Know before you go
Parking informationSpace for around 30 cars
Bicycle parkingNot currently, but cyclists are very welcome
Grazing animalsIn the autumn on the meadows near the car park are dairy cows, typically friesians and fleckviehs.
There are a three way-marked walks with narrow paths,. Please note that all the walks include stiles and kissing gates.
Lower Woods can be very wet at certain times of the year so please be aware that paths and steps can be muddy and slippery. The nature reserve has a few inclines. Paths are narrow and can be uneven. Some of the flatter paths close to the car park are accessible for all-terrain wheelchairs and pushchairs in the drier months of summer and early autumn.
There are six benches around the site.
When to visit
Opening timesThis nature reserve is open seven days a week and on every day of the year.
Best time to visitAll year round
About the reserve
Lower Woods is one of the largest ancient woodlands in the south-west of England and is perfect for people who like to explore and to get deep into nature. It comprises 23 separate woods whose boundaries have remained unchanged for several centuries and a stretch of the Little Avon river runs through the nature reserve.
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 ancient woodlands in the south-west of England. A visit to Lower Woods is to go back in time. It comprises 23 separate woods whose boundaries have remained unchanged for several centuries, with some areas reflecting the landscape during the Medieval era, around 500 years ago.
The individual woodlands and coppices (small areas of trees) are surrounded by ancient woodbanks and are separated by fingers of grazed common land and old grassy roads called 'trenches'.
The rich woodland flowers and plants here include carpets of bluebells in spring, early purple orchids, greater butterfly orchids and herb Paris. In the summer look for old meadow species including ragged-robin, common-spotted orchids, betony and devil’s-bit scabious. Butterflies include 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 car park.
How to get there:
Post code: GL9 1BY
Grid reference: ST 746 881
Lower Woods is quite difficult to find so please check directions very carefully.
The rough track into the woods is not owned by GWT and is in very poor repair with large potholes, please go dead slow or contact us about lift sharing. This site and subject is so fantastic we hope you will forgive the unavoidable difficulties with access due the unspoilt nature of the area.
From M5 J14 via Wickwar
1.Head south-east on B4509 towards Tortworth and Charfield - 1.9 mi
2.At the roundabout turn right onto B4058 - 0.4 mi
3.Take the first left onto B4509 and The Downs to Wickwar - 2 mi
4.At the traffic lights turn left onto Station Road 0.2 miles
5.Take right onto narrow Chase Lane, signed to Inglestone Common and Hawkesbury 1.7 miles
6.On Inglestone Common look for where two tracks form a crossroads with the road at Inglestone Farm and take the track opposite into Lower Woods 0.5 miles. Dead slow!
From A46 / Hawkesbury
6.Just south of the A46/A433 Dunkirk junction turn west signed to Hawksbury Upton and Hillesley.
7.Go through Hawkesbury Upton staying on France Ln / Sandpits Ln / High St - 1.6 miles
8.As you leave the village look for a very tall Monument ahead.
9.After Hawkesbury there is a slight left bend, the monument is on the right go down the single track lane on the left, opposite the monument - 0.6 mi
10.At the junction with the phone box, keep right over the cattle grid - 1.0 mi
11.On Inglestone Common look for where two tracks form a crossroads with the road at Inglestone Farm and take the track opposite into Lower Woods 0.5 miles. Dead slow!
Parking Capacity: Parking is available at Lower Woods Lodge, accessed down a track opposite the Inglestone Farm Holiday Cottages off from the Wickwar to Hawkesbury Upton road.