Know before you go
Please keep to the paths shown on the map to avoid distrubance to sensitive areas. Please note a kissing gate marks the entrance to the reserve.
Not Wheelchair accessible. There are a kissing gate, slopes and a narrow gap. The paths are unsurfaced chalk/clay/grass, steep in parts and muddy when wet. Signboards 1.4m high.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitApril to May
About the reserve
This must-see site for orchid aficionados has ancient woodland on a chalk escarpment with a clay cap. The slope of the valley supports mixed woodland of ash, hornbeam and beech with a hazel understorey. Regular coppicing maintains the diversity of woodland plants and animals, and several small areas of chalk grassland are kept open by mowing anually to further enhance the variety of wildlife. This is probably one of the best sites for the lady orchid and there are excellent colonies of twayblade, common spotted, early-purple, fly and other orchids. Spring flowers are also prolific with violets, primrose, wood spurge and, on the clay cap, bluebells. There is a huge diversity of birds such as nightingale, warblers and great spotted, lesser spotted and green woodpeckers, whilst reptiles include adder, grass snake and slow-worm.