Know before you go
Parking informationPark in side road
Steep steps and narrow paths; some muddy areas
Not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitMay to August
About the reserve
The name 'The Plens' dates from the 19th century and probably means that the land at that time was flat and ordinary. However, quarrying and a railway line have produced a more varied topography and wildlife habitat. Remains of a railway track can still be seen along the bottom of the cutting, and near the entrance is a large concrete block which formed a loading bay.
The site has a range of different habitats at different stages of succession: grassland, tall herbs, hawthorn scrub, hedges and woodland. A lovely mix of plants grow on the site from the uncommon crimson-flowered grass vetchling to the very common hedge woundwort, with its strong-smelling leaves once used for healing. Grassland species such as knapweeds, vetches and trefoils provide nectar for the large number of insect species which breed here. Elusive orchids and moschatel have been found on the site and badgers, rabbits and voles all live in the undergrowth. Numerous birds use the site with warblers nesting in the scrub.