Nature Reserves

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Hackpen Hill, Wantage, OxfordshireStreet MapGoogle Map

Hackpen HIll, Wantage, Oxfordshire
Managed by:private tenant
OS grid reference:SU349 849
Nearest postcode:OX12 9XF
Usual work:ragwort pulling

Hackpen Hill lies 4 miles south-west of Wantage, Oxfordshire on the escarpment of the Lambourn Downs in the civil parish of Childrey. The site (also known as 'Crowhole Bottom' and, locally, as 'the Grockle' and 'Devils's Punchbowl') is relatively rare unimproved chalk downland, privately owned, and a nominated SSSI.

The site itself occupies the deeply infolded downland immediately to the south of Hackpen Hill, a few minutes walk northwards from the Ridgeway long distance foot-path. The open grassland area is largely unfenced and put to graze. There are extensive views over the surrounding rolling countryside and across the Vale of the White Horse to the north. Note that there is another 'Hackpen Hill' in Wiltshire, south-west of Swindon - do not confuse the two sites!

Flora and Fauna

The site is notable for its flora and its butterflies, of which eleven species have been recorded, including chalkhill blue, brown argus and marbled white.

Conservation Management

The private owner, a local farmer, is managing the site under the guidance of Natural England.


Leave Oxford on the A420 (The Botley Road). Turn left onto the A338 to Wantage. Drive through Wantage on the A338, then turn right onto the B4507. After approximately 2 miles, at the Childrey crossroads, turn left onto the B4001. Follow the B4001 to the right and uphill onto the crest of the downs where the road crosses the Ridgeway footpath. There is an informal car parking space at the junction of the road and the footpath.Continue on foot 200 metres eastwards on the Ridgeway footpath then turn left, i.e. north-east, onto a track that leads onto the site via a locked gate. Note that there is also access via a public footpath off the Ridgeway further to the east.