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Lower Woods

Lower Woods is one of the largest ancient woodlands in the south-west of England and covers three square kilometres. The reserve has 23 woods and coppices whose boundaries have remained unchanged for several centuries.

At almost 300 hectares (700 acres), Lower Woods is the largest Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust nature reserve and is jointly managed with Avon Wildlife Trust. It is one of the largest woodlands in the Gloucestershire county. A visit to Lower Woods is to go back in time to what is still a Mediaeval landscape of individual woodlands and coppices surrounded by ancient woodbanks and separated by fingers of grazed Common land and old grassy roads called 'trenches'.

The woods arise in the damp clay soils of the Vale of Berkeley and are made up of many distinct woodlands as well as grassland areas. The rich woodland flora includes carpets of bluebells in spring, with early purple and greater butterfly orchids and herb paris. In summer look for old meadow species including ragged-robin, common-spotted orchids, betony and devils-bit scabious and butterflies like white admiral and silver washed fritillary. The best places for birds are around the edges of the woods, especially in scrub or in the recently coppiced areas around the Lodge


Species and habitats

White Admiral, Silver-washed Fritillary, Ragged-Robin

Nearby nature reserves

2 miles - Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust
Midger Wood
3 miles - Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust
Old London Road
4 miles - Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

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Reserve information

between Wickwar and Hawkesbury Upton off Inglestone Common.
Map reference
ST 746 881
Great for...
a family day out
ancient trees
getting away from it all
historical interest
lichens and mosses
overwintering birds
spring flowers
spring migrant birds
Best time to visit
Jan - Dec
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Opening Times
Open at all times
272.20 hectares

Public and permissive footpaths. Paths and steps can be muddy and slippery when wet. Access is slightly uphill, paths can be uneven. Contact the Trust for disabled access information
Walking information
Paths and steps can be muddy and slippery when wet. Access is slightly up hill, paths can be uneven. There are a number of way-marked walks available with varying degrees of accessibility, but all with some physical barriers. Paths are narrow and with steep cross gradients in some places. Some of the flatter paths around Lower Woods Lodge are accessible for all terrain wheelchairs and pushchairs in the drier months of summer and early autumn.
Most visitors park at Lower Woods Lodge accessed down a track opposite the Inglestone Farm Holiday Cottages off from the Wickwar to Hawkesbury Upton road. Informal parking for around 12 vehicles adjacent to Lower Woods Lodge . No designated parking bays.
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and Avon Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01452 383333