Discover a wealth of wild flowers and butterflies in this ancient woodland and meadows including the 'townhall clock' plant and the rare black hairstreak.

Location

9 miles south-east of
Bicester
Buckinghamshire
HP18 0RU

OS Map Reference

SP673154
A static map of Rushbeds Wood

Know before you go

Size
56 hectares

Entry fee

No

Parking information

Surfaced car park, 1.25 miles south of Ludgershall, 100 m before Boarstall-Wotton Underwood road. Through gate and over railway bridge.

Grazing animals

Yes

Walking trails

Follow the 1.5 mile Wildlife Walk

Access

Paths flat, soft after rain, some roots; kissing gates, bench

Dogs

On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times.

Best time to visit

All year round

About the reserve

Ancient woodland

Most of the trees here were felled in the late 1940s, and only a handful of mature oaks remain. Today's 'wildwood' is a mixture of ash, field maple, aspen, hazel and oak along with blackthorn, hawthorn, spindle and a few old hornbeams. The woodland is damp and tussocky with a wide variety of sedges, grasses and rushes.

Woodland flowers

In spring, the woodland has a scattering of bluebells and contains many plants that thrive in ancient wooded sites, such as wood anemone, primrose and yellow archangel. In April and May, look out for moschatel, otherwise known as the 'townhall clock', or 'Good Friday plant'. The small yellow-green flowers are arranged in a fascinating way, at right angles to one another, like the faces of a town clock.

Butterflies abound

Rushbeds Wood is excellent for butterflies, and you are likely to see the tree canopy aflutter with the fast-flying purple hairstreak in June and July. The wood also supports some of the more uncommon butterflies such as the purple emperor and the black hairstreak. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the handsome silver-washed fritillary settling on bramble flowers, or even a white admiral.

Things to do

Try our circular Wildlife Walk (1.5 miles).  Just follow the badger waymarkers. Look out for our seasonal guided walks including autumn fungus forays. 

Contact us

Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Contact number: 01442 826774
Contact email: info@bbowt.org.uk

Environmental designation

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)