Hidden Gems – Coldwaltham Yew Tree & Warnham Nature Reserve

Did you nominate a Hidden Gem for the Horsham District Year of Culture 2019? We had some fantastic entries and it showed just how diverse and interesting our district is. The 12 Hidden Gems for 2019 have now been chosen, and include Warnham Nature Reserve and the Coldwaltham yew tree.

The Coldwaltham Yew Tree

It’s been fascinating researching the Hidden Gems for the Year of Culture; the team had no idea there was a yew tree in the churchyard at Coldwaltham which measures approx.10 metres around the trunk! Reports estimate the tree to be anywhere in the range of 300 years to 3000 years old but the exact age cannot be confirmed. The age of a tree is usually determined by the girth or through a core sample. As yew trees are very slow growing and usually hollow, neither of these methods is possible to pinpoint it’s age more accurately.

The Church and the Yew Tree

The Coldwaltham yew tree stands in the yard of St Giles Church, which was built around 1200. This leads people to believe this is when the tree was planted as yews often form part of a churchyard’s foliage. It is thought to be one of the 12th oldest trees in England, and was granted a Tree Preservation Order in 1964 to protect it from being felled or damaged. It also ensures protected trees are preserved, and in the 1980’s a tree surgeon was called to work on the Coldwaltham yew. This tree surgeon, Mr Watkins, braced and stapled the tree and his belief was the tree is over 500 years old at least.

If you have not visited St Giles Church in Coldwaltham, or seen the Coldwaltham yew, we would highly recommend a visit. The church itself has a rich history and the yew is magnificent! We’re delighted this was nominated and will be a Hidden Gem for the Year of Culture.

Warnham Nature Reserve

Another of our Hidden Gems is the 92 acre Warnham Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Horsham town centre. This beautifully tranquil haven was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 1988 and is a truly lovely place to visit and stroll round. It attracts twitchers (bird watchers) from far and wide due to the diverse and huge range of birds who use the reserve.

What’s at Warnham Nature Reserve?

If you visit the reserve the volunteers update a large outdoor noticeboard regularly, showing the species which have been spotted around Warnham Nature Reserve. There are some rare species which inhabit the area, we were amazed at the number of different species here including:

  • Over 470 species of plants
  • Over 160 species of birds, including herons and all three species of woodpeckers
  • 12 species of reptiles and amphibians
  • 35 species of butterflies, including some very rare ones
  • Over 30 species of mammals including deer, foxes, voles, shrews, mice, bats and more
  • Over 750 species of moths with rare species actually breeding at the reserve
  • 25 species of dragonfly, in fact this is one of the best dragonfly sites in the county!
  • 58 species of fungi

Many of the birds and animals are attracted to the water at Warnham Nature Reserve, with two streams, Boldings Brook and Chennels Brook, feeding the 17 acre millpond there. In addition there are three small ponds together with reed beds and marshes with boardwalks over them. There is a wonderful mix of grassland and woodland with a large bird feeding area, attracting many species which you can watch a close range. There are also four hides for the professional twitchers amongst you and the more amateur bird watchers too!

You can find out more about the remainder of the Hidden Gems soon, so keep an eye out for our updates, you can follow the Horsham District Year of Culture 2019 on Facebook, we’re also on Twitter and Instagram as @HDCulture2019.

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