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Cooks Fields

The panoramic view of the Somerset levels from Glastonbury Tor to the Quantock hills is worth the trip to visit this reserve on its own.

Autumn Highlight: Wax-caps and parasol mushrooms.

Nearby Reserves

Lynchcombe

 

Wildlife

What to See

 

Grizzled Skipper 90

 

Wheatear

 

Autumn Ladies Tresses

 

Horseshoe Vetch

 

Cooks Fields reserve has a rich and diverse flora with over 170 species of flowering plant recorded on the site, including 20 Somerset notable species.

The steeper slopes, where soils are thin, contain species typical of limestone areas, such as Common rock rose, Salad Burnet and Wild Thyme. More unusual are species such as Dropwort and Horseshoe Vetch. To the north of the reserve are two hay meadows where you will find widespread Yellow rattle, Common Knapweed and occasional Adders Tongue Fern. Later in the year it is possible to see an abundance of the orchid, Autumn Ladies Tresses displayed across large areas of the reserve.

Skylarks and swallows are a common sight over the grasslands in summer and the occasional Peregrine Falcon can be spied high above the escarpment. The reserve is an important feeding habitat for the local populations of Greater & Lesser Horseshoe Bats, it is also one of the few sites in Somerset where you can see the Chalkhill Blue butterfly, which is on the wing in late summer.

About

About

 

 

Cooks Fields reserve extends across the mendip escarpment and onto the Mendip plateau above the village of Westbury sub Mendip. The reserve is rich in archaeological and geological features; the northern fields contain a fine example of a karstic basin which would have held a lake during the last ice age. The slopes of Cooks Fields still display strip lynchets which are associated with the medieval farm ruins at nearby Deer Leap.

The site is being managed to enhance the grassland & meadow habitats by a combination of grazing and hay cutting. Control of scrub encroachment and the restoration of dry-stone walls and dew-ponds help to further enhance the reserve for wildlife.

Health & Safety: Steep areas slippery in bad weather; access at top entrance is via stone style; watch out for site management activities.

Location

Location & Access

Map

Parking

There is no parking at Cooks Fields or Lynchcombe reserves. The nearest public car park is at Deer Leap viewpoint (ST518492) - pin pointed on the map above.

Lynchcombe reserve can be accessed from Deer Leap by following the bridleway south to Westbury Sub Mendip from the car park.

Cooks Fields reserve can be accessed from Deer Leap by following the permissive path west from the car park.

Wheelchair access 

There is no wheelchair access possible to Cooks Fields or Lynchcombe reserves.

Opening

The reserves are open access throughout the year. Dogs are welcome but please keep them under strict control as livestock are grazing the reserves for most of the year.

How to get there

By road ­ Deer Leap car park & viewpoint is on Pelting Drove south of the village of Priddy (ST518492).

By bicycle ­ A national cycle network route (No 3 ­ Land’s End to Bristol) runs along Pelting Drove.

Lynchcombe reserve can be accessed from Deer Leap by following the bridleway south to Westbury Sub Mendip from the car park.

Cooks Fields reserve can be accessed from Deer Leap by following the permissive path west from the car park

Events

Events Nearby

Click the following link for a full list of Somerset wildlife events