Stoke Camp is 11 ha of limestone grassland which we manage principally for Small Blues. Rising to a height of 265 m on the Mendip ridge, the top of the hill is surrounded by the earthwork of the Iron Age enclosure and there are splendid views towards Glastonbury Tor in the east or westward down the Severn estuary towards Exmoor.
In 2018, 26 species were recorded, including Grizzled Skipper and Dingy Skipper, Brown Argus, Chalk-hill Blue, Small Blue, Small Copper, Wall Brown and Small Heath.
Management of the reserve
The main focus of management is to produce the sward structure and composition needed by the Small Blues which depend on Kidney Vetch. In late May and June, the females lay their eggs amongst the clustered flowers and the caterpillars feed in the seed-heads through the summer, overwinter on the ground, pupate in spring and emerge as adults around the end of May.
In winter the site is grazed by cattle and sometimes also by sheep so as to reduce the dominance of the grasses and enable Kidney Vetch and other butterfly foodplants to flourish.
It is planned to graze some of the site in summer to reduce a large area of very tussocky and unproductive grassland. We also manage Gorse and attempt to keep pace with colonisation by Ash saplings from the adjacent Rodney Stoke National Nature Reserve.
How to get there
Stoke Camp is around OS reference ST492511. From the A371 at Draycott village, turn at brown Tourist Sign to Gliding Club, drive uphill for a bit less than half a mile and park at layby on the left side of the road beside the Somerset Wildlife Trust (SWT) Draycott Sleights reserve at ST486513. Go through the gate on the right-hand side of the road into House Grounds that is also SWT land. From here you walk up a steep grass field and through the gate in a drystone wall to enter our reserve. Please keep dogs under control.
By taking the gate at the south-east corner of the reserve you can walk across access land to our Westbury Beacon Reserve.
The Honorary Wardens are Peter Bright and John Ball.