Salisbury SP5 4NA
What3Words: ///truly.appealing.fortunate
OS map 130 Grid ref: SU11 1248

When to visit

Free and open to visit 24 hours a day.

Know before you go

  • Not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs
  • RADAR keys can be used on kissing gates for mobility scooters.
  • Dogs on leads are welcome
  • 70.6 hectares

Download the reserve leaflet

Download our visual pre-arrival guide

Download the large print leaflet

Download the easy read leaflet

Join our volunteering group

About the nature reserve

Visitors can come to Coombe Bissett Down to enjoy sweeping views and the floristic richness of lowland calcareous grassland. To protect the wildlife that lives there, particularly ground-nesting birds, we ask that dogs are kept on leads and that any waste is cleared up. Here are the different routes – of varying difficulties – that can be followed around the nature reserve:

Map of walking trails

Download the project leafletfor more information on walking routes.

Download the tramper map for routes for mobility scooters.

What can be seen here?

Visit in late May and early June for a display of wildflowers, including delicate harebells, bee orchid, pyramidal orchid, devil’s-bit scabious and Wiltshire’s county flower - the burnt orchid. Yellowhammer, goldfinch, and skylarks are here. In the summer months the chalk downland comes alive with butterflies such as Adonis blue, chalkhill blue, dingy skipper and marbled white.

The history of this site goes back thousands of years: Neolithic Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Roman artefacts have all been uncovered in and around Coombe Bissett Down, and the steep slopes within the nature reserve are patterned by medieval terraces called strip lynchetts, which were used for livestock grazing. Today, our hardy Herdwick sheep and light-footed Dexter cattle maintain that low-intensity relationship between agriculture and wildlife, which is responsible for generating the rich diversity of plants, insects, and birds.

Photograph of sheep at coombe bissett down

Tell me more

Discover more about the project

How can I get here?

Download directions to Coombe Bissett Down


Lovely and quiet walk, went with friends. Small car park but managed to get a space.

~ Sarah from Bournemouth

Stunning views and a lovely place to start a walk.

~ Helen from Wilton