Know before you go
Parking informationNo official parking. Limited parking in layby of Northfield Road. The reserve is 0.2 miles along the track just before the layby (there is a public footpath arrow opposite the track). Additional parking is at the National Trust’s Pitstone carpark.
Grazing animalsGrazing sheep from October - March.
The Ridgeway National Trail links the two areas of the reserve.
The reserve has some steep slopes and muddy footpaths and isn’t suitable for wheelchairs
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitApril to August
In Hertfordshire’s west lies a gem bursting with wildlife, history and beauty – and its very own connections to royalty. The chalk grassland found at Aldbury Nowers, sitting on the Chiltern escarpment, is one of the finest remaining areas of this habitat in the county and as such, one of the best places to discover butterflies and solitary bees.
A part of Aldbury Nowers is known as “Duchie’s Piece” – the eponymous Duchie being the nickname of the original owner’s wife; Ethel Amy Farquar was nicknamed Duchie because “she dressed like a Duchess”. ‘Duchie’ used to love to sit in the grass of Aldbury Nowers, count the wildflowers and pick wild strawberries along the woodland edge with her grandchildren, Frankie and Mark. The same grandchildren were asked to suggest a name when the Trust officially opened the site in 1991 and they chose to name it after their grandmother.
When Aldbury Nowers was opened in 1991 the wider reserve was presented to the Queen Mother to celebrate her 90th birthday and named “Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s Nature Reserve”. The Queen Mother formally opened the newly-named reserve and following the ceremony she enjoyed a picnic under the trees alongside Trust staff members and volunteers.
Take a moment and join us on a virtual tour around Aldbury Nowers Nature Reserve:
The south-facing chalk grassland slopes at Aldbury Nowers are one of the county’s highlights during the spring and summer months with a combination of wildflowers, butterflies and a huge variety of other insects. Head to the reserve on a warm March day to see early butterflies such as brimstone and peacock. Visit slightly later, in April, to see the first orange tips emerge alongside the bright yellow tube-like flowers of the early spring flower, cowslip.
A wander through the grassland enclosures during July and August should almost guarantee a sighting of the dark green fritillary – look out for them nectaring on flowers such as valerian or thistles. Silver-washed fritillary can also be seen in the surrounding woodland glades. Chalk hill blues can be found fluttering low over the upper slopes together with common blue and brown argus, especially where there is marjoram for them to nectar on.
Here are a few impressions from people who have visited Aldbury Nowers Nature Reserve:
Site entrance:The reserve is in two parts; accessible from the Ridgeway National Trail. The southern area can be accessed from Northfield Road while the northern area is a short walk from here and can also accessed by walking from Pitstone Hill.
Access by road: From Tring town centre take Station Road to Tring Station and Aldbury. Just beyond the railway bridge turn left onto Northfield Road.
Access by public transport
Bus: 387, Tring Station (0.5 miles).
Rail: Tring (0.5 miles).