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Rushbeds Wood

This popular area of ancient broadleaved woodland, bordered by unspoiled meadows, is one of the few remaining fragments of the Royal Forest of Bernwood, an ancient hunting forest.

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 & places to go

  • 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.

Nearby nature reserves

Upper Ray Meadows
4 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

Location
9 miles south-east of
Bicester
Buckinghamshire
HP18 0RU
Map reference
SP 6673 1565
Great for...
ancient trees
Best time to visit
Jan - Dec
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times.
Car park closed until mid August due to work by Network Rail.
Size
59.00 hectares
Walking information
Paths flat, soft after rain, some roots; kissing gates
Parking
No parking until mid August due to work by Network Rail.
Surfaced car park, 1 1/4 mile south of Ludgershall, 100m before Boarstall-Wotton Underwood road
Dogs
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Yes
Reserve manager
Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Tel: 01442 826774
info@bbowt.org.uk

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.