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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.

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

If driving - from central Salisbury, drive north on A345 and turn left on to the Stratford Road. Continue past South Wilts Grammar School and through Stratford-sub-Castle. At junction at end of village do not turn left over the bridge but head straight on and then bear left towards Little Durnford at the next (almost immediate) junction. Continue on this road for about two miles and you will see car park on right. 

Please be aware that in a rural county postcodes often cover wide areas; some may point you to a reserve entrance, others may direct you to its centre and others may simply direct you to the reserve's vicinity. 

If hiking - take footpath from back of library, towards leisure centre, along the back of South Wilts Grammar School and allotments, to the road in Stratford-sub-Castle. Turn right along road for 100 metres, carry straight on up Portway to Old Sarum. Skirt Old Sarum, keeping it on your left, and stay on bridleway between fields towards minor road. Cross road and stay straight ahead for about one mile. Turn left where a footpath crosses the bridleway. Keep walking until you meet road. Turn right and follow road north for approximately 500 metres until you reach reserve entrance on right.

If using bus – Regular bus services to central Salisbury. Visit

If cycling – Visit

Nearby reservesLangford Lakes, Cockey Down, Nadder Island

What to see locally - Amesbury Abbey (4 miles), Stonehenge (5 miles), Parsonage Down National Nature Reserve (6 miles), Netheravon Dovecote (8 miles)

 The Devenish location map © WWT
(Photo: The Devenish © Owain Shaw)