The best time for a first visit to Hartslock is May to July when you can see the host of orchids that thrive here.

Orchids galore

Bee, pyramidal and common spotted-orchids, common twayblade and white helleborine grow on this sloping grassland. In May or early June, the famous monkey orchids flower here, too. These are so rare that they only grow in two other places in the UK and are protected by law. When the Trust took over this steep chalk hillside overlooking the Thames there were just seven plants, now they number more than 400. In 2006, BBOWT was amazed to find a hybrid of the monkey and lady orchids at Hartslock, the only place in Britain where this hybrid has been recorded. A rich variety of wild grasses and other flowers thrives on the thin soils and south-facing slopes,too. In July, the whole hillside is carpeted with pale mauve marjoram.

 

 

Insects and kites

The reserve is also excelllent for insects, featuring a variety of bee species, uncommon grasshoppers and day-flying moths. Butterflies include the lovely chalkhill blue, green hairstreak and grizzled skipper. The rare Adonis blue adds a further splash of colour with the brillian turquoise-blue of the male butterfly. On summer evenings, red kites soar above this colourful spectacle, while swallows skim over the pasture.

 

Hartslock Wood, a Rothschild Reserve

In May 1912 the banker and expert naturalist Charles Rothschild founded the Society for Promotion of Nature Reserves – the organisation that would become the Wildlife Trusts. His vision was to identify and protect the best places for wildlife, and these became known as Rothschild Reserves. 100 years ago Hartslock Wood and the land bordering the Thames as far as Gatehampton was recommended for inclusion on the list of Rothschild Reserves.

Get involved

Your Hartslock photographs

Share your photographs of Hartslock with us! Just add them to our BBOWT flickr group, and tag them with 'hartslock'.

Nearby nature reserves

Cholsey Marsh
4 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Moor Copse
4 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Warren Bank
4 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
7 miles north-west of
Reading
Oxfordshire
RG8 9HF
Map reference
SU 6189 7937
Great for...
butterflies
stunning views
wildflowers
Best time to visit
Mar - Aug
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
Size
9.50 hectares
Status
Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Walking information
Steep slopes, firm paths; long flight of steps
Parking
Hartslock nature reserve is one mile south-east of Goring & Streatley railway station. Park at the station and walk along the unclassified road towards Upper Gatehampton Farm; at left hand bend before the hill, take track on right into the reserve. Or park in Goring village and walk along Thames Path 1.5 miles, then take path to the left, up steep slope into the reserve.
Dogs
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Yes
Reserve manager
Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Tel: 01865 775476
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.