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Butterfly Sites in the UTB Region

Compiled by Dave Wilton

(Updated:  July 2006)

 

 

 

This is a list of recommended sites to be found within the three counties.  It is by no means exhaustive but includes the majority of those sites which appear regularly in the Butterfly Sightings pages of this website. All of the places mentioned here have year-round free public access unless otherwise stated. If you can recommend any other good sites with public access, please contact the Webmaster.

 

You will need a decent map to find many of these places.  The Ordnance Survey Explorer series (1:25,000) is recommended, although the Landranger series (1:50,000) will be adequate for most.  Locations have been given using the National Grid Reference system, marked on all Ordnance Survey maps.  Use of this system is explained on each O.S. map but it may be worth giving a quick overview here.  The UK is divided into squares of 100 kilometers by 100 kilometers and each of these squares is allocated a two-letter code.  The 100 km squares which interest us are mainly ‘SP’ and ‘SU’.

 

 

 

 

Every 100 km square is divided into 10 km squares.  Each of these 10 km squares is further subdivided into 1km squares, from which a reasonably accurate reference down to 100 metres can be obtained.  The first three digits are the Easting (horizontal reference) and the last three digits are the Northing (vertical reference), giving a full reference for the centre of Aylesbury as SP 825140.

 

 

Images on these pages have been produced from the Ordnance Survey “Get-a-map” service. They are reproduced here with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

 

Buckinghamshire

 

 

 

 

 

 

A.      Aston Clinton Ragpits (SP 888109)

A Wildlife Trust reserve 4¼ miles southeast of Aylesbury.  A small area of chalk downland and disused pits at the base of the Chilterns.  No car park (use verge at SP 888108 on unclassified road off the A4011 towards Wendover Woods, St Leonards and Chesham).  Species include Chalkhill Blue, Green Hairstreak.

 

B.      Bernwood Forest (SP 615114)

A large Forest Enterprise woodland complex 7 miles northeast of Oxford, incorporating Oakley, Shabbington and York’s Woods and Hell Coppice, all of which is now managed as a nature reserve.  Car park at SP 610116 off the unclassified road from Oakley to Stanton St John.  Species include Black, Brown and Purple Hairstreak, White Admiral, Purple Emperor, Silver-washed Fritillary.

 

C.      Bernwood Meadows (SP 608109)

A Wildlife Trust reserve adjacent to Bernwood Forest.  Two wild flower meadows.  Very small car park at SP 606111 off the unclassified road from Oakley to Stanton St John.  Species include Black and Brown Hairstreak, Marbled White.

 

D.      Black Park (TQ 010835)

A Country Park 3 miles northeast of Slough owned by Bucks County Council.  An area of mixed woodland with some restored heath.  Open 8am to dusk.  Car park (£2 per day, pay and display) by the lake at TQ 005832, off Black Park Road.  Species include Purple Hairstreak, White Admiral, Purple Emperor.

 

E.      Blue Lagoon (SP 868326)

A Local Nature Reserve in Bletchley owned by Milton Keynes Council.  A reclaimed former brickworks site.  Car park at SP 871325.  Species include Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Small Blue.

 

F.       Buttler’s Hangings (SU 818962)

A Wildlife Trust reserve 3 miles northwest of central High Wycombe on land owned by the Dashwood Estate.  An area of chalk downland with beech woods above.  No car park.  Park at SU 818958 on the verge of the unclassified road from West Wycombe to Saunderton (Slough Lane).  Species include Silver-spotted Skipper, Chalkhill Blue, Dark Green Fritillary.

 

G.      Chinkwell Wood  (SP 666143)

A PRIVATE mixed woodland site 8 miles southeast of Bicester owned by Forest Enterprise, with a set-aside meadow on its southern side. ACCESS ONLY ALONG PUBLIC FOOTPATHS.  No car park (park in Brill village and use the footpath network). Species include Black, Brown, Purple & White-letter Hairstreak, White Admiral, Purple Emperor.

 

H.      College Lake (SP 932144)

A Wildlife Trust reserve 2 miles north of Tring.  A reclaimed chalk quarry.  Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am-5pm (there is a small entry charge and a visitor permit is required, obtained from the Warden’s Office on site).  Car park at SP 935138 off the B488 between Tring and Ivinghoe.  Species include Dingy Skipper, Green Hairstreak, Chalkhill Blue, Small Blue.

