Swindon SN5 8ZQ
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OS map 169 Grid ref: SU136835

When to visit

Free and open to visit 24 hours a day.

Know before you go

  • Suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs on boardwalks only
  • Keep feet dry by sticking to boardwalks
  • Dogs on leads are welcome
  • Footpaths and cycle tracks link reserve with Swindon
  • 1.04 hectares

Please note: The boardwalk at Rushey Platt is currently closed due to health and safety reasons.

Download the reserve leaflet

About the nature reserve

Rushey Platt reserve map © WWT

Rushey Platt is a welcome wild space in busy Swindon where you can enjoy a quiet walk. Boardwalks give good access to all parts of the reserve. It is a remnant of the lush wetland marsh that used to cover much of south Swindon before land drainage made this type of habitat uncommon in Wiltshire. We leased the site from Swindon Borough Council in 1999 and have been managing it ever since, carrying out hedgerow trimming, boardwalk maintenance and weeding. Now, sandwiched between the River Ray, Wilts and Berks Canal and the former Old Town railway line, it a vital area for wildlife. Be careful not to step on a handsome slow worm basking in the sun.

What can be seen here?

Wetland plants thrive in the rich peat soil, including marsh thistle, fragrant water mint, poisonous bittersweet and greater bird's-foot trefoil. In the summer dragonflies like the broad-bodied chaser and the fearsome emperor prey on butterflies and other flying insects. See if you can tell them from the daintier blue-tailed damselfly and banded demoiselle. Reed bunting, common snipe and little grebe, along with other more common waterfowl, populate the area. Rustling in the scrub are great spotted woodpecker, jay, finches and crows.

You may hear the ‘plop’ of the water vole as it dives into the canal. This charismatic animal is slowly recovering from huge population falls since the middle of the 20th century. The common toad, common frog and smooth newt make use of the pond and at dusk bats come out to hunt their insect prey.

How can I get here?

Download directions