Once a military base, this vast expanse of grassland reverberated to the drone of Dakotas taking off to fight in the battlefields of World War II Europe.
Important Notice - Please be aware that, due to the bad weather we have experienced throughout the winter and later months, construction of the entrance car park, main track and drive at Blakehill Nature Reserve will be on-going over the next 2 months. At some point during this period the site will need to be closed to all traffic for a period of one week. Plant and machinery will be operating inside the entrance gates and a number of heavy lorries will be delivering supplies. The access drive will remain open for farm traffic on most days, but there will be times that vehicle access for the public may be restricted. We apologise for any inconvenience.
Today Blakehill is the largest of our 40 nature reserves and is also one of the UK’s biggest grassland restoration projects. This 240-hectare site is a massive refuge for wildlife, including Roe deer, skylarks and kestrels, and is also one of the biggest expanses of neutral grassland (or hay meadow) in the UK. Once commonplace, today almost all of our hay meadows are gone due to the post-war intensification of farming.
We bought Blakehill in 2000 and we’re now carefully managing it with the goal of restoring the entire site to wildflower-rich status within 15-20 years. Blakehill’s restoration means that we have met 45% of the government’s ten-year target for restoring hay meadows across the entire county- in one stroke!
Blakehill is a slice of living history, not just in terms of the role it played during war, but also because it offers us a rare insight into something that was once an everyday part of the farmed landscape.
Find out more about Blakehill's wildlife or find out how we manage the reserve
Visit Rob Griffiths' website for records of the latest wildlife sightings at Blakehill