Download the nature reserve leaflet

Join our volunteering group

Salisbury SP4 6AJ
OS map 130 Grid ref: SU128349

  • Not suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs
  • Dogs on leads are welcome
  • Within hiking distance from central Salisbury
  • 23.71 hectares


This reserve offers a wonderful mix of young woodland, mature beech woodland, chalk downland and meadow. The walk to the top of the steep chalk downland slope is worth the effort for the spectacular views of the Woodford Valley below. The Devenish is within hiking distance from central Salisbury and is close to Old Sarum.


What can be seen here?

Wildflowers reach their peak in early summer and include fragrant orchid, clustered bellflower, harebells and common rock rose, which are important food plants for butterflies. Look for the brown argus, green veined white, and small skipper. Songsters include garden warblers and blackcaps while buzzards wheel overhead. The large beech trees along the road are more than 200 years old. Once part of a beech walk in the landscaped grounds of Durnford Manor, these veteran trees are dying. However, deadwood is a valuable habitat for many invertebrates. One of the most spectacular here is the rhinoceros beetle.

On top of the reserve are some lovely old hornbeams, beeches, yew and hazel. The mixed woodland was planted about 40 years ago and there is a lot of secondary growth, such as ash. We are trying to extend the wildlife-rich wood pasture (trees interspersed with grass) by thinning out ash and larch trees. We also coppice the wood to create sunny areas for wildflowers. Sheep graze the reserve throughout the year, eating down the tougher grasses and ash saplings.

Rhinoceros beetle © G Gallice  Green veined white © Stephen Davis Blackcap © Amy Lewis Hornbeam © Rob Large


How can I get here?

Download directions