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Pilch Field

Old 'ridge and furrow' meadows thick with wild flowers and grasses - a link to our natural and agricultural past.

Centuries old

Pilch Field is made up of two wet meadows and a small triangular field. Surrounded by fine hedgerows with ash standards, the site also includes a patch of scrub.

Ancient ridge and furrow plough marks can still be seen in many old meadows and pastures such as these Buckinghamshire grasslands. Once the ploughed lands were returned to pasture, the wild flowers would have reappeared in the absence of modern weedkillers and fertilisers.

Flushes of wildlife

Wet 'flushes' are fed by water seeping through the soil. In spring, clumps of marsh-marigold mark the damper soil. Rushes, sedges and wetland wild flowers such as meadowsweet, marsh valerian and the early marsh-orchid flourish here. 

Meadow marvels

Hundreds of green-winged orchids, once a common sight in meadows such as these, appear in early May, growing along the tops of the ridges. They are followed by common spotted orchids in June.

There are plenty of butterflies, grasshoppers and other insects. Look out for the ant-hills made by the yellow meadow ant.

Hedgerow haven

The bordering hedgerows are alive with warblers. Other birds of interest include yellowhammer, reed bunting and overwintering snipe.

Look out for brown hares - their larger size, long legs and black-tipped ears distinguish them from rabbits.

Reserve champions - supporting their favourite reserve

Dr & Mrs W.R. Tunnicliffe: "Simply magical!"

Things to do

Your photographs of Pilch Field

Share your photos of Pilch Field with us. Just add them to the BBOWT flick group and tag them 'Pilch Field'.

Nearby nature reserves

Foxcote Reservoir
4 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Calvert Jubilee
6 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Finemere Wood
7 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Reserve information

3 miles south-east of
MK17 0NX
Map reference
SP 749 321
Great for...
overwintering birds
Best time to visit
Mar - Aug
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
12.00 hectares
Walking information
Sloping; uneven ground, soft after rain; gate
Take A421 east from Buckingham; after 3 miles, take the road on the right towards Great Horwood; park on soft verge near sharp left-hand bend. Reserve is on the right beside the footpath.
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Tel: 01442 826774

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.