Nightingale Wood
Nightingale Wood photo

Covering an area of 128 acres, Nightingale Wood is a new recreational area, near to the village of South Marston and Roves Farm. It is managed by the Forestry Commission and forms part of the Great Western Community Forest - a patchwork of woodland areas lying between Wootton Bassett and Faringdon, encompassing an area of around 168 square miles.

With a wide variety of habitats, and trees including Ash, Beech, Hornbeam, Alder and Walnut, the area offers good opportunities for the birdwatcher. Birds such as Goldcrest, Yellowhammer, Linnet, Bullfinch, Willow Warbler and Whitethroat can all be seen there. The elusive Grasshopper Warbler may also be encountered, although it is often heard but not seen. The area is also good for Winter finches such as Redpoll and Siskin. If you're lucky you may get to see a Barn Owl in the early evening, quartering the rough grassland areas.

There is a bird hide overlooking Brook Meadow - an area of water meadow created many years ago when the South Marston brook was straightened and sluices were built. From the hide a feeding area is visible, attracting small birds such as Blue Tit. Snipe, and the rarer Jack Snipe, may also be seen feeding nearby. The course of the brook can be followed further downstream, whereupon it joins the River Cole. A small scrape, which attracts Grey Heron and occasional wader species, is located near to the course of the river, about 700 yards east of Roves Farm. Various dragonflies and other insect species are also attracted there during the summer months.

Nightingale Wood photo

On the northern side of the wood, near the farm buildings, is a small pond, where Moorhen and occasionaly Mallard can be seen.

Nightingale Wood photo

Access around the woodland is very good, with all the pathways being firmly constructed and there are several routes of varying distance. The road leading to Nightingale Wood is located opposite the Nightingale Hotel, on the minor road between South Marston and the A420.

Nightingale Wood photo
Nightingale Wood
Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.