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  • Julie Muller


Updated: Jan 31, 2022

(Nearest post code - WR14 4JA)

One of our favourite places to walk is St. Wulstan’s Nature Reserve in Malvern Wells. This reserve is named after an 11th century man of the cloth who became Bishop of Worcester and, after his death, was believed to be linked to a number of miracles!!

Over time, this area has served many purposes and holds a very special place in many human’s hearts.

Originally farmland, it became the site of an American military hospital, then a hospital for people suffering from TB, followed by a psychiatric hospital and finally returning to nature as a nature reserve in 1997.

All of these past activities have left their mark and, apart from the ancient trees and meadow plants, there are an assortment of ornamental shrubs and plants left behind by the humans who used to live and work here.

Zak first came here as a 6 month- old puppy on a snowy winter's day. Up until that point he did not know freedom or the joys of the great outdoors having spent the first 5 months of his life tied up at the bottom of someone’s garden on the outskirts of Birmingham.

When Winter turned to Spring, St Wulstans blossomed. The air was heady with all kinds of sweet smells – particularly after the rain. On one day, we walked around the edge of the nature reserve and saw a family of tree creepers all sitting together on a bough – a parent bird and four chicks. It had been raining and big drops of water dripped from the leaves above. The parent bird was intent on getting her babies to fly for the first time. They were quite reluctant but one by one they gained confidence and launched themselves off the branch. The fourth chick was the most reluctant. It really did not want to budge but clung tenaciously to the bough. Time and time again the parent bird flew close by chirping tweets of encouragement - finally the fourth chick threw open its wings and jumped free for its first flight.

Spring is such a busy time – everything is coming to life. The trees allow a dappled light to reach the ground and a myriad of delicate yellow primroses and azure blue bells vie with pink and red cyclamen which are flowering for the last time before the Autumn.

There is always something special to see at St. Wulstan’s.

We used to bring Julie's mum here in on Summer sunny Sundays before she became poorly. She could never walk very far so she would find a suitable bench upon which to rest whilst the rest of us took a longer walk. I found it hard to leave her and would keep on running back to check that she was okay.

We found out that Julie's mum had actually been here many decades before. As a young woman, she had suffered from Tuberculosis and she had undergone surgery to deflate one of her infected lungs. This was quite a barbaric operation that involved the removal of several of her ribs. The fact that J’s mum lived until she was over 90 – shows what a strong woman she was!! She adored all of us dogs.

Summertime sees the meadows explode with tall grasses and beautiful wildflowers such as white ox eye daisies, purple knapweed and yellow hay rattle. We aren’t allowed to run through the grass just in case we disturb any ground nesting birds.

When all of the wildflowers have set seed, big tractors come in and cut the hay and leave it in sweet smelling rectangular bales that Shep and I love to jump on. –

When the bales are gone, the cattle come in to munch the remaining sweet vegetation. Both Zak and are a bit scared of the cattle. We try to avoid them where we can. Sometimes, Zak barks at them to ask them to keep away but they just raise their heads and look at him.

I suppose that you could call them gentle giants and Julie, our human, is very fond of them. I can’t think why.

Lots of our canine friends and their humans visit the reserve and we all thoroughly enjoy coming here. However, we can cause a problem if our humans don’t pick up our droppings.

The nature reserve isn’t a toilet and there is only so much that the slugs can do to recycle our waste. So our humans really need to put our poo in the bins provided. We really shouldn’t leave any nasty surprises for the many volunteers who work to keep the reserve looking so beautiful.

There is nothing more delightful than a summer evening stroll at St Wulstans. The. Last light of the sun changes from yellow to pink as the sun disappears behind the Malvern hills.

Another lovely end to another beautiful day.

A tricolour sheep dog lies down in a green meadow dotted with many happy bright yellow buttercups
Smudge lies down in a buttercup populated meadow at St Wulstan's Nature Reserve near Malvern, Worcestershire.

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