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Ryton Wood

One of the country's largest surviving semi-natural ancient woodland

History of Ryton Wood

Although part of Ryton Wood was lost to sand and gravel extraction in the 1960s, the wood has been returned to its present excellence though traditional management practices, and is one of the county's largest surviving semi-natural ancient woodlands.


Ryton Wood covers 85 hectares, has been designated as an SSSI and boasts an extensive list of notable species.


Parts of Ryton Wood date back to the 11th century, so the land may have been wooded since the end of last ice age. Finding coppiced, small-leaved lime stools is evidence to support this. Once the most common tree 5,000 years ago, the species is no longer so common. Huge ditches also indicate the wood’s ancient, medieval boundaries.


Forty or so species of tree and shrub have been identified, with oak the dominant tree. An abundance of honeysuckle, our county flower, scrambles through the lower-growing hazel - enjoy its sweet perfume on summer days.


What's it like to visit? 

In Spring primrose, wood anemone and yellow pimpernel carpet the woodland floor. The rides though the wood are grassy and bright, bringing extra light for plants such as barren strawberry and common spotted orchidBroad-leaved helleborine grows well at the dappled edges of the rides. In the large, clear glades there are fabulous bluebell displays. 


For bug-lovers there is plenty of variety to be found in the wood plus its one of the best sites for butterflies in Warwickshire. Species to be seen include white admiral, purple hairstreak and silver-washed fritillary. Regular recordings of moths have recognised an impressive 570 species, of which four are nationally scarce. 


Nearby nature reserves

Bubbenhall Wood and Meadow
1 miles - Warwickshire Wildlife Trust
Old Nun Wood
1 miles - Warwickshire Wildlife Trust
Wappenbury Wood
1 miles - Warwickshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

1.5km south of Ryton on Dunsmore
Map reference
SP 386 728
Great for...
ancient trees
spring flowers
Best time to visit
Jan - Dec
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Opening Times
Open at all times
84.80 hectares

Various paths around the reserve, muddy in places. Visitors are advised to keep to waymarked tracks to avoid getting lost.
Walking information
Visitors are asked to keep to waymarked walks to avoid becoming lost. Relatively flat, some wet and muddy stretches
Members' car park through the padlocked gate on track off A423 Oxford Road or Ryton Country Park off Leamington Road
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Karl Curtis
Tel: 02476 302912 from reserve pages