Location Barnstaple SS539340
Road Access Viewable from Western Ave, Pottington
Habitat Scrape and pond with rough grazing
Size 7 ha
Access Closed reserve
Site Manager 01769 559063
Tenure Freehold

Bradiford Reserve

Places to GoBradiford

This area of rough grazing, is small, about 17 acres, and sits at the western end of the Pottington Industrial Estate in Barnstaple. The estate forms the eastern boundary while on the western side is Bradiford Water (a small river). The southern boundary is part of the Tarka Trail. It is a closed reserve, which can be viewed from the five-bar gate at the end of Western Avenue in Pottington, or from the raised ex-railway line that is the Tarka Trail.

When the new downstream bridge was built, the County Council agreed to assist with creating a scrape in the reserve in mitigation for the loss of some reed-bed habitat, lost when the new junction was created at the northern end of the bridge. A large amount of topsoil was removed to create the scrape, and another pond was created adjacent to the Tarka Trail. These areas are designed to be freshwater features, as there is plenty of saltmarsh on the adjacent estuary. The scrape floods at high tide – but with backing up freshwater coming down the river, this provides a place for Gulls to preen before flying to the field across the river to rest. The exposed mud attracts a few waders, but unfortunately these are often chased off by the resident Moorhens.

Three Otter layups are being created in the field. These will be planted with low growing shrubs and will provide the local Otters with places to rest up during the day. They should also become nesting places for small birds.

Birding highlights have undoubtedly been the White Stork I saw fly over  – until I discovered on later viewings that it had been ringed! A Spotted Crake was found in 2009, and a Bittern observed briefly in 2010.  Whinchats seem to like the fence-posts in autumn, as do Wheatears. Several Duck species make use of the pond, river and scrape, and a few wader species have been observed feeding around the pond.

Volunteer help needed occasionally - Contact Tim Smith 01769 559063