Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Draycott Sleights Nature Reserve

Photographers and serious naturalists alike love Draycott Sleights for the rich variety of wildlife and spectacular panoramic views across the Somerset Levels as far as Dorset, Exmoor and South Wales.

Download a guide to Dracott Sleights here.

Nearby Reserves

Cheddar Complex
King's Castle Wood



What to See


Lesser Horseshoe Bat


Brown Hare




Horseshoe Vetch

The Draycott Sleights reserve is particularly renowned for the blue butterflies which are typical of this sort of limestone downland. The Chalkhill blue is best seen in July and small blue in June.

Skylark and meadow pipit are the most commonly seen summer birds, in the open grassland, while flocks of linnet and goldfinches can be seen in autumn and winter.

Hobby, peregrine, sparrowhawk, kestrel and merlin hunt over the reserve which is also home to little and tawny owls.

Beautiful bee orchids, so called because of their resemblance to bees, are amongst the stunning array of flora and fauna to enjoy at Draycott in spring and summer, including pale flax, spring cinquefoil, autumn gentian and dwarf thistle.

Adders and the occasional slow worm can be found basking on the slopes in summer. The distinctive summer sounds of crickets can be heard and grasshoppers are plentiful and include the nationally scarce rufous grasshopper.

Both lesser and greater horseshoe bats may be seen hunting at dusk along with badgers. Boxing brown hares can be seen in spring as the usually shy animals burst into the open.



High on Somerset's Mendip scarp, just over two miles south east of Cheddar, this nature reserve is made up of Draycott Sleights and House Grounds.

At Draycott Sleights 200 species of flora have been recorded, including more than 40 notable species. As well as the grasslands rich in wild flowers, Draycott Sleights also feature some small areas of woodland and scrub.

At Draycott House Grounds more than 100 species have been recorded including at least 11 notables, such as bee orchid, kidney vetch, silvery hair-grass, small scabious and the nationally notable dwarf mouse-ear.

124 acres (50.1 ha)

Health & Safety: Unprotected drops from steep, rocky outcrops; watch out for site management activities.


Location & Access


Download a map of Draycott Sleights

Access and facilities:

The Draycott Sleights nature reserve is open access and a bridleway runs through the reserve. The West Mendip way public footpath and bridleways cross on Draycott house ground reserve.


Open access to the public, all year round.

How to get there:

By road:

From Draycott, take the minor road leading north east out of the village.

This Somerset reserve is just over half a mile away, on either side of the road. Please park considerately as agricultural machinery needs to pass on the narrow road.

By bicycle:

There is a cycle route in Rodney Stoke (avoiding the busy A371) but the nearest National Cycle Network route is on the Mendip plateau, two miles to the east of the nature reserve.

Grid Reference: ST 485 505.


Events Nearby

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