A sheltered herb-rich meadow with a tree-lined stream. The reserve adjoins Alice Holt Forest, famous for its oak trees which once supplied timber for navy ships.
The site is an interesting wet meadow on a sheltered west facing woodland edge.
The meadow is probably medieval in origin and lies mainly on Gault clay, though with an area of dry slightly acidic soil provides variation in the vegetation.
It is managed by grazing with cattle and careful scrub control - ensuring enough remains to sustain the species relying on it. In addition to the main meadow, the reserve includes a stand of oak trees.
The reserve borders Alice Holt Forest - a large Ancient Semi-natural Woodland managed by Forest Enterprise. This important forest means that many woodland species can be seen on the reserve, which has been owned by Butterfly Conservation since 1992. The reserve is within a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) notified for the grassland and woodland habitats.
The reserve lies 100m south-east of Bentley Station car park:
- Turn off the A31 Guildford-Alton road at Bentley village for Bentley Railway Station
- The reserve entrance is a short distance along the footpath leading east from the station
- The station has two platforms linked by a footbridge and there is also a pedestrian level crossing
- Car parking (charged) is available at the station
- Parking in Station Road is very limited, with double yellow lines near the station and a yellow-line parking restriction on small stretches until 10 am
Trains from London Waterloo to Alton call at Bentley Station. A Sunday service is available.
Site access and safety
The closest access is from the station, but the reserve is also within walking distance from the Forestry Commission carparks in Alice Holt to the east (Gravel Hill). A public footpath crosses the reserve north to south and this also provides an entrance at the southern end on Blacknest Road. However, there is no suitable parking on that road, nor on the private drive that the public footpath uses in part. The entrances have kissing gates.
Most ticks are little more than an irritation, but a few can transmit Lyme disease, a rare and potentially serious illness which is treatable with antibiotics if diagnosed early. It is therefore important to be informed and take some simple precautions.
Steve Wheatley, Regional Conservation Manager
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