Staines Moor

Staines Moor and Stanwell Moor have been my local patch since 2003, although I visited on and off long before then. This page describes Staines Moor and the wildlife to be found there (this page is far from finished so please bear with me).

Page contents (click on link to jump to section):

Staines Moor, looking east
Staines Moor, looking east, with King George VI and Staines Reservoirs in the background (WikiPedia)

Staines Moor is an alluvial meadow situated in north-west Surrey at the southern end of the Colne River Valley within the Colne Valley Park. The River Colne starts life as a subterranean river rising at a spring at North Mymms Park in Hertfordshire, flowing in a south-westerly direction for 45 km and skirting the edge of London. Staines Moor is located on the floodplain of the Colne, just a kilometre before the river drains into the Thames at Staines-upon-Thames in Surrey.

The moor is bordered by Stanwell Moor to the north, King George VI Reservoir to the East, Staines-upon-Thames to the south and the M25, Wraysbury Reservoir and Wraysbury Gravel Pits to the west. The site comprises a variety of habitats including neutral grassland, wet grassland, hawthorn scrub, small patches of woodland, ditches and streams.

Biodiversity


I'm working on species lists for many taxa, but starting with birds, butterflies, moths, dragonflies and damselflies. I'll post the lists here as they take shape.

Birds
Staines Moor has long been a popular birding destination, although is it watched far less often than other sites nearby such as Staines Reservoirs. The moor was once an important wintering site for large flocks of waders including Golden Plover and Northern Lapwing. Sadly those days are long gone, however, small number of wildfowl feed on the Moor and Northern Lapwing and Redshank still occasionally breed. The moor is perhaps at its best during spring and autumn migration, when migrant passerines often pause to rest and feed and the wide panorama of the sky allows great skywatching.

Key birds
Year round: Red Kite, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Little Owl, Little Egret, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting, Barn Owl, Linnet, Kingfisher.
Summer: Redshank, Lapwing, Cuckoo, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Hobby.
Winter: Water Pipit, Goosander, Stonechat, Woodcock, Wigeon, Eurasian Teal, Common Snipe, Short-eared Owl, Fieldfare, Redwing, Firecrest.
Passage: Northern Wheatear, Whinchat, Stonechat, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Tree Pipit, Redstart, Green Sandpiper, Ring Ouzel, Grey Wagtail, Spotted Flycatcher, Little Ringed Plover.

190 species have been recorded at Staines Moor up to and including July 2013. A list is published in the 2011 London Bird Report.

Butterflies
22 species have been recorded on Staines Moor to date, although many more species should be present. Many thanks to Keith Kerr, Mark Mansfield and Des McKenzie for their records.

Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola
Small Skipper Thymelicus sylvestris
Large Skipper Ochlodes venata
Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni
Large White Pieris brassicae
Small White Pieris rapae
Green-veined White Pieris napi
Orange-tip Anthocharis cardamines
Clouded Yellow Colias croceus
Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas
Brown Argus Aricia agestis
Common Blue Polyommatus icarus
Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus
Painted Lady Cynthia cardui
Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta
Peacock Inachis io
Comma Polygonia c-album
Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria
Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus
Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina
Small Heath Coenonympha pamphilus

Access

The Moor can be accessed from either the north or south ends. If travelling by car the easiest parking is in Hithermoor Road at Stanwell Moor Village. From here walk south along the Colne Valley Way footpath, that follows the western edge of King George VI Reservoir before turning right through the metal kissing gate after 0.5 km and then across Stanwell Moor for another 0.5 km. Alternatively, from Staines-upon-Thames walk north along Wraysbury Road (B376) and turn right into Moor Lane. Continue for 0.5 km and turn right onto the path beside the Staines Moor sign. Go through the gate, over the footbridge and follow the path which turns left under the A30 where it reaches the Moor (more detailed directions from Staines here). Parking is available in the Riverside car park or the Two Rivers shopping centre.

The moor often floods in winter and the Colne Valley Way can be extremely muddy. Therefore, walking boots or wellies are strongly recommended. In the summer bring plenty of water. The nearest shop is in Stanwell Moor Village.

You can walk anywhere on the Moor, but during the nesting season dog owners must keep dogs on leads and keep to the main paths to avoid disturbance to ground-nesting birds and livestock (as specified in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000). This law is usually ignored though and remains one of the biggest threats to the moor's biodiversity.