 

I.        College Wood (SP 790330)

A Woodland Trust reserve 8 miles east of Buckingham.  An area of established mixed woodland with a young copse by its entrance.  Small car park at SP 787327 off the unclassified road between Nash and Little Horwood.  Species include Wood White, White Admiral.

 

J.       Dancersend (SP 900095)

A Wildlife Trust reserve 5 miles southeast of Aylesbury.  Two separate areas, comprising chalk downland to the northwest and mixed woodland with small meadows to the southeast.  No car park (use verge adjacent to various entry points or, for the southern end of the reserve, park in the waterworks yard at SP 904089).  Species include Grizzled Skipper, Green Hairstreak, Duke of Burgundy.

 

K.      Finemere Wood (SP 717219)

A Wildlife Trust reserve 8 miles northwest of Aylesbury.  An area of mixed woodland.  No car park (use verge at SP 721209 on unclassified road between Quainton and Edgcott; entrance to wood is ¾ mile along public footpath from that point).  Species include Grizzled Skipper, Black, White-letter and Purple Hairstreak, White Admiral, Purple Emperor.

 

L.       Grangelands (SP 828048)

A Bucks County Council reserve 1½ miles northeast of Princes Risborough, on the west side of Pulpit Hill (National Trust).  An area of chalk downland and scrub with beech woods above.  Car park at SP 833046 on unclassified road above Lower Cadsden. Species include Dingy, Grizzled and Silver-spotted Skipper, Green Hairstreak, Chalkhill Blue, Small Blue.

 

M.      Holtspur Valley Reserves (SU 919905 & SU 916906)

Two adjacent Local Nature Reserves 1½ miles west of central Beaconsfield on land owned by Beaconsfield Town Council.  Both are small areas of chalk grassland with some deciduous woodland.  No car park at either location.  Access to Holtspur Bank Local Nature Reserve at SU 919906 (Riding Lane) and access to Holtspur Bottom Butterfly Reserve at SU 918906 (on public footpath that leaves Riding Lane by the railway bridge).  Limited parking in Riding Lane which is very narrow. Room for several cars in the Railway tunnel if reserve entrances are locked.   Holtspur Bottom is leased to Butterfly Conservation and managed by the Upper Thames Branch.  Species include Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Small Blue, Purple Hairstreak.

 

For more details & site map visit our   UTB Holtspur Bottom Reserve website.

 

 

N.      Homefield Wood (SU 813868)

A small reserve 2 miles west of Marlow owned by Forest Enterprise but managed by the Wildlife Trust.  An area of young woodland with some grassland, part of a much larger Forest Enterprise woodland complex.  No car park as such but parking is available in the lay-by at SU 814866 on the unclassified road between Bockmer End and Lower Woodend.  Species include Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, White-letter Hairstreak, Silver-washed Fritillary, White Admiral.

 

P.      Howe Park Wood (SP 834344)

A Local Nature Reserve at Tattenhoe on land owned by Milton Keynes Council.  An area of mixed woodland on the southwestern edge of Milton Keynes.  Car park at SP 830345.  Species include Grizzled Skipper.

 

Q.      Ivinghoe Beacon (SP 961168)

A National Trust reserve 3 miles northeast of Tring.  A large area of chalk downland.  Car park at SP 963160 on unclassified road (Beacon Road) between Ivinghoe Aston and Little Gaddesden.  Species include Dingy Skipper, Chalkhill Blue, Green Hairstreak, Duke of Burgundy, Dark Green Fritillary.

 

R.      Little Linford Wood (SP 831455)

A Wildlife Trust reserve 4½ miles north of central Milton Keynes.  An area of mixed woodland.  Car park at SP 834456, accessed at SP 850458 from the unclassified road between Gayhurst and Little Linford (follow track for just over a mile, passing under the M1 and past Dairy Farm, to reach the wood).  Species include Purple Hairstreak, White Admiral.

 

S.      Prestwood Picnic Site (SU 866991)

A Local Nature Reserve 3 miles north of High Wycombe on land owned by Wycombe District Council.  A small area of chalk grassland and scrub. Car park at site, accessed from unclassified road (Hampden Road) between Hughenden and Prestwood.  Species include Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Chalkhill Blue.

 

T.      Rushbeds Wood & Lapland Farm Meadows (SP 668156)

A Wildlife Trust reserve 7 miles southeast of Bicester.  An area of mixed woodland with wildflower meadows along its southern edge and to the north.  Parking at SP 674154 for Rushbeds (southeastern corner of wood, gated track across railway bridge to car park - please close the gate behind you) or on the verge by the road junction at SP 670163 for the Lapland Farm meadows (walk along the private road leading to Bernwode Plants).  Species include Black, Brown & Purple Hairstreak, White Admiral, Purple Emperor, Marbled White.

