Welcome to the BBOWT blog

Get an insider's view into the work of the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust. Find out what conservation work we're carrying out and meet some of the wonderful people, from our reserves staff to our trainees, that are behind everything we do.

Email updates

Sign up to get new posts in your RSS Reader

Smartphone Safari

Every weekend on BBC Radio Berkshire and BBC Radio Oxford we broadcast a Smartphone Safari. Listen along as we explore some of our fantastic reserves and introduce you to the wildlife you can see. 

My Wild Wish

What are your 2018 wishes for wildlife? Take a look at #MyWildWish collection created by the BBOWT team and friends. 

Back to blog listings

Great nature reserves to visit in April

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Posted: Wednesday 28th March 2018 by bbowtblog

Warburg nature reserve in spring. Photo by Steve MendhamWarburg nature reserve in spring. Photo by Steve Mendham

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 April - insects are stirring, birds are singing and flowers are blooming. 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.


Greenham Common

common lizard

Why go now? There are many paths and trails around Greenham Common to explore this huge site. Look for reptiles, such as common lizards, and butterflies basking in the warm spring sunshine. Listen out for skylarks and woodlarks singing away to attract a mate. Enjoy the sight of spring flowers including the yellows of cowslips and gorse. Did you know gorse flowers smell like coconut?

Please remember that Greenham Common is an important site for ground-nesting birds at this time of year. If you're walking a dog here please keep to the marked dog-friendly areas so you don't disturb the birds. Have a chat with our wardens if you've got any questions about this.

Snelsmore Common

Snelsmore Common

Why go now? Entertain the children over the Easter holidays with the crayon rubbing trail at Snelsmore Common! Remember to bring your own paper and crayons.

There is also a selection of waymarked trails to explore the common further, including a circular, paved path from the car park. Please keep your dog on a lead to avoid disturbing ground-nesting birds on the common. There is a dog-friendly route around the south-east area, where you can exercise dogs off leads.

Look for reptiles, such as grass snakes, and butterflies basking in the warm spring sunshine. The woodland is full of spring birdsong, and you may see Dartford warblers and stonechats perched on the top of bushes in the heathland. 


Finemere Wood


Why go now? Stroll around Finemere Wood and enjoy the sound of spring birdsong and sight of the woodland flowers. The woodland rides are edged with primroses, and bluebells will be blooming later in the month along with early-purple orchids.

Read more about how we manage this nature reserve with Charlotte Karmali's blogs about the volunteer group there. 

Pilch Field

Pilch Field

Why go now? Look out for spring flowers in the old 'ridge and furrow' meadows at Pilch Field. and listen out for warblers singing away in the hedgerows.


Chimney Meadows

Chimney Meadows

Why go now? Cowslips and curlews! The meadows at Chimney Meadows are managed for wildlife. It can be hard to believe that some were once arable fields before BBOWT bought them and transformed them into species-rich wildflower meadows. Wild flowers fill the meadows from spring onwards. Cowslips are normally at their best from late April.

In spring, listen out for the bubbling call of curlews. They're easily recognised by their long, down-curved bill, which they use to probe in the soil for earthworms and other insects. There are a couple of accessible bird hides and the raised Thames Path gives views out over the National Nature Reserve area. 

Iffley Meadows

snake's-head fritillaries

Why go now? Thousands of snake's-head fritillaries bloom at Iffley Meadows in April. They should be at their best from the second week of April onwards this year.

These wet meadows, crossed by old river channels with willow-lined ditches, have a rich diversity of wildlife typical of old, unspoilt meadow land. The snake's-head fritillaries are joined by other wild flowers including cowslips and cuckooflower. Look out for orange-tip butterfly fluttering from flower to flower laying its eggs on the cuckooflowers.

Join us at the reserve on Sunday 15 April to find out more about how we manage the site for wild flowers and other wildlife. 

Things to do

  • Read our top 10 wildlife sightings for April, 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.

Read bbowtblog's latest blog entries.