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Salisbury SP7 9AZ
OS map 118 Grid ref: ST896258

  • Not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs
  • Dogs on leads are welcome
  • 5.58 hectares

Oysters Coppice reserve map © WWT


Oysters Coppice nestles on a gentle slope offering spectacular views over the Vale of Wardour. A circular route leads you through areas of interest. Take a walk in late February and March to see the wild daffodils – a native plant whose numbers have tumbled since the 19th century. Woodland wildflowers make the reserve particularly beautiful during spring, including bluebells and moschatel, also known as the ‘town hall clock’ because of its unusual flower structure. From March to May you can smell the garlicky scent of the ramsoms, or wild garlic.

Rising springs create boggy areas, streams and a swampy pond in a southern corner of the reserve and invertebrates thrive in these damp areas. The trees reflect the ground conditions. Oak grows on the drier soils, ash on damper ones, and alder in wet areas. Ferns flourish on the lower, wetter slopes of the wood. Such variety is good for birds – bullfinch, song thrush and tawny owl. Walk to the pond where smooth newts and frogs thrive. Emperor and common darter dragonflies, and large red and common blue damselflies hunt above the water.

In the autumn and winter, nibbled hazel nuts on the woodland floor give away the presence of dormice. Well camouflaged woodcock probe for insects and worms in the leaf litter. Badgers have created an extensive sett. The woodland flowers flourish because volunteers have created sunny glades for them.

Tawny owl © Darin Smith Common darter © Steve Covey Lady fern © Rob Large Woodcock © Margaret Holland

Directions

If driving - On the A30 from Salisbury to Shaftesbury turn right to Donhead St Mary. Once in village, go past church and head for Semley. After one mile turn right, just before Fairview House (with postbox in wall). Park on verge at Gutch Common and entrance to reserve is a wooden gate located next to the ‘Woodside’ bungalow.

If using bus - bus route 247 travels from Shaftesbury to Tisbury and stops at Sem Hill in Semley. Visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/parkingtransportandstreets

If cycling - Visit www.sustrans.org.uk

Nearby reservesMiddleton Down

What to see locally - Larmer Tree Gardens (6 miles), Hambledon Hill Nature Reserve (7 miles), Fiddleford Manor (7 miles), Chettle House (8 miles)

Oysters Coppice location map

(Photo: Oysters Coppice © Valerie Headland)