Fascinating woodland walk for all seasons
Come for a walk in Ravensroost Wood and you will find something to interest you whatever the month.
The reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is noted for its ancient woodland indicator species, vivid leaf colours and fungi in autumn, bird song in May and butterflies in July.
The wood is flanked by wildflower fields – to the east are Ravensroost and Avis Meadows, and to the north are Warbler and Distillery Meadows. Combine a walk around wood and meadows for a fabulously wildlife-rich experience.
Ravensroost Wood is one of the largest remnants of the medieval Royal Hunting Forest of Braydon. Its northern section is a fine example of ancient woodland habitat. This means it has been continuously wooded since at least 1600AD.
The south is secondary woodland and was almost completely cleared from the mid-1600s to make way for agriculture. You can still see the ripples of ancient ridge and furrow farming. It was replanted in the 19th century.
On your walk follow the 15-metre wide surfaced path, known as the Jack Smith ride, until you come to the Shooting Hut. This was built in the 1930s and is thought to be where auctions were held to sell coppiced wood.
At the end of the ride is the ‘Notts stone’ – named after the family who owned this land and commemorating the date in 1770 when the wood was ‘divided’ into compartments by establishing rides.
We bought the wood in 1987.
Lots of smaller rides criss-cross the wood but the ground is frequently waterlogged due to being on Oxford Clay, so it’s best to wear wellies if you are going to explore these.
Find out more about the wildlife at Ravensroost Wood or find out how we manage the reserve
Take a look at Simon Tucker's blog - he does a lot of bird ringing for the Wiltshire Ornithological Society and writes about what he finds at Ravensroost Wood and some of our other reserves in north Wiltshire.
Visit Rob Griffiths' website for records of the latest wildlife sightings at Ravensroost