Hungerford SN8 3RG
What3Words: ///tickles.oasis.shame
OS map 158 Grid ref: SU333617

When to visit

Free and open to visit 24 hours a day.

Know before you go

  • Not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs
  • Please stay on the path. Do not climb the northwest-facing slope as this will damage wildflowers
  • 1.51 hectares

Download the reserve leaflet here

About the nature reserve

Ham Hill reserve map © WWT

Ham Hill is a tiny area of steeply sloping chalk downland strewn with wildflowers and offering great views. A path runs through it and a flight of steps leads to the top of the embankment and through the ash woodland. The reserve is part of a holloway (sunken track) dating back to Saxon or medieval times on the route from Hungerford to Andover. The banks are a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest for their rich variety of plants and wildlife.

The site is grazed with sheep by a local grazier. This controls the scrub that would otherwise crowd out the wildflowers. Volunteers help clear the scrub and coppice some of the trees.

What can be seen here?

In spring, cowslips, early purple orchids and violets provide food for the caterpillar of the Duke of Burgundy butterfly.

In July look for the tiny, yellow-green, powerfully scented musk orchid, a nationally scarce species that is found in very few sites in Wiltshire. You may also find a few burnt orchids. Twayblades, common spotted, fragrant and pyramidal orchids are scattered throughout the reserve. Birds such as chaffinch and yellowhammer nest in the bushes. Listen for the deep croak of roosting ravens. Look out for the rare Roman snail, Britain’s largest. Its spherical shell ranges from white to grey, has pale brown bands and grows up to 5cm across.

How can I get here?

Download directions