Oldbury Power Station




The power station is now owned by Nuclear Restoration Services (previously, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, and before that, Magnox) and is in the process of being de-commissioned.

The site consists of a variety of habitats, and this is its attraction. It is on the banks of the River Severn, with its enormous mudflats. Three old lagoons are in various states of disuse. These lagoons were large settling tanks, used during the dredging process for the tidal reservoir. The fine Severn silt was settled from the water, before it was discharged back to the river. The mud had to be removed, as the licence to operate the power station only allowed water to be discharged into the Severn, and no solids. There is also an old Nature Trail, with orchard, meadows, woods and ponds.

The power station entrance.


General access is via public footpaths, which surround the power station. The main route is the Severn Way, which runs along the coast of the River Severn. Follow signs to large visitor's car park (on right just past entrance).

Since the site has started to be de-commissioned (in 2012), public access is now allowed to all the Lagoons. (Historically, access to the lagoons was gained by writing requesting this and permission to visit requested at the Gate House.)

Description of Site

Lagoon 1 - This is the oldest settling tank (created in 1975), and is now little more than a cow field, which floods in winter. However, the floods do attract ducks, waders and gulls at high tide. They consist mainly of Lapwing, Curlew and Dunlin. The numbers of Teal, Wigeon, Mallard and Shelduck depend on the level of water in the lagoon. Also Herons and Little Egret roost. The birds are very susceptible to disturbance when it contains some water (in winter). It can be viewed very well from viewing points - see Map of OPS. For instance, with caution it is possible to view the lagoon from next to the outflow pipe platform near the Severn, which is now overgrown. Attracts yellow wagtail, stonechats and wheatears on passage. Buzzards are usually circling overhead.

Flooded Lagoon 1 from Severn seawall (Feb 2020).

Lagoon 2 - This is also a disused settling tank (created in 1983). It is home to a scrubby habitat, with small woods developing, but still a small reedbed at its southern end. Reed Warblers, Reed Bunting and Whitethroat breed. Water Rail are present in winter when water remains in the reeds. Stonechat over-winter. Also, the surrounding hedges are attractive to passage warblers. Grasshopper Warblers have been present some years in the low scrub on the lagoon. Kestrels have bred, and hunt the grasslands. A wildlife pond just to the west of the lagoon is good for dragonflies. Migrant Clouded-Yellow butterflies can be seen around the lagoon or along the shore in autumn. There are many orchids in summer.

Lagoon 2 from southern end (Feb 2020).

Lagoon 3 - This is the settling tank which ceased to be used in 2016 (having been created in 1994). This lagoon has taken over from Lagoon 2 as the main site for Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Reed Bunting. Stonechat over-winter and Whinchat can be seen on passage. The main reedbeds are at the SW and NE ends, but reeds/long grass cover most of the Lagoon. Scrub is now starting to take over, especially in the south corner. The SW side gives a good view over fields towards the yacht club. And there is a small copse here which attracts passage Warblers and the odd Flycatcher. The pylons around the site and blue reactor towers are always worth checking - for Peregrines, other raptors, and Ravens.

Lagoon 3 from S side (Feb 2020).

The lake to the East of Lagoon 3 (where the hide once stood) usually has Tufted Duck, Mallard, Moorhen and Coot; Canada Geese usually nest on the island and Mute Swan sometimes do.

Lake as seen from the old hide position (showing one of the pylons favoured by Peregrine). (Feb 2020)

River Severn - Running along the North side of the site is the River Severn. At this point the river is tidal, and about a mile wide. At Low Tide, vast mud flats are exposed, which attract hundreds of Curlew (which prefer to roost south west of the power station site, by the yacht club, ie. Thornbury Sailing Club) and huge numbers of gulls. Whimbrel join the Curlew on passage. Redshank patrol the banks. Small numbers of Dunlin stick to the waters edge, and can be joined by other small waders on passage (e.g. Sanderling, Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint). The area just north of the site (towards what used to be the Windbound Inn, Shepperdine) is good for waders and duck (hundreds of Teal and Wigeon). A large tidal reservoir encloses the near bank of the river, built to give access to water at low tide. This can hold storm-blown and passage birds - anything can turn up ! Manx Shearwater, Common Scoter, Little Terns and a Sabine’s Gull have all been seen here. The rocky and seaweed covered walls of the reservoir hold about 50 Turnstone in winter, which roost on the green buoy in the river at Shepperdine. The River is a 'highway' for passage birds; waders, gulls, terns and the odd skua. Sea-watching can be good (with patience !) starting at least 3 hours before High Tide. Especially with a light wind from the NE in Spring, or SW in Autumn (as the birds seen here tend to be flying INTO the wind).

River Severn mudflats and tidal reservoir (Feb 2020).

Nature Trail - The orchard, next to the car park, holds Fieldfares and Redwings in winter. The meadows are favoured by Green Woodpeckers, which breed on-site. There is a wildflower meadow next to the carpark, with a progression of : Cowslips (May), yellow Hawk's-beard (June) and Greater Knapweed (August). There are usually Bullfinches and tit flocks in the hedges, and increasingly Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Treecreepers as the woodlands mature around the site.

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Last revised: 16 March 2022.