Nationally important for its archaeology as well as its wildlife, this ancient and atmospheric site has a wonderful variety of chalk grassland flowers and butterflies.

Location

5.5 miles south-west of
Wantage
Berkshire
RG17 8UH

OS Map Reference

SU330828
A static map of Seven Barrows

Know before you go

Size
4 hectares

Entry fee

No

Parking information

Take the B4001 from Lambourn; after 1.5 miles take left fork; after 1 mile, as road bends to left, take byway on right; park in unsurfaced car park 20 m along byway. The track to the reserve is often uneven and muddy in winter.

Grazing animals

Yes

Access

Flat; firm, uneven in places

Dogs

Guide dogs only

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

March to August

About the reserve

Bronze Age beginnings

It is impossible to say for certain what this countryside looked like when its Bronze Age inhabitants were constructing their burial mounds, known as 'barrows', but it was likely to have been covered by woodland. The now characteristic open, rolling grassland of the Berkshire Downs was certainly shaped by people. 

Rare survivor

Seven Barrows (there are actually 30 in the vicinity) may have been one of the first areas to have been cleared by early humans. It has long provided a home for grassland plants and butterflies. Until comparatively recently, such flower-rich chalk grassland was widespread over the Downs, but now few wildlife havens are left because of intensive farming. This area probably survived because the barrows make it physically difficult to plough the land. 

Flowers and butterflies

More than 150 plant species have been recorded on this old chalk grassland including horseshoe vetch, chalk milkwort, chalk fragrant-orchid, the delicate blue harebell and the purple-blue clustered bellflower. Its notable butterfly list includes the chalkhill blue, small blue, brown argus, marbled white and small heath.

Reserve champions - supporting their favourite reserve

Jonathan Loose

 

Contact us

Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Contact number: 01628 829574
Contact email: info@bbowt.org.uk

Environmental designation

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)