Situated in the Radnage valley, Yoesden is a quintessential site of the traditional Chiltern landscape in south Buckinghamshire. A swathe of chalk grassland undamaged by ploughing, fertilisers and intensive grazing is packed with rare butterflies and wild flowers and is topped by a ‘hanger’ woodland of beech, yew and whitebeam trees on the edge of a steeply sided valley.

Please park at Bledlow Ridge when you visit Yoesden (see Location, right). There is no public parking at St Mary's Church in Radnage.

Yoesden just got bigger!

We would like to say a very big ‘thank you’ to all the very generous supporters of our appeal to extend Yoesden nature reserve. As of 6 April 2016 BBOWT is now managing a larger Yoesden nature reserve, thanks to the overwhelming generosity of our members and supporters who have helped us to buy three plots of land adjacent to the reserve. These are included in the map of the reserve on this page.

Money raised through public appeal combined with generous grants from Biffa Award and The Banister Charitable Trust, means that we have increased the size of the reserve by almost 30%, providing enormous long-term benefits for local wildlife.

Our fantastic team of volunteers and staff can now begin work to help encourage the specialist flora, and the wildlife it supports, to spread to new areas of the site, strengthening and protecting this cherished reserve in the Chiltern Hills for many decades to come. 

In the coming months BBOWT will:

  • Carry out butterfly surveys on the new land. Some of the more interesting butterflies we hope to record later this spring include grizzled and dingy skipper.
  • Begin restoring the field by introducing wild flower seed collected by hand from the existing chalk bank. Our aim is that the field will eventually be covered in violets, fairy flax and bird’s-foot-trefoil, and the butterflies that feed on these plants.
  • This autumn our volunteer group will be clearing scrub and contractors will start re-fencing the southern chalk bank ready for cattle to graze there.
  • There will be a new map of the reserve on the interpretation boards.

Thank you again for your very valued support.

Diversity of butterflies and flowers

Yoesden is home to an impressive variety of butterflies. Considered by many as ‘one of the jewels of the Chiltern hills’ for the numbers of butterflies found on site. This year 28 species were recorded including three scarce blue species: Adonis, chalkhill and small blue butterflies, all of which rely on the flower-rich grassland that makes up about half of the reserve.
Yoesden is equally important for chalk down land plants. Towards the end of June parts of the bank are pink with amazing shows of common spotted and fragrant orchids laced with the vivid yellow of bird's-foot trefoil, horseshoe vetch and kidney vetch all plants so important for the butterfly species found here. Late in the summer the colours change to a much deeper purple with carpets of Devil’s-bit scabious, knapweed and Chiltern gentians starting to dominate areas of the grassland.

‘Hanging’ beech woodland

Above the chalk bank there runs a strip of mature beech woodland which was once a hive of activity being managed for timber for the furniture industry. This woodland now echoes to the sound of great spotted woodpeckers, buzzards and red kites.
On the woodland floor, among the beech and yew trees, can be found some real woodland specialist plants including wood anemone, ramsons (wild garlic), primrose and bird’s-nest orchid.

 

Read the feature on Yoesden in the April 2015 Wildlife News

 

 

Reserves Ecology Manager, Debbie Lewis talks about how we are looking after Yoesden.

Video courtesy of Rob Evans, BBOWT member

Thank you to our supporters

The Heritage Lottery Fund supported the Wildlife Trust in 2014 when BBOWT had the opportunity to buy the land at Yoesden and transform it into a wildlife haven.

 

 

A generous grant from Biffa Award in 2016 helped BBOWT to increase the size of the reserve by almost 30%, providing enormous long-term benefits for local wildlife.

 

Reserve champions - supporting their favourite reserve

Mrs Anne Ling: "Spectacular rare chalk grassland also loved by Chris Barnes."

Things to do

Your Yoesden photographs

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

Nearby nature reserves

Chinnor Hill
2 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Oakley Hill
3 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Grangelands and The Rifle Range
5 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
Bledlow Ridge on Chinnor Road. Park on Chinnor Road in village close to The Boot PH (postcode below). Walk north-west along road for approx. 250m. Take footpath on left. Follow footpath for 200m before entering reserve.
Chinnor
Buckinghamshire
HP14 4AR
Map reference
SU 788 984
Great for...
butterflies
wildflowers
Best time to visit
Jun - Sep
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
Size
13.00 hectares
Status
County Wildlife Site
Access
No

Walking information
Sloping, steep and stony in places, muddy in places; kissing gates and gates; bench
Parking
Park in Bledlow Ridge on Chinnor Road,close to The Boot Public House. Walk north-west along road for approx. 250m. Take footpath on left. Follow footpath for 200m before entering reserve. Please do not park at St Mary's Church in Radnage.
Dogs
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Yes
Reserve manager
Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Tel: 01442 826774
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.