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Rushbeds Wood

Discover a wealth of wild flowers and butterflies in this ancient woodland and meadows including the 'townhall clock' plant and the rare black hairstreak.

Find out more about the Bernwood Forest Project in Rushbeds Wood and nearby nature reserves, Whitecross Green Wood and Finemere Wood.

Ancient woodland

Most of the trees here were felled in the late 1940s, and only a handful of mature oaks remain. Today's 'wildwood' is a mixture of ash, field maple, aspen, hazel and oak along with blackthorn, hawthorn, spindle and a few old hornbeams. The woodland is damp and tussocky with a wide variety of sedges, grasses and rushes.

Woodland flowers

In spring, the woodland has a scattering of bluebells and contains many plants that thrive in ancient wooded sites, such as wood anemone, primrose and yellow archangel. In April and May, look out for moschatel, otherwise known as the 'townhall clock', or 'Good Friday plant'. The small yellow-green flowers are arranged in a fascinating way, at right angles to one another, like the faces of a town clock.

Butterflies abound

Rushbeds Wood is excellent for butterflies, and you are likely to see the tree canopy aflutter with the fast-flying purple hairstreak in June and July. The wood also supports some of the more uncommon butterflies such as the purple emperor and the black hairstreak. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the handsome silver-washed fritillary settling on bramble flowers, or even a white admiral.

Things to do

  • Try our circular Wildlife Walk (1.5 miles).  Just follow the badger waymarkers.
  • Look out for our seasonal guided walks including autumn fungus forays.
  • We run regular work parties on the reserve.
  • Follow the latest news from the Bernwood Forest project on Twitter.

Your photographs of Rushbeds Wood

Share your photographs of Rushbeds Wood with us! Just add them to our BBOWT flickr group, and tag them with 'Rushbeds Wood'.

Nearby nature reserves

Upper Ray Meadows
3 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Finemere Wood
5 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Whitecross Green Wood
5 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

9 miles south-east of
HP18 0RU
Map reference
SP 673 154
Great for...
ancient trees
getting away from it all
Best time to visit
Jan - Dec
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times.
56.00 hectares
Walking information
Paths flat, soft after rain, some roots; kissing gates, bench
Surfaced car park, 1.25 miles south of Ludgershall, 100 m before Boarstall-Wotton Underwood road. Through gate and over railway bridge.
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.