Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Thurlbear Wood Nature Reserve

At Thurlbear Wood you can enjoy walking the woodland paths dotted with colourful flowers, such as greater butterfly and spotted orchids, wild dog violets, bluebells and primroses.

The wood takes in part of the circular Neroche Herepath, which starts at Staple Hill on the top of Somerset's famous Blackdown Hills.

Nearby Reserves

Langford Heathfield


What to See


Brown Hare


Dormouse 90


Great Spotted Woodpecker


Wood Anemone

In spring and summer this ancient woodland reserve is home to a delightful variety of flowers that have developed over centuries.

As well as the striking orchids see wood anemone, sweet woodruff, stinking iris, goldilocks, wood speedwell and colourful carpets of primrose and bluebells which attract many butterflies.

Listen out for the distinctive drumming and call of the greater spotted woodpecker, the chiffchaff sound from which the bird takes it name, and the calls of nuthatchs and warblers amongst the trees.

The common shrew is a usually quiet, small mammal difficult to spot but in spring and summer you can hear the high pitched squealing of noisy family groups as they hunt for insects, worms and slugs with their long snouts. If you stand and quietly watch where the noise is coming from you may catch a glimpse of the shrews as the leaf litter seems to move by itself.

At dusk you may glance bats swooping along the rides and glades, including noctule, Daubenton’s and pipistrelle species.

Vulnerable dormice have a safe refuge on the reserve, along with brown hares and roe deer.

At the woodland edges you can take in views across Somerset's Quantock Hills.


About Thurlbear Wood

This beautiful nature reserve is mostly ancient woodland of oak and ash, with some hazel and field maple coppice. Open glades and rides running through the woodland help create the colourful variety of flowers that speckle the ground.

The reserve is part of the Thurlbear Wood and Quarrylands Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), on the limestone scarp and plateau, about four miles south-east of Taunton, Somerset.

The Trust’s reserve adjoins Forestry Commission land.

40 acres (16.2 ha.)

Health & Safety: Sections of path can be slippery in bad weather; watch out for site management activities.


Location & Access


Download a map of Thurlbear Wood (PDF Size: 46kb)

Please beware of the derelict lime kiln in the nature reserve - do not enter the fenced area.


Small area of parking by the entrance at ST 273 213. The reserve can also be accessed via the Forestry Commission’s land.

Coaches and Minibuses for school parties are advised to drop passengers at Church Farm in Thurlbear village and access the reserve via the bridleway.


Open access, all year round. A bridleway passes through the Commission’s conifer plantation but horses are not allowed beyond the track onto the Trust’s reserve. Walkers should beware as paths are undulating and often muddy in parts.

How to get there:

By road:

There are three main access points: a minor road off the A358 to the north of the reserve; from Church Farm in Thurlbear village, via the bridleway; and along the public footpath from Slough Green.

By bicycle:

A National Cycle Network route passes just north of the Thurlbear Wood nature reserve.

Grid Reference: ST 274 213.



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