A wonderful wildlife experience of chalkland flowers including greater butterfly-orchids and thousands of fragrant orchids.
A remarkable place
Tucked away on the edge of Wendover Woods between Aylesbury and Tring, Aston Clinton Ragpits is a remarkable nature reserve. Just three hectares in size and boasting eight species of orchid and over 25 different types of butterfly, this reserve offers a real treat to visitors in spring and summer.
From chalkpit to orchid paradise
The site was once an old chalk pit, worked for its coveted chalk freestone or 'rag' which was used for local building. The reserve has been looked after by BBOWT for over 20 years and due to meticulous management a huge variety of wild flowers, shrubs, butterflies and other animals have colonised the site. Towards the end of June you can enjoy a spectacular display of orchids which includes greater butterfly-orchid, pyramidal orchid and thousands of fragrant orchids with their deep pink, clove-scented flowers.
The chalk ground provides perfect conditions for this profusion of orchids and other wild flowers. As well as the orchids, look out for cowslip, bright blue chalk milkwort, mauve autumn gentian and yellow horseshoe vetch.
The reserve's flowers attract an amazing array of butterflies, and some scrubby areas have been fenced off to provide areas for them to roost and reproduce. Species include marbled white, chalkhill blue, brimstone, small tortoiseshell, peacock and red admiral.
Sun and rain
While you're admiring the flying beauties, keep an eye out in the sunshine for slow-worms and basking grass snakes. After wet weather the Roman snail can be seen here. It is the largest of the British snails, the size of a golf ball and often white in colour with pale brown bands.
Reserve champions - supporting their favourite reserve
Alison Beck: "This reserve is very special to me and I have loved it for many years."
Liz Firth: "A magical place. Primroses, cowslips, amazing orchid displays then butterflies on the chalk grassland flowers."
Things to do
- Help us manage this reserve by supporting us.
- Tweet your wildlife sightings to @BBOWT.
- Sign up to our e-newsletter.
Download the site assessment.
Your Aston Clinton Ragpits photographs
Share your photographs of Aston Clinton Ragpits with us! Add them to the BBOWT flickr group and tag them with 'astonclintonragpits'.