Know before you go
Parking informationLimited parking available opposite reserve entrance, do not park in gateway
Very steep slopes in parts, soft in patches
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitAll year round
About the reserve
One of the largest arenas of semi-natural limestone grassland in the county, this rural reserve forms a checkerboard of habitats with large areas of grass, scrub, woodland and ponds. Lying on a steep scarp slope Grove Hill is abundant with wild privet, dogwood and buckthorn, with dog-rose and traveller’s joy scrambling throughout.
Its heavy calcareous Jurassic and Triassic clays give rise to sticky soils, which yield a vast medley of flowers including cowslip, wild strawberry and common gromwell. Smaller plants include hairy violet, fairy flax and longstalked crane’s-bill. Beautiful common spotted-orchid, pyramidal and bee orchids flower here too. Insects flourish, particularly butterflies including grizzled skipper, brown argus, marbled white, small copper and the striking brimstone. Nationally scarce bees, flies and beetles have been recorded, along with the notable ruddy carpet moth.
One of the two ponds, excavated in 1996, sits towards the north end of the rough grassland and supports emperor and southern hawker dragonflies and the dazzling azure and common blue damselflies. Birds are equally diverse with woodpeckers, buzzard, sparrowhawk, tawny owl and woodcock. Summer visitors include turtle dove and many species of migrant warbler. Muntjac and roe deer are often seen foraging here if you tread quietly.