Brooklands Farm (DWT HQ)
Know before you go
Parking informationParking on site (upper car park locked outside of office hours)
Grazing animalsSheep grazing in late summer/ autumn.
Contact the Trust for access information.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times. Facilities open 9am-5pm weekdays only.
Best time to visitMarch to September
About the reserve
It’s amazing how much wildlife can be supported by one small hay-meadow site, as the reserve at our DWT Headquarters at Brooklands Farm proves.
A haven for wildflowers, beetles and butterflies, the restored hay-meadow is situated just to the left of the main farmhouse, which houses the main offices of DWT. The reserve can be found on the A352 road just as you enter Forston.
In the late 1990s a project was started to re-create species-rich grassland from the arable/ improved grassland that used to occupy the site. After cutting for hay, ploughing and seeding with a mix harvested nearby, the meadow was allowed to develop. Along with this a large pond was created, hedgerows and orchards planted and lynchets. Now this small nature reserve supports a host of plants and animals.
The meadow brims with wildflowers, with new species popping up every now and then and others, such as the green-winged orchid, spreading year on year. In mid-summer oxeye daisy, common knapweed, yellow rattle and bird's-foot-trefoil form a colourful backdrop with highlights of common spotted and southern marsh-orchids replacing the green-winged orchids of the early spring.
Twenty-three species of butterfly are now regularly seen on the nature reserve, including the uncommon, and aptly named, small blue; which breeds on the chalk lynchets excavated as part of the meadow restoration where the caterpillar foodplant (kidney vetch,) grows in a hot, sunny turf. Dragonflies, damselflies, great crested and palmate newts use the pond and surrounding scrub, while dunnock and yellowhammer are among the birds to make use of the developing hedgerows. Some of the wildlife even visits us in the office, with bank vole, yellow-necked mouse and grass snake among the species to have found their way in so far.