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Great nature reserves to visit in November

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Posted: Friday 27th October 2017 by bbowtblog

Fly agaric by Kate Dent, College Lake by Howard Stanbury and magpie inkcap by ElFly agaric by Kate Dent, College Lake by Howard Stanbury and magpie inkcap by Elene Walton

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 November. Late autumn is the time to look out for the great variety of fungi growing on decaying wood and emerging from the ground. Woodland is turning spectacular colours as leaves change to shades of gold, orange and red. And overwintering wildfowl arrive to spend the winter at our wetland reserves.

Many of the reserves below can be visited as part of a circular walk through the surrounding countryside so why not make a day of exploring somewhere new. Let us know what wildlife you see when you visit our reserves. Share your photos of our reserves with us on Twitter and Facebook or upload them to our Flickr gallery.

Click on the photos to go to the reserve webpage for more information and how to get there.


Hurley Chalk Pit


This little nature reserve near Hurley includes some colourful beech woodland and hazel coppice, and is an interesting stop on a longer walk around the area. Walk up the bridleway near The Black Boys Inn on the A4130 near Hurley or down from The Dew Drop Inn to reach the reserve. There are various paths to explore the whole area, including the nearby Thames Path National Trail and the Berkshire Loop of the Chiltern Way.

Look out for spindle in the hedgerows, easily identifiable with its clashing pink fruit and orange seeds.

Moor Copse

Peter O'Connor king alfred's cakes flickr

There's plenty of wildlife interest at Moor Copse all year round, with its woodland, grassland and the River Pang. In autumn look out for the wide variety of fungi, including King Alfred's Cakes (above) on decaying wood, and waxcaps in the grassland. Listen out for the birds such as siskins feeding on seeds in the trees and hedgerows, and look out for jays storing nuts in the ground to eat in winter.

Listen to Ali Blaney exploring Moor Copse during a couple of visits in autumn:

Part 1 - Find out how our ancestors may have transported fire from camp to camp in days gone by

Part 2 - Discover which fungi you might find on the grassland at Moor Copse.


Calvert Jubilee

bittern Tim Stenton

Will you catch a glimpse of one of our most well-camouflaged winter birds, the bittern? Look out for them skulking in the reedbeds in the northern end of the reserve. Their black-streaked plumage makes them very hard to spot, but you may be lucky! 

Calvert Jubilee is a tranquil reserve and, with two bird hides, a lovely place to look out for birds arriving to spend the winter in Britain. 

College Lake

College Lake by Howard Stanbury

Throughout the late autumn and winter College Lake is home to many overwintering wildfowl. The reserve is widely regarded as one of the best places in Buckinghamshire for water birds, and with many hides overlooking the lake, this is a great destination for bird watchers or for families, whatever the weather.

Enjoy more local wildfowl on the Tring Reservoirs Wild Walk which is a circular walk that includes College Lake, a section of the Grand Union Canal and three reservoirs.


Chinnor Hill

View from Chinnor Hill. Photo by Jim Asher

Stretch your legs with a walk on Chinnor Hill. With magnificent views over the Vale of Aylesbury, Chinnor Hill is a patchwork of grassland, scrub and woodland, steeped in ancient history.

Follow the 1 mile circular walk to explore the reserve. The scrub is a great place to listen out for birds feasting on the berries at this time of year. 

Hartslock nature reserve, near Goring-on-Thames, is another reserve with stunning views, this time out over the Goring Gap.

Cholsey Marsh

Snipe by Roy McDonald

Look carefully at the marshy areas of grass to see if you can spot snipe using their long bills to feed. Cholsey Marsh is also a favoured roosting site for wagtails, corn and reed buntings. Take time to look at the birdlife at this reserve as you pass through on the Thames Path National Trail.

Things to do

  • 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, four 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.



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