top of page
  • Writer's pictureSim Elliott

Multitudinous finches at Warnham Nature Reserve. 12.03.22

I went to Warnham Nature Reserve yesterday with a group from the Gay Birders Club. It was a lovely summer spring day.

The varied mix of habitats proves a haven for wildlife. Over 400 species of plants have been found, from Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil to Orchids, as well as many different fungi. Over 100 species of bird, including the Grey Herons with their thriving heronry and woodpeckers, are recorded annually. The beautiful Kingfisher is to be seen most days and is joined by Common Terns in the summer which come to breed on the millpond. Also to be seen in the summer are many species of butterfly, from Common Blue to Silver-washed Fritillary together with dragonflies of which over 21 species have been recorded.

Prior to becoming a nature reserve, the millpond and surrounding land has an interesting heritage. The Warnham mill and millpond have existed in different forms for many centuries with earliest records suggesting a mill existed in the 13th century. It was during the 16th century, when the iron industry was flourishing in the Weald, that the millpond was created to provide power for a blast furnace which was active until around the mid 1600s. Later in the same century a flour mill was built which used an enlarged millpond as the source of power. There has been a mill on the site ever since and the present mill dates from the 19th century and remained in use until the 1930’s.

The Reserve has connection with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley who was born in Warnham. It is said that as a young man he learnt to sail on the millpond and had a favourite picnic spot under a Sweet Chestnut on the edge of the Reserve. Later the land, now covered by the Reserve, was owned by his son, Sir P F Shelley, who sold it to the Lucas family to become part of the Warnham Estate in 1875. It remained so for over 100 years until the early 1980’s when the A24 was upgraded to a dual carriageway, which physically separated it from the main estate. The land was then purchased by Horsham District Council and the 92 acre site was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 1988. It is managed by the council’s Parks and Countryside Services team.

Birds seen: Brambling, m & f Siskin, m & f Reed bunting, Redpoll, Song Thrush, Redwing, Wren, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Pheasant, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Cormorant, Buzzard, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Wren, Grey Wagtail, Mediterranean Gull, Marsh Tit, Black-Headed Gull, Herring Gull, Tree Creeper, Magpie, Carrion Crow. Heard but not seen: Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff

Mammals seen: Bank Vole

Sightings board

Blue Tit

Male Siskin


Female Reed Bunting

Female Chaffinch

Goldfinch and Siskins

Female and Male Siskin

Male Siskin

Song Thrush

Female Reed Bunting

Female Siskin

Goldfinch and Siskins

Canada Geese and a Herring Gull

Common Redpoll and Male Siskin

Female Brambling (winter plumage)

Bank Vole

Male Pheasant

Female Redd Bunting and Goldfinch

Male Redpoll (summer plumage) and Goldfinch


Black-Headed Gulls


Grey Heron

Grey Herons nesting in the heronry

Scarlet Elf Cups




bottom of page