Click Map for detailed view
Situated behind the Princess Royal Hospital, lies Apley Castle Park - Grid ref. SJ 655133, just 2 miles north off junction 6 of the M54. To reach the Park follow the A5223 towards Whitchurch and turn right for Watkins Nursery, 400metres beyond the Princess Royal Hospital roundabout.
At the end of the road there is a car park with room for half a dozen cars or so. Alternatively if you enjoy a walk you can park next to the Community Centre in Leegomery - Grid ref. SJ663128 and walk along the Silkin Way via Lime Avenue. A third alternative is to park in the lay-by next to Apley Pool - Grid ref. SJ655136 a mile or so along the A442, east of Shawbirch.
The word Apley is Anglo-Saxon for a clearing in a forest where the apples grow - or in other words an orchard. Nowadays the only apples you are likely to see are a few crab apples; in amongst exotic trees such as the Chile Pine, Monkey-Puzzle and Tulip tree. Native species abound here with Beech, Horse-Chestnut, Sweet-Chestnut, Oak, Alder and Yew.
By its very own nature the Park offers a habitat similar to that of a mature woodland, offering an excellent source of food and cover. It is not surprising then, that the species here are typical woodland birds, with Thrushes and Tits exploiting the rich pickings. Even in deepest winter the trees are alive with wintering thrushes gorging themselves on the mass of berries on offer.
There is also the chance of wintering warblers with Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs always possible. It is the summer however, that the Park comes into its own, with an incredible abundance of birds to be found, including migrants such as Common Redstart and Wood Warbler passing through.
In the Park you will also find two small pools - see photograph below - a lifeline to many of the inhabitants.
Photographs taken in Apley Castle Park.
Also watch out for the Grey Partridge on the fringes, seen in small coveys for the past few years, this not so common species is in danger of losing out to housing development springing up on all sides to the Park.
Species to be found at Apley Castle Park.
Mallard, Sparrowhawk, Grey Partridge, Moorhen, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Great-Spotted Woodpecker, Starling, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Wren, Goldcrest, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Willow Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Yellowhammer
Great Crested Grebe, Ruddy Duck, Cuckoo, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Blackcap, Wood Warbler (Passage only), Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Common Redstart (Passage only)
Dabchick, Pochard, Herring Gull, Fieldfare, Redwing, Siskin