Withdrawing of access rights on Lower Lugg and Hampton Meadow during breeding bird season

Natural England have permitted that the open access rights for the duration of the breeding bird season on two of our Nature Reserves: Lower Lugg Meadow and the nearby Hampton Meadow can be withdrawn. This is to reduce disturbance to ground nesting birds – in this case, curlew - who breed at these sites.

Curlew have long bred at Lugg Meadow and Hampton Meadow - possibly for centuries. Today, however, the species has become endangered.  Without help they face extinction.  In recent years, few curlew chicks have successfully fledged from this nature reserve. Curlew breed from March to July, building nests on the ground. One of the many pressures curlew face is disturbance: curlew will abandon their nests and chicks, which will then perish or be predated, if disturbed by people or dogs. The temporary restricted access is a vital part of ensuring we maintain a breeding population of lowland curlew for generations to come.

The restrictions are in place from 1st March to the 31st July only and do not cover Public Rights of Way which remain open. There are no restrictions in place for open access to Upper Lugg Meadow which is popular with local visitors, particularly dog walkers – though we do ask people to keeps their dogs on leads on this site during the bird breeding season as well; Upper Lugg is important for curlew feeding and roosting