Shropshire Star

Beauty spot with breathtaking views set to be declared nature reserve

A beauty spot offering breathtaking views over Much Wenlock and its surroundings is set to be designated a local nature reserve.

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Windmill Hill at Much Wenlock could become a local nature reserve.

The proposal for Windmill Hill has been put forward by the town council, in order to formally recognise the value of the site to locals and visitors.

If approved, the designation would help promote Windmill Hill as a place to walk and enjoy the outdoors, attract more users and preserve links with the area’s past, open up funding opportunities for its maintenance and offer protection in the planning system.

Shropshire Council has legal powers to designate new local nature reserves (LNRs) for land it owns, but as the authority does not own Windmill Hill it must delegate power to the town council.

Cabinet members will be asked to agree to this at a meeting next week, after which the town council will undertake the formalities of securing the LNR designation.

A report to cabinet my Mark Barrow, director of place, says: “Windmill Hill is a very significant environmental resource within the administrative area of Much Wenlock Town Council.

“It is a superb and highly visible natural feature on the northern edge of Much Wenlock.

“Windmill Hill and the adjacent Gaskell Recreation Ground form a large and significant green space on the northern edge of Much Wenlock.

“Much Wenlock Town Council are in the process of agreeing a nature reserve agreement with the owner and the tenant (Much Wenlock Windmill Trust) of Windmill Hill in order to give the town council the necessary legal interest in Windmill Hill for the purpose of declaring a local nature reserve.

“Environmental designation raises the profile with the public and can increase visitor usage and the health and wellbeing benefits this provides.

“LNR designation also provides protection for the nature conservation and recreation interest of Windmill Hill.”

The report says Windmill Hill is one of 700 Local Wildlife Sites Shropshire, and “one of the best limestone grasslands” in the county.

The disused quarry at the foot of the hill is a Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Site (RIGS) and the 17th century windmill tower is Grade II listed.

Mr Barrow says the site is considered of “high value” for educational purposes, and is used by William Brookes School and adult learner groups such as Broseley Life Skills, as well as 1st Much Wenlock Scouts, a local Tai Chi group and walking groups.

The report adds: “In terms of the management of Windmill Hill there will be no change following the dedication.

“The site will continue to be managed by the Much Wenlock Windmill Trust who have a lease on Windmill Hill until 2100.”

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