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A picture of Ramsey Heights Nature Reserve
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Note: Some maps including this one show Chapel Road as Heights Drove Road but it is clearly signposted as Chapel road
The Ramsey Heights Nature Reserve consists of a series of water-filled pits, sites of former buildings, orchards and rough ground. The series of small pits mark the site where clay was dug in the 19th Century for making roof tiles, bricks and field drains. The kiln, with four firing channels, which has been converted into an Interpretative Centre known as the Countryside Classroom, was in industrial use from about 1840-1920.
Until about 1950, the site formed part of a small farm, with at least 3 houses and out-buildings, but only the foundations of these can now be seen, although the cowsheds still exist and are being converted into outdoor classrooms for children.
The ponds are full of common reed (Phragmites communis), with smaller colonies of the Great and Lesser Reedmace (Typha latifolia and T. angustifolia), but around the edges are patches of Yellow Flag (Iris pseudacorus), Great Pond Sedge (Carex riparia) and Reed Grass (Glyceria maxima). The ponds are fringed with a variety of Willow species; including Salix purpurea, S. viminalis, S. cinerea and S. alba. Scrub, particularly Hawthorn, Blackthorn and Rose are scattered in the Reserve, with a number of trees; relics of former habitations. A fox-earth on the reserve is usually occupied, and lizards have been seen for a number of years. Birds, such as moorhens, sedge warblers, and a variety of tits are frequent visitors whilst the ponds a home to a variety of aquatic life, including nine and three spined sticklebacks.
There is a permanent nature trail at the reserve together with an explanatory leaflet obtainable from the Countryside Classroom in the reserve (follow link above).
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