Once the home of the Charlton family who occupied Apley Castle from the 13th century until 1955, Apley Woods are a fine example of a 19th century landscaped woodland with 56 acres of meadows, trees, winding paths and pools. Following a period of neglect, since 2007 volunteer conservation group the Friends of Apley Woods and Telford and Wrekin Council have worked closely together to gain Local Nature Reserve status for the site.
The wide range of habitats provide a home to many mammal species including grey squirrels, rabbits, moles and occasional passing badgers and red foxes. Bank voles, wood mice, yellow-necked mice and shrews can be found under hedgerows and brambles providing a valuable food source for the healthy Tawny Owl population and the less common Barn Owl. Six different species of bats have been recorded here including the Whiskered and Brown Long-Eared. Particularly important to the bats is the open water, especially at the large fishing pool. The open grassland and glades in the woods are good habitats for butterflies, and moths that are on the threatened list, such as the hauntingly beautiful Ghost Moth. Threatened bird species - the song and mistle thrush - are regular visitors along with woodland specialists nuthatch, treecreeper and great-spotted woodpecker and summer migrants such as blackcaps and chiffchaff.
Nestled at the southern edge of Apley Woods, the Duck Pond is particularly popular with families. The decking platform and gently sloping banks are perfect for feeding the mallards which, for many young children, is their first opportunity to engage with nature. The pond is also a favourite haunt for the common and soprano pipistrelle bats that roost in the nearby trees. Wooden benches around the pond offer a place to sit and reflect, to observe the wildlife and appreciate the changing seasons.
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