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Seven Barrows

Nationally important for its archaeology as well as its wildlife, this ancient and atmospheric site has a wonderful variety of chalk grassland flowers and butterflies.

Bronze Age beginnings

It is impossible to say for certain what this countryside looked like when its Bronze Age inhabitants were constructing their burial mounds, known as 'barrows', but it was likely to have been covered by woodland. The now characteristic open, rolling grassland of the Berkshire Downs was certainly shaped by people. 

Rare survivor

Seven Barrows (there are actually 30 in the vicinity) may have been one of the first areas to have been cleared by early humans. It has long provided a home for grassland plants and butterflies. Until comparatively recently, such flower-rich chalk grassland was widespread over the Downs, but now few wildlife havens are left because of intensive farming. This area probably survived because the barrows make it physically difficult to plough the land. 

Flowers and butterflies

More than 150 plant species have been recorded on this old chalk grassland including horseshoe vetch, chalk milkwort, chalk fragrant-orchid, the delicate blue harebell and the purple-blue clustered bellflower.

Its notable butterfly list includes the chalkhill blue, small blue, brown argus, marbled white and small heath.

Reserve champions - supporting their favourite reserve

Jonathan Loose

Things to do

Nearby nature reserves

Watts Bank
3 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Letcombe Valley
4 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
High Clear Down
7 miles - Wiltshire 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

5.5 miles south-west of
RG17 8UH
Map reference
SU 330 828
Great for...
historical interest
Best time to visit
Mar - Aug
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
3.50 hectares
Walking information
Flat; firm, uneven in places
Take the B4001 from Lambourn; after 1.5 miles take left fork; after 1 mile, as road bends to left, take byway on right; park in unsurfaced car park 20 m along byway. The track to the reserve is often uneven and muddy in winter.
Guide dogs only
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Tel: 01628 829574

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.