Bradford-on-Avon is a beautiful place and part of what sets the scene is the landscape and the wildlife that lives here.
With the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty forming the northern slopes of the town, Bradford-on-Avon overlooks an undulating landscape leading to the chalk plateau of Salisbury Plain.
The landscape influences much of the flora and fauna of the town. All the honey coloured buildings you see in and around the town are made from stone sourced in local stone mines. These mines are mostly underground and are now host to an internationally important population of bats.
Head downstream through Barton Farm Country Park or along the canal and you’ll see woodlands clinging to the steep slopes. Listen out for woodpeckers, look upwards to see the grandeur of the oak and ash trees, and smell the bluebells in the spring. Head upstream for a couple of miles and you’ll get to Widbrook Wood, a Wiltshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve. Remember to look out for deer and at dusk listen for owls and look out for bats and badgers.
Elsewhere around the town you’ll find fields bounded by dry stone walls or hedgerows, both important habitats for birds, insects, small mammals reptiles and more. Look out for wildflowers such as orchids in the spring and summer, for example at North Meadow in Barton Farm Country Park or at Poulton Meadow.
The buildings of the town are host to swifts – these birds migrate to breed in the summer and you can hear their joyous screaming above your heads as they hunt insects in the sky. Amazingly, when swift chicks leave the nest, they fly straight up into the sky and immediately head south towards
Feeding wild birds
It’s always fun to feed the ducks, swans and geese by the river, but please read this important information about what is safe to feed them… and don’t forget, we sell duck food at the Tourist Information Centre!