Lower Woods nature reserve is one of the largest ancient woodlands in the south-west of England.
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