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Swindon SN5 8ZQ
OS map 169 Grid ref: SU136835

  • 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


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. 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.

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.

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.

 Broad bodied chaser © Steve Day Slow worm © Amy Lewis Jay © Ian Rose Water mint © Rob Large

Directions

If driving - From Swindon town centre take the A3102 Royal Wootton Bassett Road towards Mannington roundabout on Great Western Way. Before you reach railway bridge and roundabout, turn left onto Redposts Drive, signposted Wichelstowe and Rushey Platt Industrial Estate. Take first left onto Juno Way. Footpath leading to reserve is on right just after small bridge over stream. Follow this path for about 200 metres until you reach reserve.

If using bus –services 51, 52, 53, 55 or 49 stop at Swindon bus station - from there it a 35-minute walk. Or from bus station take 22/25 bus to Running Horse bus stop and then walk 200 metres west to the Redposts Drive junction. Then follow above instructions. Visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/parkingtransportandstreets

If cycling - National Cycle Route 45 connects to a local route when it is intercepted by canal. This leads to reserve. Visit www.sustrans.org.uk

Nearby reservesHagbourne Copse, Clouts Wood, Swindon Lagoons.

What to see locally – Lydiard Park and Mansion (2 miles), GWR Steam Museum (2 miles), Barbury Castle Country Park (5 miles)

Rushey Platt location map © WWT
(Photo: Rushey Platt © David Kjaer)