 

U.      Wendover Woods (SP 890085)

A large Forest Enterprise woodland complex east of Wendover.  The main car park is at SP 891101 (on unclassified road near top of Aston Hill), but for the infamous Wendover Woods buddleia bush park on the verge at SP 889075 (Hale Lane) and follow the track up the hill from there.  Species include Purple Emperor, Silver-washed Fritillary.

 

V.      Whitecross Green Wood (SP 602146)

A Wildlife Trust reserve straddling the Bucks/Oxon boundary 5 miles south of Bicester.  An area of mixed woodland with some wide rides.  Parking at SP 600150 (gated track to car park - please close both gates behind you).  Species include Black, Brown and Purple Hairstreak, Wood White, White Admiral, Purple Emperor.

 

W.     Yoesden Bank (SU 789980)

A private site with permitted public access at Radnage, 3 miles northwest of West Wycombe. An area of chalk downland.  No car park (park by Radnage church and follow footpath through churchyard to site).  Species include Grizzled Skipper, Adonis Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Small Blue.

 

Berkshire

 

 

 

 

 

 

A.      Bowdown Wood (SU 501656)

A Wildlife Trust reserve 2 miles southeast of central Newbury, adjacent to Greenham Common.  An area of mixed woodland.  Car parks at SU 501656, SU 505653 and SU 512651, all accessed from tracks off Bury’s Bank Road.  Species include Purple Hairstreak, Silver-washed Fritillary, White Admiral.

 

B.      Decoy Heath (SU 612634)

Infilled former gravel pits 1½ miles southeast of Aldermaston village owned by John Stacey & Sons and managed as a reserve by the Wildlife Trust.  Now an area of woodland, heath and bog.  Car park at SU 614635.  Species include Grayling.

 

C.      Greenham Common (SU 500645)

A Local Nature Reserve 2½ miles southeast of central Newbury on former Ministry of Defence land now managed by West Berkshire Council.  A very large site, previously a military airfield, which is being restored to its original status as heathland.  Car park beside the old control tower at SU 499652 (off Bury’s Bank Road).  Species include Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Grayling.

 

D.      Lardon Chase & Lough Down (SU 589811)

A National Trust site on the western side of Streatley.  An area of chalk downland overlooking the River Thames.  Car park at SU 583807 off the B4009.  Species include Grizzled Skipper, Adonis Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Small Blue.

 

E.      Maidenhead Thicket (SU 853809)

A National Trust site on the western edge of Maidenhead.  An area of deciduous wood and common land.  Car park at SU 857809 off the unclassified road (old A404) that leaves the A4 at the roundabout just east of the A404(M) junction.  Species include White-letter Hairstreak, Purple Hairstreak.

 

F.       Moor Copse (SU 637740)

A Wildlife Trust reserve 1½ miles south of Pangbourne.  Park in layby on the A340 at SU 633738.  An area of wood and grassland adjacent to the River Pang.  Species include White Admiral, Silver-washed Fritillary.

 

G.      Seven Barrows (SU 329828)

A Wildlife Trust reserve 2½ miles north of Lambourn.  An area of chalk downland, including a number of prehistoric burial mounds.  Car park at SU 329827 off the unclassified road between Lambourn and Kingston Lyle.  Species include Chalkhill Blue, Small Blue, Marsh Fritillary.

 

H.      Wildmoor Heath (SU 842627)

A Wildlife Trust reserve 5 miles southwest of Bracknell.  An area of woodland, heath and bog.  Car park at SU 838631 off Crowthorne Road.  Species include Silver-studded Blue, Grayling.

 

Oxfordshire

 

 

 

 

 

A.      Ardley Quarry (SP 537273)

A Wildlife Trust reserve 4 miles northwest of Bicester.  A cutting and former quarry adjacent to the Marylebone to Birmingham railway line.  No car park.  Park on the verge by the railway bridge at SP 534274 (Quarry Cottages Road, a no-through road off Somerton Road), from where the railway cutting can be accessed.  Species include Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Green Hairstreak.

 

B.      Asham Meads (SP 593140)

A Wildlife Trust reserve 5 miles south of Bicester and just west of Whitecross Green Wood.  An area of wet grassland with a small oak copse and surrounding scrub.  Car park at SP 590144 off track through Whitecross Green and Manor Farms that leaves the unclassified road between Boarstall and Murcott at SP 597152.  Species include Black, Brown and Purple Hairstreak.

