Hurley Chalk Pit
Know before you go
Parking informationOn A4130 2.5 miles east of Henley, park in lay-by 100m west of Black Boy pub; take the bridleway opposite pub for 0.5 miles.
Gentle slopes but watch out for some loose flint and roots
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitMarch to September
About the reserve
A small reserve, Hurley Chalk Pit encompasses a varied range of habitats, including woodland, scrub, grassland and mixed hedgerows. Excavated more than 150 years ago, its chalk cliffs and screen contain flints. The warm and sheltered pit attracts 15 species of butterfly, including common blues and gatekeepers. The woodland is dominated by beech, but also includes oak, ash, field maple, silver birch, hazel coppice and whitebeam.
The deep shade of the beech discourages many wild flowers but the woodland bluebells form a beautiful sight in spring. The chalk grassland contains many interesting grasses and herbs, such as the elegant quaking-grass and clustered bellflower. Six different wild orchids have been recorded on the reserve including bee, pyramidal and fragrant orchids. Wild marjoram flourishes on the pit floor, alongside cowslip and wild candytuft.