It was good that so many members attended due to being a very warm August Sunday afternoon.

We welcomed Lydia Smith who has set up Nature’s Burrow (a great name) at the Old Tree PlantNursery near Wolverhampton.   Lydia has set up an area aimed at children and young people mainly but adults are welcome to visit too.

The plant nursery supports adults from vulnerable groups and the groups visit to do gardening, making items to sell and generally help out to make rewarding work.   It is a not for profit organisation that supports adults from vulnerable groups gain skills and be part of a team.  It is supported by Accord Housing Association.    (Details of the garden centre complex address at the end of the article for your information).

Lydia explained that she had studied at Rodbaston College which is part of the South Staffordshire College group and got involved with the World Owl Trust where she has been volunteering working with the Owls that are based at Rodbaston.   This volunteering work gave Lydia the confidence and expertise to set up Nature’s burrow.

Over the summer Lydia has been busy doing animal talks, children parties and adult events.  The visitors enjoy interacting with the chickens, rabbits, barn owl, little owl, land snails and bearded dragon.  Looking also at the life cycle of the bee.   The main aim is to show children how to look after and care for animals properly.

Lydia has started to establish links with local school groups on outdoor learning visits.

Lydia has plans to get a kestrel and European eagle owl.

In May 2017 Nature’s Burrow held an Open Day and this was most successful, there are activities every day in the summer school holidays.   Also events take place for Halloween and Christmas with the elf academy at Christmas.

Recently Lydia explained she had groups of children aged 5 to 12 years build a hut with willow entwined around it, also they made basic clay pots.

Some of the adults from the vulnerable groups that help out in the nursery come over to Nature’s Burrow to collect eggs and generally help out with animal care.  One of the adults had a fear of animals and over the weeks has gained confidence and is now one of the regulars.  At the present time there is a community of regular adults that help out.

Lydia is trying to promote her work at Nature’s Burrow with leaflet drops in the local area, she is keen to develop the site with building more enclosures and encouraging people to visit by expanding the activities on offer and provide more educational nature experience in the future.

Lydia then brought round the following animals for us all to look are more closely:

Barn Owl called Luna

Bearded Dragon

Little Owl

It was good to experience the animals up close.

We thanked Lydia and hopefully we will be arranging a visit to Nature’s Burrow in autumn 2018 to have a tour and see all the good work that Lydia is doing.   Steph to organise a visit with Lydia and inform members of the date of the visit.

It was great to experience Lydia’s passion and enthusiasm for her work caring for the animals and making suitable habitats for them to dwell.  Also to hear about the work with visiting school children and adults to experience nature.

Lydia welcomes members of the ICWS to visit – Steph to arrange a group visit but in the meantime if anyone wants to visit, details below.

Theresa, Marian and Bonnie all asked if the ICWS could help to build an enclosure and help out at Nature’s Burrow.  Steph to put it as an agenda item at the next committee meeting.

Refreshments followed with delicious sausage rolls, sandwiches and cakes with a welcome cup of tea.

Also thank you to Britt who provides the biscuits and the ladies who without any prompting prepare the drinks each month.

Two display boards and the bursary folder were on show for members to see the reports from the completed studies from the bursary students from Nottingham University and Brooksby Melton campus.


Nature’s Burrow is at

The Old Tree Plant Nursery

Pendeford Hall Lane

Off Wobaston Road



Opening times for the nursery are:

Monday to Friday – 9 am to 4 pm

Saturday – 9 am to 4 pm

Sunday – 10 am to 6 pm

Plus Ruth’s kitchen Tea Room


Also nearby is Pendeford Mill Nature Reserve if you wanted to combine a visit:

Pendeford Mill Nature Reserve

Pendeford Hall Lane




Free car park:  Lake and nature walks – car park open from 8 am to pm Monday to Thursday on Friday till 3 pm.   Saturday/Sunday car park open 10 am to 4 pm.

 Report by Stephanie Taylor


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