 

C.      Aston Rowant (SU 725970)

A National Nature Reserve owned by Natural England.  Two areas of chalk downland with some woodland on the edge of the Chilterns, one each side of the M40 motorway cutting 2 miles west of Stokenchurch, Bucks.  Car park for Beacon Hill (north side) at SU 732966 and for Bald Hill (south side) at SU 727958, both signposted off the unclassified road to Christmas Common from the A40 west of Stokenchurch.  Species include Silver-spotted Skipper, Chalkhill Blue, Dark Green Fritillary.

 

For site map:  www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/conservation/designations/nnr/1006007.aspx

 

D.      Aston Upthorpe Downs (SU 544834)

A chalk downland site 3½ miles southeast of Didcot.  Aston Downs SSSI is now open access land under the right to roam legislation. There's a sign with a map at the entrance to Juniper Valley.  No car park - suggested parking by the grain dryer at SU 550844 on unclassified road off the A417 south of Aston Upthorpe village.  Species include Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Small Blue, Green Hairstreak, Chalkhill Blue and Duke of Burgundy. Marbled White and Meadow Brown are abundant.

   

E.      Chinnor Hill (SP 765005)

A Wildlife Trust reserve 1 mile southeast of Chinnor.  An area of beech woodland, scrub and chalk grassland on the edge of the Chilterns.  Car park at SP 766002 at the end of Hill Top Lane, a turning off the unclassified road between Chinnor and Bledlow Ridge.  Species include Dark Green Fritillary.

 

F.       Foxholes (SP 253205)

A Wildlife Trust reserve 6 miles north of Burford, part of which is leased from the Bruern Estate.  An area of woodland and meadow adjacent to the River Evenlode.  Car park at SP 254206, accessed by track at SP 260203 from the unclassified road between Milton-under-Wychwood and Bruern.  Species include White Admiral.

 

G.      Hartslock (SU 617795)

A Wildlife Trust reserve 1 mile southeast of Goring.  An area of steep chalk downland overlooking the River Thames.  No car park.  Park on the verge at SU 616796 (junction of track that leads to the reserve and unclassified no-through road that heads south-east from Goring railway station).  Species include Adonis Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Green Hairstreak.

 

H.      Piddington Wood (SP 629164)

A Woodland Trust reserve 4 miles southeast of Bicester.  An area of mixed woodland with an adjacent meadow.  No car park as such, but there is a small lay-by on the B4011 at SP 631164 right beside the entrance.  Species include Black, Brown, Purple & White-letter Hairstreak, White Admiral, Purple Emperor.

 

J.       Swyncombe Downs (SU 678916)

A PRIVATE chalk downland site 2 miles southwest of Watlington.  ACCESS ONLY ALONG PUBLIC BYWAYS & FOOTPATHS.  No car park.  Suggested parking at SU 671919 on the Ridgeway (open to vehicles), accessed from the unclassified road between Britwell Salome and Cookley Green at SU 681922.  Species include Small Blue, Green Hairstreak, Dark Green Fritillary.

 

K.      Sydlings Copse (SP 557095)

A Wildlife Trust reserve 3½ miles northeast of Oxford.  An area of deciduous woodland with some heath.  No car park.  Access via bridleway that leaves the B4027 at SP 563102, between Stanton St John and Islip.  Species include Brown Hairstreak, Purple Hairstreak, Purple Emperor.

 

L.       The Warburg (SU 720880)

A Wildlife Trust reserve 4 miles northwest of Henley-on-Thames.  An area of deciduous woodland in the Chilterns with some small areas of chalk grassland.  Car park at SU 721879 off unclassified road from Bix Bottom.  Species include Grizzled Skipper, Green Hairstreak, Purple Hairstreak, Silver-washed Fritillary, Purple Emperor.

 

M.      Wytham Woods (SP 460085)

A large PRIVATE woodland complex 3 miles northwest of central Oxford owned by Oxford University.  Free PERMIT REQUIRED IN ADVANCE from the Conservator of Wytham Woods, valid for three years (go to www.wytham.ox.ac.uk/visiting.php for a permit application form).  Open 10am to dusk on weekdays and dawn to dusk at weekends.  Car parks at SP 486069 by Botley Lodge (close to the A34/A420 junction) and at SP 469086 half a mile west of Wytham village.  Species include Black, Brown & Green Hairstreak.

 

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