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Decoy Heath

Here you will see some of the best displays of dragonflies and damselflies, including the downy emerald dragonfly and the rare small red damselfly, as well as wild flowers and birds.

Dragonflies galore

Decoy Heath is one of the best sites for dragonflies and damselflies in Berkshire. No fewer than 23 species have been known to breed around its shallow pools. They include the keeled skimmer, white-legged damselfly, emerald damselfly and the small red damselfly with its bright red legs. This scarlet species prefers shallow, unshaded streams and bog pools with overlaying bog-moss mats. By creating new pools, the Trust has significantly expanded the available habitat for these delightful insects.

Fascinating bogland

Insects are attracted to flowers at the margins of the pools. Lesser skullcap, bog pimpernel and marsh violet are three of the more uncommon flowers that favour these boggy conditions. Rushes and sedges provide cover for nesting moorhens.

Heathland rarity

An important population of adders is present on site and doing well, thanks to habitat management by the Trust to create special basking platforms and protect hibernacula. Adders are very vulnerable to disturbance so please don't lift the tins; instead go quietly and you may well come across one basking in the open.

Many uncommon mosses and liverworts inhabit the wet heath, while the drier areas favour grey and red lichens. 

Honeysuckle, foxglove and primrose can be found here. More than 80 species of birds have been recorded at Decoy Heath. Some years scarce ground-nesting birds including nightjar and woodlark make their homes here.

Things to do

Your Decoy Heath photographs

Share your photographs of Decoy Heath with us. Add them to the BBOWT flickr group, and tag them 'decoyheath'.

Nearby nature reserves

Padworth Common
1 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Upper Inhams Copse
1 miles - Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust
Pamber Forest and Upper Inhams Copse
2 miles - Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

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Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Reserve information

9 miles south-west of
Map reference
SU 613 634
Great for...
lichens and mosses
Best time to visit
Jan - Dec
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
8.00 hectares
Walking information
Waterlogged patches in winter; sloping; rutted paths; kissing gates
From Silchester, take road west towards Aldermaston for 1.5 miles to reserve entrance on left, opposite Allport factory (Valentine Wood Industrial Estate); surfaced car park. To access car park please slide chain over gate post. There will be a combination lock on this gate from 10th January 2018. Please call (01635) 35157 to arrange vehicular access.
Dogs must be on lead
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.