Skip to content

BLAKEHILL FARM

Blakehill Farm Nature Reserve

If you like o experience nature without the crowds then Blakehill Farm nature reserve could be just the place to visit . This former world War II RAF air force base south west of the small town of Cricklade is now owned and maintained by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. I have visited the site many times as the reserve is also home to the offices of the Oak and Furrow animal rescue charity.

This former military airfield is now being turning back into wildlife-rich hay meadow.  In World War II, Dakotas took off from here carrying troops and equipment to the battlefields of Europe. The old runways are long gone but they can still be traced by the changes in vegetation. Now the grassland is home to brown hare, roe deer, kestrel and skylarks. Living in the margins, hedgerows, ponds and damp ground are many wildlife species, including bullfinch, lapwing, grass snake and 14 species of dragonfly. Through the summer, adder’s-tongue fern, great burnet, oxeye daisies, lady’s bedstraw and bird’s-foot-trefoil flower in the grasses. Above the flowers fly small copper, brown hairstreak, common blue and marbled white butterflies. Birds

What can I see at Blakehill?

The grassland is home to brown hare, roe deer, kestrel and skylarks. Adder’s-tongue fern, great burnet, oxeye daisies, ladies bedstraw and bird’s-foot-trefoil flower in the grasses. Living in the hedgerows are bullfinch, lapwing, grass snake and 14 species of dragonfly.  Spiny restharrow and dyer’s greenweed are rare but survive here. Above the flowers fly small copper, brown hairstreak, common blue and marbled white butterflies. Birds include wheatears, whinchats, stonechats, partridge, barn owls and tawny owls. The hay in July after the skylarks have nested, then graze with cattle and sheep to control vigorous grasses. In some areas we are reseeding with local wildflower seed. The reserve is very flat and easy to navigate on the tarmac tracks.

Did you know?

In World War II Dakotas took off from here carrying troops and equipment to the battlefields of Europe. The old runways are long gone but they can still be traced by the changes in vegetation. Wiltshire Wildlife Trust are turning this former military airfield back into wildlife-rich hay meadow and pasture, habitats which have steeply declined in Wiltshire and the UK. On this one reserve alone meeting more than 45% of the government’s 10-year target for restoring hay meadow in England.

Directions

Cricklade SN6 6RA
What3Words: ///facing.weeps.exposing

OS map 169 grid ref: SU073923

  • Blakehill Farm is suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs
  • Dogs are not allowed
  • Total complex 263.69 hectares
  • Blakehill Farm 243.1 hectares

2 replies »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

All images © Wild by Photographic Solutions 2018

Archives

%d bloggers like this: