Rare orchids are the treasures of this small but outstanding reserve - and it's also a haven for birds, butterflies and moths. Record numbers of orchids were seen in 2016: a total of 722 flowering military orchids, and an abundance of fly orchids in flower. This reserve can attract a lot of visitors when the orchids are in flower at the end of May and early June. Please take care to avoid trampling orchids and other plants that may not yet be in flower.
Woodland and grassland have existed on this warm slope for at least 200 years, though forestry work has created many changes. The reserve is made up of beech, ash, sycamore and whitebeam with glades and open grassland.
Wild orchids flourish in both the woodland and the grassland here. Some grow in the shady woodland, while others prefer the bright sunshine of the open grassland areas or woodland edge. Species include the handsome military orchid, rare in the UK, which grows on the scrubby grassland here. Its dense spikes of pinkish-violet flowers have petals and sepals folded in such a way that they resemble a knight's helmet. The distinctive lower petal is shaped like a human form with 'arms' and 'legs' and the spots resemble buttons on a jacket. Although widespread in Europe, the military orchid is rare in Britain, flowering in late May and early June and is found on only three sites in the UK.
Butterflies, bees and moths
The rich variety of wild flowers that grow here attract butterflies such as the marbled white, white-letter hairstreak and the silver-washed fritillary. A variety of bees also find nectar in the flowers, and over 400 species of moth have been recorded, including blotched emerald and striped lychnis.
Birds and mammals
Resident and visiting species of birds include chiffchaff, cuckoo and blackcap. Tawny owls can often by heard calling during the day. Fallow and roe deer are also regular visitors to the reserve.
Things to do
- Visit the Military Orchid Open Day in May, find more information on the what's on page
- Help us manage this reserve by supporting us
- Tweet your wildlife sightings to @BBOWT
- Sign up to our e-newsletter
Download the site risk assessment.
Your photographs of Homefield Wood
Share your photos of Homefield Wood with us. Just add them to our BBOWT flickr group and tag them 'Homefield Wood'
Species and habitats
- Grassland, Woodland
- Bee Orchid, Rock-rose, Common Spotted orchid, Primrose, Wood Spurge, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Marbled White, Silver-washed Fritillary, White-letter Hairstreak, Common Carder Bee, Red Mason Bee, Red-tailed Bumblebee, White-tailed Bumblebee, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Cuckoo, Tawny Owl, Hazel dormouse, Fallow Deer, Roe Deer