Middleton Hall Grounds
The Estate encompasses 42 acres and includes a Site of Special Scientific Interest which covers the area around Middleton Pool and the Pool itself. We have a nature trail, a secluded glade and orchard, full of interesting flora and fauna. A stroll around the grounds allows the visitor to see wildlife native to Warwickshire with a few exotic species for the keen eyed to spot.
- We have 46 species of breeding birds including kingfishers, lesser & greater-spotted woodpeckers and mute swans.
- Around the grounds there are several specimen trees including a 150 year old giant redwood, monkey puzzle and a black mulberry.
- On our nature trail are also the remains of the ironworks built by Sir Francis Willoughby in 1575 and a pump house with waterwheel
dating from 1926.
The designation of a Site of Special Scientific Interest is due to the fact that there are 46 species of breeding birds and a variety of plants with restricted distribution in Warwickshire, such as moschatel, white water lily, great lettuce, sweet-flag and creeping yellow cress. In earlier times the water lilies, which still grow in the pool, were harvested by boat and sent to London and Manchester for the hotel trade. The breeding waterfowl include great-crested grebe, little grebe, tufted duck and mute swan. In winter months and during migration, the Pool provides a refuge for a wide variety of waterfowl. The adjacent habitats, in particular damp woodland, provide nesting sites for 35 species of land birds including the greater and lesser-spotted woodpecker, and willow tit.
There are many fine examples of specimen trees around the grounds, and particularly in the glade. These include a Cedar Deodar which is around 150 years old along with a Redwood Sequoioideae, a tree of the Jurassic period now most usually found in California. They became fashionable to plant in English Gardens in the latter half of the nineteenth century by those who owned botanic gardens looking to plant the newly discovered exotic trees.
Around the moat in February there is a wonderful display of snowdrops and then in the spring the start of our nature trail around the lake is carpeted in Bluebells. As you walk around the nature trail, and if you are quiet enough, you may see our elusive otters, they live in an artificial otter holt which is visible from the bridge over the brook. There is so much wildlife here that you are sure to see something, from the Muntjac deer in the field next to the West Lawn, the Wood Mice that make their homes in the undergrowth and the Green Woodpecker which we often spot on the West Lawn as it feeds on the ground looking for insects like ants.
Along the nature trail are the remains of the bloomer built in 1575 by Sir Francis Willoughby who had an interest in iron manufacturing. Middleton is an unusual site for ironmaking because it has no local source of ironstone. However, records show that the hammer mill operated satisfactorily and produced a good profit. Next to the ironworks are the remains of the pump house, which was built in 1926 to generate electricity for the Hall, were discovered in 2001. They were completely covered by scrub brushes and silted up but have been restored and made accessible to the public. There are plans to restore the mechanisms and have the pump house generating electricity again.
image: copyright Ian Thwaites Photography