More than 1,300 species have been recorded at Crickley Hill, from rare birds, butterflies and wild flowers to reptiles and toadstools. It has gained national recognition for its wildlife, and has the status as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its rich diversity of wild flowers.
Ensuring that wildlife thrives here takes careful management and it costs Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust £5,000 each week to run Crickley Hill.
Know before you go
Parking informationParking charges apply. Space for 70 cars.
Bicycle parkingNot currently, but cyclists are very welcome
Grazing animalsBelted Galloway cattle
There is a Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust walking trail.
There are parking spaces for Blue Badge holders.
When to visit
Opening timesThere is a gate at the entrance to Crickley Hill which is locked to cars outside of these times:
January Open from 6am till 6pm
February Open from 6am till 6pm
March Open from 6am until 7pm
April Open from 6am until 9.30pm
May Open from 6am until 9.30pm
June Open from 6am until 9.30pm
July Open from 6am until 9.30pm
August Open from 6am until 9.30pm
September Open from 6am until 9.30pm
October Open from 6am until 7pm
November Open from 6am till 6pm
December Open from 6am till 6pm
The cafe is open:
April to September 8am - 6pm
October to March 8am - 5pm
Best time to visitAll year
About the reserve
Of note are yellow worts, carline thistles (an unusual plant that sparkles silver and gold in the sunshine), autumn gentians, clustered bellflowers, viper's-bugloss (this looks beautiful with its dark blue flowers but beware of its spiky, hairy stems).
The orchids here include musk orchids and bee orchids (pictured right), as well as common spotted orchids (the most common of all UK orchids, with flowers ranging from white and pale pink through to purple, and the green leaves covered in purplish spots).
There are over 30 different species of butterflies recorded at Crickley Hill. In the spring and summer, look out for large skipper (pictured left) butterflies, and the beautiful chalk hill blue butterfly which feeds on knapweed and scabious and whose caterpillars need red ants to survive.
Among the birds seen and heard here are red kites, buzzards, kestrels, cuckoos, chiffchaffs, green woodpeckers and great spotted woodpeckers (listen as they drum at the trees to find insects and larvae).
How to get there:
Post code: GL4 8JY (post code will take you the Air Balloon roundabout)
Grid reference: SO 92927 16251
Crickley Hill is situated east of Gloucester close to the Air Balloon roundabout on the A417. At the Air Balloon Roundabout take the A436 north towards Stow-on-the-Wold, then immediately turn left towards Leckhampton. The entrance to Crickley Hill is 100m on the left after this turn. Cross the cattle grid and follow the entrance up the hill to the Pay and Display car park.
Driving South-West from Leckhampton on Leckhampton Hill road, drive past signs for the Star college, 0.6 miles further on, follow signs to 'Crickley Hill Country Park'.
If coming from Stow-on-the-Wold turn right just before the roundabout. The entrance to Crickley Hill is on the left.
Parking Capacity: 50