and large oaks providing homes for them.
Eurasian Jay – 100% OF WILDSIDE USERS (1/1) REPORTED SIGHTINGS
Jays are beautifully coloured members of the crow family. They are easily recognised by the brilliant blue feathers on their wings. Unlike crows and magpies, they are shy birds. So look out for a flash of white and blue and a screaming call as they fly between the trees. The best time to see them is autumn when they move about the trees looking for food. During this time they are easy to spot hunting for acorns which they store in their favourite hiding places to provide a source of food for the winter. They live in both coniferous and deciduous woodland, especially where there are oak trees. Broadwater Warren has a lot of large oak trees, making it a great place to spot (or more likely hear) jays!
Photo credit: Kentish Plumber under a Creative Commons licence from Flickr