Wear appropriate clothing, gloves and boots/shoes

Other personal protective equipment is available depending on the tasks performed

Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided!

See Events page for additional details

Reserve Location

The reserve is situated to the west side of Holtspur Top Lane Beaconsfield and can be reached by going down the footpath B33 opposite Cherry Tree Road or by going along Riding Lane to the five barred gate on the left just before the right hand bend.

See map

Holtspur Bank is an area of chalk grassland and ancient woodland which was designated as a Local Nature Reserve in 1995.

The Reserve is owned by Beaconsfield Town Council, as is the other side of the valley which is leased to and managed by Butterfly Conservation.  It can be accessed at all times, though it is best if people keep to the paths and keep dogs under control.

We are very fortunate to have such a beautiful area on our doorstep as so much of this sort of countryside has been lost in the last fifty years. The reserve lies on the north eastern slope of the Beaconsfield gravel plateau and consists of chalk grassland at the eastern end and woodland to the west.  The two habitats are separated by an ancient woodland boundary bank.

In the woodland called ‘Cut Throat Wood’ the trees at the top of the slope on the gravelly soil are mainly oak with honeysuckle and bramble beneath.  Old coppiced hazels and whitebeam grow on the chalk lower slopes and many interesting members of the orchid family can be  found among the trees during the spring and summer. 

You can download a copy of the Nature Reserve leaflet here

If you want further information about the Nature Reserve, please email us your query here .  We normally respond to emails within one week.

The Nature reserve is managed by the town council with support from our group 'The Friends of Holtspur Bank (LNR)' (LocalNature Reserve).

The Friends Group carry out conservation work such as path and scrub clearance, hazel coppicing, and raise funds for various projects on the reserve.  They also organise walks during the Spring, Summer and Autumn, which are lead by qualified guides and a regular newsletter is produced giving details of The Friends' activities and future events.  The Council hire contractors for necessary major work.

'The Friends of Holtspur Bank'

This local group consists of people of all ages who have a strong interest in conservation. Membership costs just £5 per year for the whole household. If you feel you cannot volunteer for work parties, don't be put off from joining as many of our members support us by their subscription alone and, for various reasons, don't get involved in any of the work on the Reserve.

To join, either email Pauline Knapp our Membership Secretary or call her on 07956 277674 and request an application form.  If you email Pauline, she will normally respond within a week.


Newsletter No. 76 March 2019

  News from the Reserve from Shirley 

We ended last year with our usual mulled wine party which was well attended by exhausted bonfire workers, but now, after an incredibly warm February, we are well into the spring season with one more work party in March and the cowslip count in April (see Events page for dates and further details)

I’m afraid that I haven’t been able to visit the Reserve for a while, but, given a few more weeks to recover from my hip operation, I should be able to visit it again soon. 

Over the winter of 2018/19 Chiltern Rangers held three sessions on Holtspur Bank LNR. Further work was carried out on the chalk grassland, mostly involving brush-cutting regenerating dogwood and thinning or reducing the islands of scrub. Preventing scrub encroachment is important on the site, but islands and marginal pockets are of considerable conservation value when managed as an integral part of this grassland environment. The management of areas of scrub on a rotational basis helps create a real mosaic of structure and habitats which are of great value to invertebrates and birds.

In February a large area was coppiced in a sizeable ‘coup’ in the woodland, part of a 10 year plan for Cut Throat Wood. As well as bringing this area into active management this work creates an improved habitat. Removing some of the canopy through coppicing leads to increased levels of light and heat reaching the woodland floor. This provides greater opportunity for woodland flora to establish which, in turn, benefits butterflies and other woodland pollinators.  As the coup becomes older it becomes a denser area of cover which is a valuable resource for nesting birds.

On 6th January Friends volunteers concentrated on brush-cutting with raking and burning of cuttings. On 27th January, volunteers cleared and burnt the arisings from the recent coppicing by Chiltern Rangers, undertook a fence survey and cleared undergrowth to re-establish a short alternative path in the far top corner of the chalk bank. On 24th February, the majority of the time was taken up clearing scrub and saplings from both sides of the fence line in the area above the Riding Lane entrance field and the arisings were moved to a bonfire site. The paths in Cut Throat Wood were walked and any fallen trees across paths removed.

A puzzle for you. To the left is a photograph of a branch from the wood - one of many found on the ground. What do you think made the marks on it? Suggestions so far are:

a) deer

b) squirrels

c) a chain saw slipping

Chiltern Rangers has successfully applied to Bucks County Council (BCC) for funding for work on the Reserve. £10.000 is available to be shared between three separate projects in Beaconsfield. The first place project will get £5,000 with the others getting £2,500. Selection will be via ‘Beaconsfield Decides’, a public vote being run by BCC Communities Team. This will be promoted at The Beaconsfield Society’s ‘Beaconsfield Now’ event at the Rugby Club on May 11th 2019 where the Friends will have a stand.


Please check the Events page on this website for details of upcoming Work Parties and guided walks in 2019

Subpages (1): History