Atkinsons Warren is a large area of open mixed deciduous woodland and rough grassland on the north west edge of Scunthorpe. It is now a Local Nature Reserve and rare breed sheep graze at different times of the year to keep down rank vegetation.
At the end of the last glaciation, sand from glacial deposits was blown across the area creating what is known as the ‘coversands’ and this is one of the few areas of coversand to survive. The soil drains quickly and silver birch and oak woodland is typical of these soils. Between the trees are areas of acid grassland which support a wide variety of wild flowers.
The woodland is home to owls, woodpeckers, jays and sparrow hawks as well as bats. Roe and muntjacs deer can be seen along with rabbits, hares, foxes mice and stoats. The wild flowers provide food for many different butterflies and moths.
There is a popular two mile walk across the warren and it is popular with dog walkers. Being on sand, it dries out quickly after rain.
Don’t miss the carved tree trunk near the entrance carved with all the different animals that can be seen. There is a mouse peering out of a hole and a wonderful spider’s web along with an owl.
In mid November, the birch and bracken had turned golden. There was little animal life to be seen and few wild flowers, although there were quite a few fungi. We took the lower path before climbing up the scarp to take the high level path back, with a good view across the Trent valley at one point.
For those interested, the name comes from Walter Atkinson, who was a gamekeeper on the nearby Normanby Hall Estate and lived in a cottage here for 60 years. The foundations of his house can still be seen.
There is a car park and information board off Ferry Road. The nearest post code is DN15 8EE and the grid reference is SE 878121.