Doxey Marshes is a great place to visit and discover birds with over 200 species recorded within the reserve, as well as over 80 breeding species. One of the Trust’s largest nature reserves, Doxey Marshes, forms part of the extensive floodplain of the River Sow.
Within two miles of Stafford town centre, Doxey Marches is located, a 150 hectares nature reserve. It is managed by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. Throughout the summer the trust manages the reserve through grazing, keeping the grass short enough for birds to nest while able to keep a look out for predators. Cattle numbers are tracked by the trust to ensure the safety of the nesting grounds, so eggs and nests aren’t trampled during breeding season.
The reserve is renowned as a site of special scientific interest, for its wet grassland habitat and its breeding wading birds and wildfowl, it is specifically known for its populations of breeding snipe. However, nationally, the habitat is one of the most threatened.
On the reserve are two bird hides, as well as a series of pond dipping platforms. The reserve contains a mosaic of habitats these include; lowland wet grassland, open water, reedbed, drains and ditches, seasonal pools, willow coppice and mature hedgerows.
Due to forming part of the River Sow floodplain, the area is naturally wet and will occasionally flood. There are large water pools throughout the reserve known locally as ‘flashes’. In these water pool areas you can find many species of water bird, such as Tufted Duck, Goodander and Great Crested Grebe.
Although Doxey Marshes are primarily known for being a spectacular bird watching location, it also homes other interesting wildlife. You can often find regionally significant populations of Otter that reside on the reserve.
For families and children there is a ‘Wax rubbing trail’ where children can follow the circular trail around the reserve to find posts with rubbing plaques on them, the plaques illustrate the wildlife that lives there. Children also often enjoy the endless mud around the reserve so wellies are recommended. Visitors are able to park at the official Trust car park, which is sign posted. Alternatively there is a carpark at Sainsbury’s within walking distance in Stafford, to walk up to the river to the reserve. There are footpaths marked on maps, which visitors are advised to follow.