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. 

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, Summmer and Autumn, which are lead by qualified guides and produce a regular newsletter giving details of their 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 £4 per year for the whole household. If you feel you could not volunteer for work parties, don't be put off from joining. Many of our members support us by their subscription alone, and for various reasons don't get involved in any of the work.



December 2017

From Shirley

On the 23rd September we welcomed Joe Hope’s sheep back onto the reserve, where we expected all 33 of them to do a wonderful job grazing down the grass and attacking the dogwood on the chalk bank. They were with us for nearly 7 weeks, and after doing their work, they departed on the 10th November.
Once again we have been fortunate to have walks led by experts to show people the flora and fauna on the reserve.

On 1st October Penny Cullington took a party of 13, which included 2 youngsters, round the reserve on our annual fungus foray. Penny started off by telling us that she was not going to be able to spot everything herself, and encouraged us to roam around ourselves and draw her attention to anything we found.  It was a dry but dull day which meant that once we were in the dimness of ‘Cut Throat Wood’ they were more difficult to spot. More than 40 fungi were seen and examined by Penny but no new ones discovered for the area this time, however there were 11 new for the reserve.

Derek Bourne took a group around on 8th October and his account is below.

The walk was blessed with a beautiful sunny afternoon for the 10 people who attended. On the chalk bank the shrubs were beginning to colour up with the yellows of the field maple, the orange and reds of the wayfaring tree, guelder rose and spindle and the deep purple of the dogwood. Most of the grassland flowers were only to be seen at the seed stage. Detailed examination of the individual seeds gave an insight into the many methods of seed dispersal.

In the woodland area the red berries of holly and honeysuckle were noted. In one of the glades that had been coppiced the seed heads of the narrow lipped helleborine were still visible while the seeds of the white helleborine were discovered at a new site nearby.
On returning to the chalk bank more hawthorn, guelder rose, dogwood, spindle and buckthorn berries were seen while the large red berries of the climbing black bryony showed up in the sunshine. Plenty of ivy was in flower with quite a few insects taking advantage of this late source of food.       A pleasant afternoon was rounded off by the sight a comma butterfly flitting between the ivy stands.

The AGM was held on 8th November in Beaconsfield Town hall and was well attended.
 As usual Les Davies our chairman showed his skill of being able to conduct us through all the items on the agenda in a very short time.

This was followed by a very interesting talk by John Tyler on the ‘Changing Wild Life of the Chilterns’. He started off one hundred million years ago by explaining how the chalk of the Chilterns was deposited particle by particle at the bottom of the sea, and went on skilfully to condense the time from then to the present, in one hour. He came a few years ago to talk about the glow-worm, so we knew the talk would be entertaining as well as informative, and we were not disappointed.

Work parties are finished now for 2017.

As usual however the first one on 7th.  January 2018 will be followed by our usual mulled wine party at my house -  we do hope to see you there!


Work Parties in 2018 - meet at the Riding Lane entrance at 10:00 am.


The work to be carried out at Friends work parties will be decided according to requirements

and in conjunction with work carried out for the Town Council by John Shaw and the Chiltern Rangers CIC.

To join the friends group call Ian Ridley our secretary on 01494 674944 and request an application form.

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