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Warburg Nature Reserve

A hidden wildlife gem nestling in the Chilterns hills, rich in wildlife that will lift your spirits whatever the season.


Stunning scenery

Silver-washed fritillary by Andy FairbairnHigh 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. 

Seasonal highlights

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.

BBOWT member

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 activities, 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)."

Peter Simpson

Rosemary Waite

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

Your Warburg Nature Reserve photographs

Share your Warburg Nature Reserve photographs with us! Add them to our Flickr group and tag them 'warburg'.

Nearby nature reserves

Warren Bank
5 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Homefield Wood
6 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Hurley Chalk Pit
6 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

4 miles north-west of
Map reference
SU 721 878
Great for...
getting away from it all
Best time to visit
Jan - Dec
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Reserve open at all times
Toilets open at all times
Interpretation Centre open daily 9am - 5pm
(There is no cafe at this centre)

Visitor centre
Picnic facilities
Disabled toilet
Baby changing
106.50 hectares
Mobility vehicle available - please contact us before visiting on 01491 642001 or
Walking information
Variable, mostly steep paths and loose flint, flat grassy path; muddy in valley bottom after rain; benches. Warburg Nature Reserve can be accessed on foot from Maidensgrove and also Nettlebed. Download the Henley Wild Walk leaflet (left).
From the A4130 turn into Bix Village. Take a left turn into Rectory Lane. Go down the steep hill and turn left at the bottom, signposted Bix Bottom. Continue for about 1 mile until reaching the car park at the end of the lane on the right. The lane has some potholes so please drive carefully. For sat-nav please use RG9 6BJ, then continue driving carefully up the valley to the car park.
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Tel: 01491 642001

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.