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Great nature reserves to visit in February

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Posted: Monday 29th January 2018 by bbowtblog

Snowdrops by Andy Fairbairn

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 February. 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.

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 below to go to the reserve webpage for more information and how to get there.


Bowdown Woods


Take a stroll through Bowdown Woods and look for early signs of spring as snowdrops start to bloom and birds start to sing. Why not visit Bowdown Woods as part of a longer Wild Walk. Our Living Landscape Wild Walk One starts at the Nature Discovery Centre and includes Thatcham Reedbeds and Greenham Common as well as the woods.

Padworth Common

This tranquil haven for wildlife includes woodland and ponds as well as open heathland. A number of heathland birds such as Dartford warbler, tree pipit, stonechat and woodlark are either resident or breed here. Why not see which you can spot on a walk that includes Padworth Common and the Kennet Valley. The common is nestled on the upper plateau of the valley and can form part of a walk down to the River Kennet and back, past a Norman church, Padworth College, and the Kennet and Avon Canal.


Calvert Jubilee

Calvert Jubilee is a haven for birdwatchers, with tufted ducks, pochard, goosander and goldeneye all seen from time to time through the winter. You may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a bittern skulking in the reeds. Steve Hall shared this amazing photo of a bittern at Calvert Jubilee in our Flickr group. We'd love to see your photos of wildlife and our reserves, do share them with us!

College Lake

College Lake is a fantastic site to visit all year round. Before heading out for a walk, pop into the bird hide outside the visitor centre to see what's on our wildlife sightings board; and remember to add any new sightings when you've finished your walk!

After a stroll, return to the visitor centre to warm up with a hot drink and explore the Geology Rocks exhibition. The displays tell the history of the site from the time when it was covered by a warm, tropical sea to the present day with its precious wildlife.

Learn more about College Lake, the wildlife and our work at the site on one of our monthly guided walks. The next one is Saturday 10 February.


Warburg Nature Reserve

Nestled in the Chilterns, Warburg Nature Reserve is an atmospheric reserve to visit at any time of year, whether shrouded in frost or bathed in sun. In late winter months listen out for the woodland birds in the beech woods. Why not explore the reserve as part of a walk from Nettlebed or Maidensgrove? 

Whitecross Green Wood

Whitecross Green Wood straddles the Bucks and Oxon border. This area has been wooded since at least 1600. The part of the reserve that lies in Bucks once formed part of the ancient Royal Forest of Bernwood, along with Finemere Wood and Rushbeds Wood nature reserves.

The reserve has undergone many changes in recent years as plantation conifers are removed to allow the site to return to native broadleaved woodland. The developing areas of trees and scrub attract birds such as long-tailed tits, bullfinches and blackcap. Listen out for great spotted woodpeckers drumming on trees and look out for signs of spring as woodland flowers begin to appear.

Things to do

  • Read our top 10 wildlife sightings for February, 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. 

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