Know before you go
Parking informationPark in the village of Butleigh and then on foot along Henley Lane to the public footpath at ST 524 331. Take this path across the fields to the reserve entrance at ST 526 329
Grazing animalsSheep in the autumn.
Narrow stone footbridge, kissing gate. Visitors are asked to keep to the edge of the hay fields to avoid disturbing the crops.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitApril to July
About the reserve
White Field is a small area of species-rich hay meadow remaining in an area that has largely seen a decline in wildlife due to agricultural intensification. There is also an area of damp reed fen at the north-eastern end and a small area planted with fruit trees. A small area of broadleaf woodland was also planted in the 1980s. The eastern side of the reserve is bordered by stream that runs north east to eventually join the close by river Brue.
The south eastern part of the field is the most flower-rich, with abundant Yellow-Rattle, Birds-foot Trefoil, Meadow Buttercup, Selfheal, Oxeye Daisy and Cowslips. There are often many flowering spikes of Pyramidal Orchid and occasional Bee Orchids. The most abundant grasses include Sweet Vernal Grass, Red Fescue as well as Crested Dogs-Tail, Cock’s-Foot and Yorkshire Fog.
In the damper parts of the meadow grow Greater Birds-foot Trefoil, Meadow Vetchling, Corky-fruited Water Dropwort, Hard Rush and Water Horsetail.
At the north-eastern end of the reserve is a small area of tall reed bed dominated by Common Reed, Hairy Willow-herb, Common Fleabane and Meadow Sweet.
On the eastern boundary is an area of mixed woodland which includes Oak, Ash, Alder, Goat Willow and shrubs such as Hazel, Guelder Rose, Wayfaring Tree and Wild Privet. Part of this woodland is managed by being coppiced. There is also a small orchard adjacent to this woodland.
In the summer Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs sing and nest in the hedges as do Song Thrushes and Goldfinches.
Marbled White, Meadow Brown and Ringlet butterflies are common across the grasslands. This is also a good site for grasshoppers.
The reserve was gifted to SWT in 2006 by permaculture teacher, designer and author Patrick Whitefield, who spent a period living on the meadow in a tipi, and is fondly remembered by the people of Butleigh.