Clouts Wood - Wroughton SN4 9JS
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OS map 157 Grid ref: SU136800

When to visit

Free and open to visit 24 hours a day.

Know before you go

  • Not suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs
  • Dogs on leads are welcome
  • In winter wear wellies as the steep terrain is often muddy
  • Total complex 62.19 hectares
  • Clouts Wood 13.62 hectares

Download the reserve leaflet

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About the nature reserve

A walk through this Site of Special Scientific Interest takes you from stream-soaked valley floor, up steep slopes to level land at the top. You will find mossy gnarled boles, splendid spreading trees and abandoned water cress beds.

Clouts Wood is situated between Markham Banks nature reserve and King’s Farm Wood and Diocese Meadows. Combine a walk through all four areas to enjoy contrasting landscapes.

It is traditionally managed as coppice with some standard trees left to grow on. Most trees are 50 to 100 years old, although a few oaks are about 200. Records of coppice rights stretch back to the 1600s. Because of the wood’s great age, 29 ancient woodland indicator species grow among its wildflowers.

What can be seen here?

From late June see if you can find the tall yellowish spikes of the nationally scarce Bath asparagus, also known as the spiked star of Bethlehem. Other plants of note are green hellebore and wood vetch, the uncommon herb-Paris and delicate mauve meadow saffron. We leave some areas with a dense canopy for large old trees and to provide dead wood for fungi, beetles and hole-nesting bats and birds. In autumn look for shaggy parasol mushrooms, stump puffballs and velvet shank toadstool.

Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the green and great spotted woodpecker, treecreeper and chiffchaff - this bird sounds as though it is repeating its name. Blackcap and goldfinch like the coppiced areas and you may spot a roe deer.

Markham Banks - 23.36 hectares
Grid ref - SU136 800
Markham Banks is a downland combe with steep slopes - climb to the top for lovely views. Springs near the valley bottom merge into a stream that runs through the reserve from south to north. It is a hotspot for bumblebees and 10 species have been seen here, including buff-tailed and common carder. They come for the rich mix of chalk grassland wildflowers – chalk milkwort, kidney vetch, autumn gentian, spiny restharrow. Butterflies include brimstone, small skipper, painted lady, clouded yellow and gatekeeper. We acquired the land in 2008 and use Exmoor ponies and Herdwick sheep to graze down the scrub and coarse grasses which would otherwise crowd out the wildflowers.

Kings Farm Wood - 18.08 hectares
Grid ref - SU 143 878 0241
Kings Farm Wood links Clouts Wood and Markham Banks nature reserves to Diocese Meadows and the southern edge of Wroughton. This beautiful woodland is made up of native oak and ash, with hazel, cherry, crab apple, field maple, rowan, birch, willow and holly. Buzzards and red kite can be spotted soaring overhead and owls and small mammals make their home here. The wood is jointly owned with Swindon Borough Council. Its unique position, within walking distance of Wroughton makes it an ideal place for people to access nature on their doorstep.

Diocese Meadows - 7.13 hectares
Grid ref – SU 139800

Diocese Meadows are two fields that form a valley with a stream at the bottom that runs from Markham Banks and Clouts Wood. We lease the land from the Diocese of Bristol. It is known as glebe land – land that traditionally was put aside to support the local priest. We will restore the fields to wildflower-rich chalk grassland. To do this we will cut back hedgerows and install sheep-proof fencing around the perimeter before grazing it with livestock.

How can I get here?

Download directions for Clouts Wood


A lovely place to visit. Very picturesque and lots of interesting nature.

~ Peter from Swindon

I absolutely love this place! The walks through the woods are amazing and the atmosphere is unbelievable and so peaceful!

~ Kim from Wroughton