Coombe Bissett Down nature reserve is a 70.6 hectares chalk downland valley south west of Salisbury. It’s a large haven for wildlife protected by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, thanks to National Lottery players through a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). This site is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because of the rare flora and fauna found here.
From May to September there are wildflowers to be found, from cowslip and harebells to kidney vetch and Devils-bit scabious. These attract lots of butterflies including adonis blue and dingy skipper. Yellowhammer, skylarks and whitethroat can be heard singing from scrub or overhead and kestrels hover over small mammals below.
People have also had a close relationship with this site for many years. There have been artefacts from the Neolithic Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman period on Coombe and the surrounding downs. Steep slopes on the site are patterned by medieval terraces called strip lynchetts which were used for grazing. We have a flock of hardy Herdwick sheep and light footed Dexter cattle that crop the grass, maintaining the chalk downland habitat.
Visitors can come here to enjoy the sweeping views, bask in the beauty of nature and the sound of birdsong. To keep our birds happily singing we ask that dogs are kept on leads and any waste is cleared up. There are many lovely walks of varying difficulty around the site.
With the new HLF supported project visitors have now got the opportunity to get more involved with the nature they come here to enjoy, this can be through surveying, our training and event days or volunteering in a number of roles. This large site couldn’t be maintained without a wonderful team of volunteers, please take a look at our volunteering page for more opportunities.
Picture: Cowslips (C) Barry Craske
A moderate walk across the reserves steep slopes exploring the wildlife, restoration conservation and history of this important site. Look for tracks and signs of autumn life, spot birds coming in for winter and see the exciting new work taking place. Booking Essential. Read more
Gemma is a Salisbury artist who will lead us for a day of lino printing inspired by the reserve. You can create your own unique lino prints from sketches or objects for framing or making into cards. Read more
Have a hunt around the reserve looking for birds, play our migration game and head back to our field station to make pine cone bird feeders.Read more
Get hands on at your local nature reserve, improving the site for all wildlife by planting a variety of trees to create a robust hedgerow. Read more
This is a drop-in Christmas craft day at Coombe Bissett and Homington Village Hall. Swing by from 11am to make some seasonal items including mini willow wreaths, winter wands and other natural crafts. All ages welcome. Read more