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My secret garden

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Posted: Monday 23rd November 2015 by bbowtblog

Stepping out onto Yoesden. Photo by Sue CroxfordStepping out onto Yoesden. Photo by Sue Croxford

“And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.” - Francis Hodgson Burnett

Written by Sue Croxford

Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust member and author of Bug Mad Girl blog


There’s a magical place that has felt like my secret garden since the first time I set foot in it. Beautiful, secluded and surrounded by stunning scenery, Yoesden is an absolute treasure. Loved by both myself and my daughter, it is home to the most amazing wildlife which we delight in discovering with every visit.

Part of its charm is that Yoesden is hidden away. There’s no shiny visitor centre or signs on the road. In fact, unless you knew where to look, you’d never know it was there. We always reach it by walking through a flower filled meadow, past a cowshed housing several swallow's nests each summer. The path continues through the trees until the chalk grassland bank is revealed. It doesn’t matter how many times you visit, that first glimpse of the bank and the sweeping Chiltern Hills is guaranteed to take your breath away. You’re suddenly miles from anywhere, shut off from the outside world, in the very best natural playground.

What strikes you first is the peace and tranquillity, yet stay a while and you soon realise how noisy and busy it is. Wild flowers smother the bank all summer and on a sunny day they’re literally buzzing with a vast array of butterflies, moths, bees, beetles and flies. Green hairstreaks, small blues, chalkhill blues and dazzling Adonis blues are just a few of the fabulous butterflies that make Yoesden their home.

Crickets and grasshoppers chirp and whirr all around and if your luck is in you might see an enormous great green bush-cricket (my daughter’s favourite because they’re “awesome”). Excited families of long-tailed tits flit through the bushes welcoming visitors, while a robin takes up a vantage point and serenades the spectacle. Green woodpeckers yaffle from the woods behind, red kites soar overhead and buzzards swoop along the length of the bank.

No secret garden would be complete without a floral display and Yoesden never disappoints. The delicate primroses and violets in spring are replaced by the elegant and showy orchids that carpet the bank in June. By late summer the Chiltern Gentian is the star of the show, followed by the purple haze of devil’s-bit scabious.

It may be our secret garden, but this is one secret we don’t mind sharing. Everyone should visit this enchanting nature reserve and fall under its delightful spell.

You can read about our visits to Yoesden, and other wonderful BBOWT reserves, on the Bug Mad Girl blog at www.bugmadgirl.blogspot.co.uk.


Help us extend Yoesden

We have an exciting opportunity to buy three parcels of land adjoining Yoesden which would extend the reserve by almost 30 per cent. Read more about the extension here and donate now.

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