Calne SN11 8RU
What3Words: ///belt.joked.plank
OS map 157 Grid ref: SU012728

When to visit

Free and open to visit 24 hours a day.

Know before you go

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

Download the reserve leaflet

Join our volunteering group

About the nature reserve

Penn Wood reserve map © WWT

This nature reserve has seen many transformations in its history since it was farmland. It was bought by The Hills Group in the 1930s to be worked as a sand quarry and then used as an inert landfill site (holding materials such as bricks and rubble) until the 1950s. Following this it was restored to pasture for grazing livestock. In June 2003 we worked with Hills Homes to relocate 500 slow worms from Newcroft Garden allotments to Penn Wood to make way for a development.

What can be seen here?

Hibernation mounds and heat traps were created for the slow worms, along with two ponds for frogs and toads - this area is now well established. Grass snakes and southern marsh and common spotted orchids are also regularly seen.

In 2010 we supported The Hills Group and local people in planting some of the 10,000 young blackthorn, oak, ash, lime, black poplar, downy birch and a few Norway spruce and Scots pine trees that make up the wood. Scattered between the saplings are poles where kestrel, buzzard and owls can perch and some of them have bat boxes attached. Roe deer and badgers already use the site. Look up to see skylarks, lapwings and red kite.

At the entrance a wildflower meadow has been planted and will be cut annually for hay. This area will be monitored and further flower plugs will be planted if needed. A fishing club uses the private lake.

How can I get here?

Download directions 


A hidden gem with really easy access to great walks that can be as short or as long as you want to make them.

~ Tom from Chippenham