RSPB
Newton Toney Wiltshire village image

Who are the RSPB?

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is Europe's largest wildlife conservation charity. It was first formed to counter the trade in plumes for women's hats. The organisation began life as the Society for the Protection of Birds, and was founded by Emily Williamson at her Manchester home in 1889. The RSPB now works to promote conservation and protection of birds and the wider environment through public awareness campaigns, petitions, and through the operation of nature reserves throughout the United Kingdom.

The RSPB is passionate about nature, and dedicated to saving it. Since the RSPB started on its mission in 1889, the threats to nature have continued to grow, but the Society has grown to meet them.

The RSPB at Newton Toney

The Society has its main chalk grassland nature reserve located at RSPB Winterbourne Downs, Newton Toney. The reserve is a 730-acre stretch of countryside and fields, east of Amesbury, Wiltshire, and the location address & map reference for the reserve are:

RSPB Winterbourne Downs, Newton Toney, Salisbury SP4 0HA. Grid reference - SU214401

Newton Toney Wiltshire village image
Small scabious profusion at RSPB Winterbourne Downs by Patrick Cashman

The RSPB site located in the Winterbourne Downs reserve is a working farm in the heart of Wiltshire's rolling chalk country. Here, the former arable fields are being transformed by the Society into flower-rich grasslands teeming with wildlife. A yellow blaze of cowslips and buttercups in spring transforms into a panorama of nodding wildflowers, highlighted by the blues and purples of scabiouses and knapweeds by late summer.

The reserve is home to the charismatic and rare stone-curlew, and a spring or summer walk may also reveal skylarks, lapwings, yellowhammers, linnets and grey partridges. There are also many types of insects to be encountered on the site, including various beetles, Marbled White, Dark Green Fritillary and Adonis Blue butterflies, and day-flying moths.

Newton Toney Wiltshire village image Visitor facilities at the Reserve

Although the Winterbourne Down site does not have a visitor centre, there is a car park, a picnic area, occasional guided walks (always check times at the RSPB Winterbourne Downs internet site), viewing points - and various nature trails. As the reserve has been set up to create a home for rare ground nesting birds, such as the stone-curlew, lapwing, skylark, corn-bunting and grey partridge there is a no dogs policy (excluding guide dogs) for the car park and permissive nature trails. It has therefore been designed very much as a low-key, quiet enjoyment of the countryside-style reserve, rather than as a well-equipped visitor attraction.

The car park is open all through the year, with the exception of the summer solstice. There is no shop on the site. The car park has:

10 spaces for vehicles
1 Blue Badge space
Fixed bike racks
A 2m height restriction on the entry gate.

Refreshments

The nearest refreshments - including hot food - are within 500m. at The Malet Arms public house, Newton Toney, SP4 0HF. Tel 01980 629279. More details on their Facebook page.

Newton Toney Wiltshire village image School Trip & School Outreach facilities

Further up-to-date information about school trips and school outreach facilities is provided on the Society's Internet sites.

The RSPB and the COVID-19 crisis

The RSPB is working hard to make its nature reserves safe and ready for staff, visitors and wildlife. Many reserves have now reopened in England, Wales and Northern Ireland - although some site facilities are not yet available. All our other reserves remain closed for the present. Before planning your visit, please see our COVID-19 updates page on the RSPB Internet sites.

Newton Toney Wiltshire village image Adonis blue on butterfly bank RSPB Winterbourne Downs by Patrick Cashman

School Trip & School Outreach facilities

Further up-to-date information about school trips and school outreach facilities is provided on the Society's Internet sites.

The RSPB and the COVID-19 crisis

The RSPB is working hard to make its nature reserves safe and ready for staff, visitors and wildlife. Many reserves have now reopened in England, Wales and Northern Ireland - although some site facilities are not yet available. All our other reserves remain closed for the present.

Before planning your visit, please see our COVID-19 updates page on the RSPB Internet sites.



(The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds - the RSPB - is a charitable organisation registered in England and Wales, and in Scotland.)
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