in the valley
The Golden Valley in Herefordshire is home to a number
of wonderful sights - the graceful River Dore, the former medieval monastery Dore
Abbey and Arthur's Stone, Herefordshire's oldest man-made structure.
Valley - stunning scenery.|
Photo - Visit Herefordshire
beauty of the Golden Valley has inspired many writers including C.S. Lewis who
saw it as his real life Narnia.
This wonderful valley lies in the shadow
of the neighbouring Black Mountains and boasts rich wildlife habitats.
mature woodlands and limestone grassland peppered with wildflowers and butterflies,
the River Dore and the Golden Valley's footpaths and bridleways offer visitors
a varied view of wildlife in this tranquil spot.
through the heart of the scenery is the River Dore, after which the valley was
'Dore' or 'dwr' in Welsh means water, but the Normans thought it
was the French "d'or" meaning gold, and named it the Golden Valley as
Whatever the misinterpretation, it's an apt description as the
valley is always bathed in gold, with daffodils in the spring, ripening crops
in summer and fallen leaves in autumn.
But despite its beauty, the Golden
Valley once had its fair share of problems - including a struggling population
of Water Voles.
Our native Water Voles were under threat when the area
was invaded by American Mink in the 1980s, but fortunately The Game Conservancy
has been involved in a major conservation effort to ensure their long-term safety.
released hundreds of baby Water Voles bred especially for the purpose into the
River Dore, to hopefully repopulate the area with this sadly declining species.
the water bank
There's plenty of other interesting wildlife
to be found in and around the river, including Brown Trout, native Crayfish, Otters
The British White Clawed Crayfish has suffered from a decline
in recent years largely due to the American Signal Crayfish.
cousin is larger and out-competes the native Crayfish - it also carries a disease
which kills the British variety.
The River Dore is rich in fish including
Brown Trout - conservation efforts are re-establishing greater numbers.
look out for the Bullhead, a small fish eaten by the Trout, characterised by its
you're really lucky (and pay the reserve a night-time visit) you might even spot
a Daubenton's Bat skimming the water for emerging midges while Pipistrelles can
be spotted flying in and out of specially-installed bat boxes in the trees above.
surrounding fields are also home to the larger Noctule and Serotine bats, which
feed on bigger insects like moths.
There are eight species of bat which
thrive in this insect-rich habitat, and six of the 16 known British Bat species
have been recorded in the Golden Valley.
Water Vole courtesy and copyright
of PA Images.