Nature reserves and country parks

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust - Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust cares for more than 80 nature reserves throughout the county, including Salmonsbury Meadows on the River Eye near Bourton-on-the-Water and Swifts Hill near Slad. Many of these sites are home to threatened species of wildlife, such as water vole, skylark and stag beetle, and a wide variety of rare plants. The Trust organises activity days and guided walks, and publishes a range of leaflets.

Telephone: 01452 3833330

Website: http://www.gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk

The following nature reserves are managed by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, accessible to the general public and located within the Cotswolds AONB

Siccaridge Wood: Siccaridge Wood, a few miles from Stroud, is a wonderful example of an ancient coppiced woodland, a joy at any time of year. Download leaflet.

Chedworth Nature Reserve: Chedworth Nature Reserve lies in the heart of the Cotswolds on the South side of the Coln Valley and midway between the villages of Chedworth and Withington and next to the Roman Villa owned by the National Trust.

Pasqueflower SSSI: This reserve lies in a typical Cotswold dry valley about three miles north-east of Cirencester. It forms part of the Barnsley Warren SSSI, designated in 1954 because of its outstanding grassland flora and fauna, which include the largest Pasqueflower population in Britain.

Sapperton Valley: The reserve is situated in a picturesque location two miles east of Chalford. The Siccaridge Wood and Daneway Banks reserves lie to the north with the ancient Sapperton Common and Frampton Common Woods to the south.

Lower Woods SSSI: At almost 300 hectares (700 acres), Lower Woods is the largest Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust nature reserve, and one of the largest woodlands in the county. A visit to Lower Woods is to go back in time to what is still a Mediaeval landscape of individual woodlands and coppices surrounded by ancient woodbanks and separated by fingers of grazed Common land and old grassy roads called 'trenches'. Download leaflet.

Midger SSSI: This ancient woodland has a canopy comprising mainly Ash (with some old coppiced stools), Pedunculate Oak and Field Maple, as well as some Wych Elm, Crab Apple and Holly.

 Greystones Farm (& Salmonsbury Meadows SSSI): Greystones Farm Nature Reserve is tucked away to the east of Bourton-on –the-Water in the North Cotswolds, and is a short walk from the town centre.
The Trust has owned the whole of the farm since 2002, setting about a major project managing the important existing grassland habitats and restoring and improving other habitats, landscape features and farming infrastructure.

Elliott (Swift's Hill) SSSI Nature Reserve: Elliott Nature Reserve, commonly known as Swift’s Hill, lies on the eastern side of the Slad Valley, near Stroud. In the very heart of Laurie Lee country, it is one of the county’s finest wildflower grasslands and an important site for butterflies.


Broadway Tower and Country Park - High on the Cotswold Ridge, the tower is said to command views over 13 counties. There are opportunities for country walks in the surrounding parkland, a habitat for red deer.

Address: Broadway Tower, Broadway, Worcestershire WR12

Website: http://www.broadwaytower.co.uk


Crickley Hill Country Park - The country park occupies a prominent position on the edge of the Cotswold escarpment, with extensive views across the Vale of Gloucester. Waymarked trails offer a variety of walks.

here are extensive views over Gloucester and the Severn vale across to the Malvern Hills. The park has a number of circular waymarked trails, see guides and maps below, as well as two trails suitable for pushchairs and wheelchair users, The Family Trail and The Hill Fort Trail.

Most of the park is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), with a range of habitats from unimproved limestone grassland to mature beech woodland.

Part of the site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) which has been intensively excavated over a period of 25 years.

Crickley Hill Camp is often referred to as an Iron Age Hill fort, but the history of occupation goes back much further than the Iron Age. The result is a detailed documentation of the archaeological interest of the hillforts area.

Crickley Hill is also an important area of geological interest due to the Jurassic limestone outcrops around its boundary. It is an excellent area for the study of wildlife and ecology with over 200 species of wild flower, 34 species of butterfly, and a wide range of other invertebrates.

Telephone: 01452 863170


Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust - The Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) manages 80 nature reserves across the three counties, including Foxholes Nature Reserve, West Oxfordshire, in the Cotswolds AONB. 

Foxholes is a beautiful woodland haven famed for its spectacular spring bluebells and abundant bird life.  Once part of the ancient Wychwood Forest, this tranquil woodland slopes gently down to the River Evenlode in west Oxfordshire.
 

Avon Wildlife Trust - the Trust protects and promotes wildlife throughout the Avon area and managed 35 nature reserves including 4 in the Cotswolds AONB.
 
Bathampton Meadow - This reserve was created in 1996 to provide additional flood relief for the A46 Bathampton by-pass, these wet meadows and the oxbow lake have proved particularly attractive to a number of migrant birds.

The site is good for migrant water birds, with waders such as dunlin, ringed and little ringed plover, and green and common sandpiper which are attracted to the muddy margins in spring and autumn. Sand martin and kingfisher have been seen regularly by the oxbow, and other migrant birds include yellow wagtail, whinchat and hobby. Small blue butterfly has been recorded here.

Brown's Folly - Standing high above the River Avon with commanding views towards Bath, Brown's Folly has flower-rich grasslands and ancient woodland on the remains of old Bath stone quarries.

The extensive remains of Bath stone quarries provide a rich variety of wildlife habitats. A delightful downland flora has covered the spoilheaps where wild thyme, harebell and nine species of orchid - including the rare fly orchid - are found. The old mines offer a safe sanctuary for the threatened greater horseshoe bat, while damp cliff faces support a fascinating variety of ferns, fungi and spiders.  Pockets of ancient woodland on the lower slopes are home to woodpeckers, and unusual plants such as Bath asparagus.

The Bath stone quarries show good geological features and are a valuable insight into the area's industrial past.

Charfield Meadow - Charfield Meadow sits alongside a railway line in South Gloucestershire. This small and peaceful reserve is full of a surprising number of flowering plants.

Charfield Meadow is a very quiet and secluded reserve, sheltered on most sides by hedges and scrub. In springtime the grassland is a mass of cowslips and forget-me-nots, and in later months, dyer's greenweed, betony and saw-wort come into flower, adding daubs of colour. Throughout the summer, large numbers of butterflies take advantage of the sheltered, flower-rich meadows. Orange-tips and brimstones are amongst the first to be seen, but later in the year look out for ringlets and meadow browns.

A small wet 'flush' can be traced running through the middle of the reserve, with its own special plantlife - look out for ragged robin and sneezewort.

Lower Woods - a very large reserve with 23 woods and coppices separated by ancient grassy trenches and tracks. Its boundaries that have remained unchanged for several centuries.  Owned and jointly managed by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.


Radway Meadows - Radway Meadows form part of the designated Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the only AONB in Warwickshire. Occupying a magnificent setting, beneath the wooded scarp slope of Edge Hill, these two species-rich acidic meadows have a wet flush, stream and ancient hedgerows. Off road parking in King John's lane.

Contact: Warwickshire Wildlife Trust Office on 024 7630 2912.