A hidden wildlife gem nestling in the Chilterns hills, rich in wildlife that will lift your spirits whatever the season.
High up in the Chiltern hills, Warburg Nature Reserve is a remote and magnificent place, rich in exciting plants and animals all through the year.
The flower-rich grasslands in the valley bottom give way to extensive woodlands rising up the valley sides. It is the richest BBOWT site in the three counties for orchids. From April right through to August orchids can be found in all of the habitats, including fly orchid and bird's-nest orchid. Warburg Nature Reserve even has its own microclimate with exceptionally cold temperatures on winter nights.
The reserve is home to an incredible range of habitats sheltering thousands of species, and each season there is something interesting to experience.
This is my favourite wild place to come for a walk - you can't match it.
In spring, the woodland is awash with spectacular bluebells and wood anemones.
In May and June the reserve has a dawn chorus second to none. The wide sunny rides and open glades of chalk grassland are full of summer flowers, including pyramidal orchid and swathes of aromatic wild marjoram and thyme. These are followed by autumn and Chiltern gentians and glorious colours throughout the tree canopy, while down below, an incredible 900 species of fungi grow. In winter, you can enjoy magical frost along the valley bottom.
Oddities and rarities
In July you can see the yellow bird's-nest, a strange leafless plant that grows in some of the darkest parts of the beech wood. Warburg Nature Reserve is also wonderful for rare butterflies. Oaks provide food for purple hairstreak caterpillars, while the silver-washed fritillary lays its eggs in bark crevices above violets on the ground below.
Nature Detectives Trail
It's free, it's fun and it's great for all the family!
From the Interpretation Centre families can pick up a special backpack that includes games, trail notes and spotter sheets for wildlife as tiny as beetles and as big as red kites. Children can follow the trail through the woods, the wildlife pond and the grassy glades at their own pace.
Sustainable charcoal is now available to buy at Warburg Nature Reserve.
Reserve champions - supporting their favorite reserve
Sally Burton: "In memory of our beloved daughter Corinne Julia Burton (27/11/1970-24/05/2010)."
Things to do
- Try our circular Wildlife Walk (1 mile). Just follow the badger waymarkers.
- Come along to one of our seasonal guided walks.
- Explore the reserve and surrounding area with our Henley Wild Walk. Starting in Henley, this 21km circular walk includes Warburg Nature Reserve. There is a shorter 8km section that can start from the reserve or Nettlebed. OS Explorer Map 171, 1:25,000 scale, covers the route of this walk.
- Volunteer! Join our regular work party on the reserve.
- 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 Warburg Nature Reserve photographs
Share your Warburg Nature Reserve photographs with us! Add them to our Flickr group and tag them 'warburg'.
Species and habitats
- Grassland, Woodland
- Autumn Gentian, Bluebell, Bugle, Dog-violet, Cowslip, Early Purple Orchid, Eyebright, Herb-Paris, Musk Mallow, Primrose, Snowdrop, Spurge Laurel, Wild Marjoram, Wild Strawberry, Wood Anemone, Elephant Hawk-moth, Green Hairstreak, Marbled White, Purple Emperor, Purple Hairstreak, Ringlet, Silver-washed Fritillary, White Admiral, Crossbill, Goldcrest, Nuthatch, Red Kite, Redwing, Tawny Owl, Treecreeper, Woodcock, Badger, Hazel dormouse, Red Fox, Stoat, Weasel