Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Great Breach Wood Nature Reserve

Part of the Great Breach and Copley Woods SSSI, the reserve comprises extensive woodland, predominantly mature oak and ash, with a rich scrub understorey. The wood has been very heavily influenced by humans.

It was a 19th century oak plantation, some of which was subsequently clear-felled and replanted with conifers in the 1960s. An interesting ground flora more usually associated with ancient woodland sites has developed and over 600 species of fungi have been recorded. The extensive network of rides and glades supports good numbers of moths, butterflies, grasshoppers, bumblebees and other insects. The reserve is particularly know for the large numbers of Silverwashed Fritillary butterflies seen in the summer. Amongst the more common species of woodland bird that occur, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker have been known to breed in the wood. Several species of bat have been recorded in the wood. Sightings of Roe deer are common.

Adventure through Great Breach Wood's Discovery Trail 

This newly created route, just under 2 km in length and clearly way-marked by Roe Deer hoof prints, will take you on a circular tour of Great Breach Wood. Seven information posts describe key features, habitats and some of the species that you are likely to find, and also features activities for younger walkers to complete for a Wildlife Watch Hedgehog Award. Keep a lookout in the trees for carved sculptures of some of the species that live in Great Breach Wood.  

For a bigger version of this map, please click on the image below: 



148.2 acres (60 ha.)

Access and facilities:

Great Breach Wood lies along the route of the Polden Way walking trail.

There is also an access point from the road at ST 506 324, then follow the track through Kings Wood to the reserve.

Health & Safety:


Open pedestrian access, all year round.

How to get there:

Park at Combe Hill Wood car park (road marked Reynald's Way on the OS map (ST 503 329), near Wickham's Cross, approximately 2km due east of Compton Dundon). Follow the Polden Way (blue butterfly waymarkers) due south (footpath to the left of the car park if you stand with your back to the entrance). After approximately 20 minutes walking you will emerge from the woods at the top of Gilling Down. Continue along the Polden Way to Great Breach Wood.

There is some limited roadside parking at the forestry gates on Reynald’s Way, just south of Wickham’s Cross (ST506324). Walk along forestry track, bearing left at junction to reach Great Breach Wood.

Grid Reference: ST 505 325