Posted: Tuesday 28th February 2017 by bbowtblog
Blackthorn by Kelly Thomas. Chaffinch by Margaret Holland. Primroses by Tristan Blaine.
With nearly 90 nature reserves to choose from in our three counties, which are the best to visit this month?
Here are our top reserves in Berks, Bucks and Oxon to visit during March - a time to discover spring flowers and listen out for birdsong. Why not make a day of it and take one of our Wild Walks to explore our reserves and the surrounding countryside. Or come along to a guided walk at some of the reserves and learn more about the wildlife and our work.
Click on the photos below to go to the reserve webpage for more information and how to get there.
Take a stroll around this nature reserve near Aldermaston. Listen out for the melodious song of woodlarks singing and look out for secretive snipes. On warmer, spring days look out for reptiles basking in sunny patches.
Later in the year Decoy Heath is one of the best sites for dragonflies and damselflies in Berkshire. Make a note in your diary to come back in the summer!
Hundreds of thousands of wild crocuses fill this West Berkshire meadow each spring and they're starting to bloom now. The crocuses themselves are a bit of a mystery, no one knows for sure how they arrived here. Some say the Knights Templar crusaders brought them back from central Europe in the 12th century. Others suggest they are simply garden escapees that have thrived and established themselves. However they came to be here, the display they put on is something to behold.
Inkpen Crocus Field is very close to Inkpen Common nature reserve, a remnant of ancient heathland fringed with woodland that's filled with birdsong in spring. Both reserves are covered by the circular Inkpen Wild Walk.
Dancersend has been a nature reserve since the 1940s. Once owned by the Rothschild family, the reserve is made up of woodland, scrub and chalk grassland. In spring, listen out for birdsong in the woodland and look for the woodland flowers starting to flower and bring colour to the reserve. Dancersend reserve was recently extended to include Pavis Woods to the south, this is an area of mature beech woodland, scrub and recently planted woodland. The Ridgeway National Trail passes through this section, so why not stop and explore while enjoying a longer walk.
Explore this fascinating reserve as part of the circular Tring Park Wild Walk.
Explore Rushbeds Wood, near Bicester, by following the 1.5 mile circular wildlife walk. Look out for spring flowers in this ancient woodland. Primroses, wood anemone and violets start to flower at this time of year, bringing colour to the woodland floor. Listen out for birdsong in the trees above you. The reserve is named after the rushes that grow in the damp areas, along with sedges and grasses.
Tucked away behind houses on the edge of Oxford is CS Lewis Nature Reserve. Today's nature reserve was once the garden of author CS Lewis, and was the inspiration for his Tales of Narnia. Wander through the woodland to enjoy the tranquillity. Take a moment to pause by the pond, which is home to many water birds, including moorhen, coot and mallards. You may even be lucky enough to spot a kingfisher perched on a branch. Peer into the pond to look for great jelly masses of frog spawn or, later in the spring, long strands of toad spawn. You can find out more about amphibians on our reserves in Mark's blog.
Listen for skylarks singing high overhead at Wells Farm in Little Milton. Their melodic song pouring down from on high is one of the iconic sounds of the British countryside. This working farm is a good place to look for corn buntings and yellowhammers, both farmland birds with declining populations. The farm is run in harmony with nature, striking a balance between farming wheat and barley and creating a thriving habitat for wildlife. Take the short, circular wildlife walk through the farm to explore it further.
Things to do
- Read our top 10 wildlife sightings for March, how many will you see before the month is out?
- Find a nature reserve near you with the Wildilfe Trusts' Nature Finder app for iphone and Android
- Share your photos of our reserves with us on Twitter and Facebook or upload them to our Flickr gallery
- Oxfordshire photographer Andrew Marshall's book Photographing wildlife in the UK (published by Fotovue) includes advice on how to take great wildlife photographs. The book includes top locations for photographing wildlife and some images that were taken on BBOWT nature reserves (Greenham Common, Chimney Meadows, Foxholes and College Lake).
- Our experts work with over 1,400 volunteers to look after over 80 nature reserves, five education centres and run hundreds of amazing events. We rely on the generosity of individuals, charitable trusts and businesses. Help us look after these precious places for your local wildlife by donating today.
- Sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with wildlife news.
- Help BBOWT to maintain these precious havens for wildlife by becoming a volunteer.