Somerset Wildlife Trust

Work For Us|


New Hill and
Tannager Nature Reserves

New Hill and Tannager is one of a series of Somerset Wildlife Trust reserves where you can explore the Polden Hills and enjoy views across Somerton Moor. A Roman road once ran along the ridge of the hills and remains from the Polden Hill Hoard are now in the British Museum.

New Hill and Tannager is within the East Poldens Large Blue Landscape Partnership area. The partnership works together to restore the East Poldens landscape, including re-establishing a viable large blue butterfly population that formerly went extinct in the UK in 1979. The partnership consists of Butterfly Conservation, J&F Clark Trust, Millfield School, National Trust, University of Oxford, Somerset Wildlife Trust and South Somerset District Council, with support from Natural England and Network Rail.

Nearby Reserves

Aller & Beer Woods
Catcott Complex


What to See




Green Woodpecker




Common Rock-rose

Listen out for the distinctive drumming of the green woodpecker, the chiffchaff sound from which the bird takes it name, and other warblers including blackcap and whitethroat. Sparrowhawks also breed in the woodland which is mostly areas of planted conifers and beech. 

Rock rose and greater butterfly orchids can be seen in areas improved by the restoration project and visitors can look forward to seeing more important flora and fauna flourish thanks to this work.

In the late summer listen out for the sounds of crickets and grasshoppers and keep your eyes peeled for the silver washed fritillary butterflies. Of the butterflies re-colonising the reserve, the large blue occurs in small numbers.



The Polden Hills in Somerset are a low narrow ridge of Blue Lias stretching from Puriton, near Bridgwater, in the west, to Street, in the east. Immediately to the north of New Hill and Tannager is our Gilling Down reserve, Great Breach Wood reserve is immediately to the east and Dundon Beacon reserve half a mile to the west.

Large areas of New Hill and Tannager that were planted with conifers and beech in the 1950s have been felled as part of the East Polden’s Downland Restoration Project in the mid 1990s.

Extensive areas of woodland remain, with a large area in the eastern half of New Hill, and along sections of the lower western margins of both New Hill and Tannager.

New Hill and Tannager comprises two blocks of former limestone downland and woodland on the western escarpment of the Polden Hills.

52.6 acres (21.3 ha.)

Health & Safety: Some steep, slippery sections of path; watch our for site management activities.


Location & Access


Download a map of New Hill and Tannager (PDF Size: 624kb)


Parking is difficult and access is best on foot from Great Breach Wood (ST 507 325)

Alternatively, park at Combe Hill Wood car park (Grid reference ST503329, co-ordinates 51.093088, -2.709066) and 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 and Tannager.


Open access, all year round.

Grid Reference: ST 498 317


Events Nearby

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