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Pegsdon Hills and Hoo Bit

Steep hills and tranquil valleys in the Chilterns, with magnificent views of the countryside

One of the jewels of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Pegsdon Hills’ steep chalk hills offer some of the best views in the county. In spring, moschatel, or town-hallclock, named after the arrangement of its flowers, can be found in the woodland, while dingy and grizzled skipper butterflies flutter around in the grassland.

With summer arrives the smell of fresh herbs like wild thyme, marjoram and wild basil. The melodious song of the skylark is heard around the reserve. After dark the eerie green luminescence of glow-worms emanates from the grassland and bats fly overhead. Hoo Bit, once a larch plantation, is now a flower-rich grazed meadow, surrounded by woodland. White helleborine flowers in large numbers beneath the dense shade of beech trees. In autumn, honeysuckle, black bryony and old-man’s-beard drape over trees and shrubs offering seeds and berries to hungry birds and small mammals. 

In winter, fallow deer skirt along the woodland edge, while flocks of birds feed on seeds in hedgerow and field. We coppice in the wood and fell trees to allow light to reach the woodland floor. 

The deep earthwork on the Bedfordshire/Hertfordshire county boundary was once a barrier to free passage, situated as it is near to the ancient route of the Icknield Way. Large, multi-stemmed beech trees now mark its presence. Strip lynchets, or cultivation terraces, are evidence of an ancient settlement and there is a series of small quarries indicating former small-scale mineral extraction. 

The grassland is grazed and we remove scrub to prevent succession. We have work parties for the North Chilterns Chalk nature reserves; check our website for details.  
 

 

The map below is for indication purposes only and does not show the Wildlife Trusts definitive land boundary.

Nearby nature reserves

Hexton Chalk Pit
1 miles - Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust
Barton Gravel Pit
1 miles - Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire
Oughtonhead
3 miles - Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2012. For indicative purposes does not show exact boundaries.

Reserve information

Location
South of Barton Road (B655)
Pegsdon
Bedfordshire.
SG5 3GS
Map reference
TL 120 295
Great for...
a family day out
butterflies
spring flowers
stunning views
wildflowers
Best time to visit
Apr - Jun
Jul - Sep
Oct - Mar
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
Size
79.00 hectares
Status
Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB)
Living Landscape schemes
North Chilterns Chalk
Access
Yes

Tracks and paths across the grassland can be steep and uneven.
Walking information
Tracks and paths across the grassland can be steep and uneven
Parking
Park thoughtfully in back road in Pegsdon village
Dogs
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Grazed with sheep and cattle
Reserve manager
Tel: 01234 364213
bedfordshire@wildlifebcn.org