Great reserves to visit in February

With nearly 90 nature reserves to choose from in our three counties, which are the best to visit this month?
Dancersend

Winter sun at Dancersend by Mick Jones

Dancersend, Bucks

Dancersend and neighbouring Pavis Woods are wonderful to visit all year round.

This tranquil nature reserve includes woodland and chalk grassland. During the winter listen out for flocks of birds flitting around the trees, and look for colour from the winter and early spring flowers emerging from the woodland floor.

Check out the latest news from Dancersend with Mick Jones, volunteer warden for the reserve.

You can explore the reserve and surrounding countryside on our circular Tring Park Wild Walk.

Dancersend with Pavis Woods

Tring Park Wild Walk

Foxcote Reservoir

Foxcote Reservoir by Peet Austin/Flickr.com

Foxcote Reservoir, Bucks

Lying in a rolling Buckinghamshire landscape of arable fields, pasture and woodland, Foxcote Reservoir is the kind of place that rewards patient visitors.

Created in 1956 by damming a small tributary of the River Great Ouse, this site has become important for wintering waterfowl, especially shoveler ducks. Also look out for pochard, wigeon, teal, goldeneye and pintail.

Foxcote Reservoir

Shovelers

Shovelers by Nick Upton/2020VISION/naturepl.com

Hosehill Lake, Berks

Look out for more wintering birds at this old, flooded gravel pit. In winter you can see birds like wigeon, gadwall, shoveler and pochard. They come here for the winter to escape colder weather on the continent.

Hosehill Lake

How to tell the difference between divers and dabblers

kingfisher

Kingfisher by Margaret Holland

Letcombe Valley, Oxon

A lovely mix of chalk stream, woodland and chalk grassland creates a tranquil haven for wildlife and local people. Look out for winter and early spring flowers in the small remnants of ancient woodland here.

The Letcombe Brook is a rare habitat - there are very few chalk streams in Oxfordshire and only 161 UK-wide. If you're lucky, you may see the blue flash of a kingfisher darting past as you walk along the stream.

Letcombe Valley

Great spotted woodpecker

Great spotted woodpecker by Margaret Holland

Sydlings Copse, Oxon

Tucked away to the north-east of Oxford and packed into a steep valley, Sydlings Copse is a treasure trove for wildlife enthusiasts. At this time of year the woodland is coming alive with birdsong and colour as flowers start poking through the woodland floor.

Sydlings Copse

Wildmoor Heath

Wildmoor Heath on a misty morning by Emma Shaw

Wildmoor Heath, Berks

Misty mornings make Wildmoor Heath very atmospheric. This reserve is situated on a slope and offers visitors a wonderful range of habitats and views, from wet and dry lowland heath and valley bog, to mature pine and broadleaved woodland.

Wildmoor Heath

Wild at heart: Wildlife Fridays by Ric Mellis

Wild at heart: Wildlife Fridays by Ric Mellis

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