Remant Forest and Ancient Heath
Brownhills Common is a fine example of lowland heath, which is home to a wealth of wildlife from deer and rabbits, to lizards and even Great Crested Newts. Amongst its 100 acres you may discover birds like siskin, goldcrest, sparrowhawk and whitethroat. You may be very lucky and see a short-eared owl. There are wild flowers growing here that can only be found on heathland, and in turn, specialist wildlife that rely on heathland plants and flowers to survive.
As you walk around the Common you will see different projects that we have carried out. This work is part of a continuing programme to maintain and improve the heath for wildlife. Because heathland is a man-made habitat (our ancestors created it and wildlife has since come to depend on it) it requires lots of management, incuding cutting of heather and clearing of scrub, in order to prevent it from eventually turning into woodland.
The Common was once part of the Cannock Forest where herds of deer roamed. During the 15th and 16th centuries the Forest was felled. Heather spread from areas that had been cleared 4000 years earlier for sheep grazing. Encouraged by more sheep nibbling its new shoots and the sandy soil, the heather spread. A vast area of lowland heath was created. Today it is Red Deer that nibble on the heather!
The heathland began to decrease as the population increased over the centuries. It disappeared as the demand for farming, housing and industry grew. Much of this happened during the Industrial Revolution. Coal and clay deposits attracted extensive mining and a flourishing brickworks. These were served by a network of roads, railway lines and canals which carved up the heath.
Today there is little evidence of the industrial past. In the course of time, plants and animals have adapted to these changes, particularly to life amongst the heather. Some species have adapted to the extent that they can only survive on heathland. This is why Brownhills Common, their home, needs careful management.
Parking: off the Parade, adjacent to Holland Park or in the Coppice Lane lay-by.
Buses: buses to Brownhills from Walsall and Pelsall
Nature Trails: Trails around the reserve (leaflet available online soon)
Wildlife to see: Heathland butterflies and bees, Deer, Rabbits, Birds
This site is great for: Health walks, dog walking, picnics, wildlife watching
Grid Reference: SK 037 058
Please note - you will need to have Google Earth installed on your computer to open some of these files.
Environmental Improvement Team
Clean and Green Environmental Depot
200 Pelsall Lane