A nice one hour walk around Horsbere Brook wetland area
The 50 acre Horsbere Brook flood storage area was created in 2010 following a series of flash floods that affected more than 300 homes in Gloucester. The £1.5m project involved creating a huge ‘depression’ capable of accommodating the equivalent of 70 Olympic swimming pools full of water. If there’s torrential rain the water is now diverted into the depression, and it is then slowly released later.
As well as reducing the risk of flooding the storage area was also designed to be a natural looking ‘wetland’ landscape, and, over the last few years, it has become a delightful local nature reserve – attracting many rare birds to the area. Otters have also been spotted in the brook.
In 2014 hundreds of twitchers converged on the site to see a pair of rare penduline tits, and kingfishers, egrets, heron, swans and a wide range of both rare and more common birds are now regularly spotted there. This video shows the penduline tits. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwmuHj58k4s
The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England recently gave the project an award, praising the scheme for creating a “new wetland habitat and increasing recreation opportunities and amenity.”
If you just want to visit the wetland area you can park at the ‘works access’ turning area, or the large lay-by on the southbound side of the A417 dual carriageway, or in the car park between the Premier Inn and Ten Pin Bowling complex, and then walk over the dual carriageway via the footbridge.
The main wetland area contains water of varying depths, deeper at the northern end, shallower at the southern end with scrubby dry patches, sand bars and channels. This can all change very quickly if there’s a big downpour as the water levels rise. For this reason it is not a good idea to paddle or swim there, especially if it’s raining hard!
If you want to enjoy a longer walk alongside Brook that feeds into the wetland area, and stroll through some of the surrounding countryside I would suggest parking in Larkhay Road. ( see the map). Note – when heading into Gloucester along Hucclecote Road you can locate Larkhay Road by going right after the M5 bridge (along Churchdown Lane), then first left (Zoons Road), then second right (which should take you into Larkhay Road)
Directions from Larkhay Road
- After about 50m turn left (still technically in Larkhay Road). 100m later keep to the right p this will take you up to the bridge that crosses the A417 (you should be able to get your first glimpse of the brook from here, on your right)
- As you come down from the bridhe, on your left you’ll see a swing gate and a footpath sign. Take this path, go across the small field and the path continues in a wooded area, running alongside the A417. It can be muddy here in winter.
- After about 200m you should see the brook again on your left. This is a good spot for dogs to have a paddle (provided the water isn’t flowing too briskly)
- Go through the swing gate and continue through the field – you can either walk alongside the brook (on your left); or there’s a more regular path alongside the hedge on the right.
- The next swing gate brings you to the main wetlands area. Go left here and walk around the perimeter of the wetland area. Keep your eyes peeled for the birds – either in the main ponds or in the book on your left.
- Go through the swing gate at the end of the wetland area and turn right, long the track that heads west towards Chosen Hill. This path takes you up to Zoons Court Farm.
- Once you’ve reached the farm go right again along the tarmaced lane. This will take you back to the bridge over the A417.