Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Harridge Woods Nature Reserve

The expansive wilderness of Harridge Woods provides a safe home for a huge variety of wildlife, including many threatened species such as hazel dormice. Somerset Wildlife Trust has won an award for its work to restore a tumble down cottage into a bat house which is now home to rare bats and can be seen whilst walking in the woods.

Download a nature trail and guide to Harridge Woods here.

Nearby Reserves

Kings Castle Wood
Draycott Sleights
Cockles Fields
Edford Meadows


What to See


Greater Horseshoe Bat


Lesser Horseshoe Bat


Water Vole



Harridge Woods nature reserve is home to Somerset Wildlife Trust’s award winning bat house. Restored from a tumble down cottage by volunteers and staff, Keeper’s Cottage is home to at least seven different bat species including the Lesser Horseshoe, Brown Long-eared, Natterers, Daubenton, Pipistrelle sp and Greater Horseshoe bats. A rare Barbastelle bat was also found using the cottage as refuge from freezing winter temperatures.

A rich variety of woodland birds can be spied amongst the trees including great spotted and green woodpecker, nuthatch and goldcrest. Song thrushes can be heard singing and sparrow hawk, kestrel, buzzard and raven nest in the woods. The Mells River and streams attract kingfisher, mallard, moorhen, grey heron, grey wagtail and dipper.

You may also catch a glimpse of water voles or otters travelling the Mells River that flows through the reserve. 


About Harridge Woods

Harridge Woods is mainly made up of semi-natural ancient woodland. This sort of woodland, where the soil is undisturbed, is the most valuable natural habitat supporting a huge range of wildlife, including more threatened species than any other UK habitat. 

It is made up of five sites and forms a large part of the Mells Valley Prime Biodiversity Area in Somerset.

Harridge Wood West and Limekiln Wood

This is a semi-natural ancient woodland that was mostly cleared and planted with conifers and poplars during the 1950/60s. Broadleaved woodland survives along the streams, at the margins, and in isolated patches.

Harridge Wood East

The majority of Harridge Wood East had for some time, little or no tree cover whilst being mined for coal. It was planted with conifers in 1966 but these were poorly maintained and the majority of trees have not grown well allowing some semi-natural trees to survive and regenerate.

Home Wood

Home Wood is semi-natural ancient woodland, primarily ash, with occasional English oak and an under-storey of hazel, field maple, hawthorn and blackthorn. This shady, humid limestone woodland is important for moss.

Edford Wood South

Edford Wood South is also semi-natural ancient woodland rich with spring flowers. Rare trees include wych elm and mountain ash and there are several large English oaks, probably more than 200 years old. It is a valuable Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI.)

136 acres (55.1 ha.)

Health & Safety: Possible falling rocks from outcrops; some steep, slippery sections of path; watch out for site management activities.


Location & Access


Download a map of Harridge Woods (PDF Size: 77kb)


Please do take care when visiting Harridge Woods - here are some things to be aware of.


Public footpaths pass through all of the separate woods except Edford Wood South. All are well used except Harridge Woods East and the circular ride in Harridge Woods West is popular.


Open access at ST 648 484, all year round.

How to get there

By road:

The reserve is east of the A367, around three miles north-east of Shepton Mallet in Somerset.

Coaches and Minibuses for school parties are advised to drop passengers at the nature reserve entrance on the A367.

By bicycle:

The nearest National Cycle Network route is in Midsomer Norton and Radstock, five miles to the north of Harridge Woods.

Grid Reference: ST 652 480.


Events Nearby

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