Know before you go
Parking informationOn A40 west of Burford turn left onto B4425; after 1 mile, park on soft verge between dry stone wall and farm track on right 20m from reserve
Flat; rough ground; steps
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitMarch to August
About the reserve
More than 100 years ago, this area was set aside for raising furze (gorse) and other fuel for the poor parishioners of Westwell. Although this practice came to an end in the middle of the 19th century, the land continued to be administered by the Westwell Charities - luckily for its wildlife. The southern boundaries of the reserve are edged by restored Cotswold dry stone walls.
While surrounding land became intensively farmed arable fields, this small area of limestone grassland has remained a haven for pyramidal orchid, common twayblade, early-purple orchid, harebell, small scabious, purple milk-vetch and the nationally rare down-fruited sedge, whose numbers have dramatically increased thanks to sympathetic management.
Butterflies and birds
As well as the wild flowers, there are extensive growths of lichen on the blackthorn to inspect. Rides cut through the scrub provide sheltered open areas for a variety of butterflies. The scrub is also attractive to nesting and roosting birds. A small pocket of woodland, planted in the 1970s, has wild cherry and hawthorn which attracts a variety of songbirds.