Ask a Ranger
Do you have a question about Castle Bottom? Seen a plant or animal you can't identify?
Ask a ranger and we will try to help! We will aim to get back to you with an answer within 3 working days.
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4 questions so far
26/03/2012 09:08amIvana Wilson
Hi, are dogs allowed off the lead? Is it okay to have a picnic?
A Ranger replies
We ask all visitors to the Castle Bottom to keep their dogs on leads during the bird nesting season 1st February -31st August. Castle Bottom Nature Reserve is home to important ground (or near ground) nesting birds which are easily disturbed, these include the Nightjar, Dartford Warbler and Woodlark.
We also ask visitors to keep their dogs on leads when there is cattle grazing on the site -on site signage will indicate when there are grazing animals present. Both the cows and ponies that graze on Castle Bottom are easily worried by dogs.
It is fine for visitors to picnic on site, all we ask is that visitors please take their rubbish home with them, and leave the countryside tidy. Please do not leave food for the cows or ponies, there is plenty of food available for them on site
Hi, I am interested in visiting this reserve to photograph the Dartford Warblers,how big is the reserve,and were is the best place to find them there ?
A Ranger replies
Castle Bottom National Nature Reserve is approximately 30 hectares and can be accessed by car from Coopers Hill (B3016) or on foot from Yateley Common (parking available here). The site is part of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA) for it's bird life, one of those protected species being Dartford Warbler. The SPA provides ideal habitat for these birds to thrive in and they can be found across most of the SPA. Due to the secretive and sensitive nature of the Dartford Warbler, we don't like to provide specific locations of birds, but be assured that they can be found across the heathland areas from Yateley Common to Castle Bottom. They are often tricky to see, but you may very well hear their 'scratchy' song from the top of a gorse bush.
16/11/2011 02:25pmpeter philbey
Are there any cattle/horses on site at present? Love the place but have been attacked there
Castle Bottom replies
We have recently had the animals removed and they shall not be back until April-may time. The cattle and ponies we use are all placid animals and a wave of the hand and a yell is enough to send them running. Sometimes the ponies can be inquisitive but they are mischievous rather than malicious.
We have a lookering programme you could join, lookers are people that check on the welfare of grazing animals, we give training and it would give you more confidence around the animals, allowing you to enjoy the site all year round.
hiya. i just wondered when the cattle were coming off this winter? thanks.
A Ranger replies
The Grazier that the cattle belong to will be collecting the cows on Thursday 10 November (hopefully before the chance of any snowfall adds difficulties to the transportation), and will be taken to another local site which will have more winter grazing, so that they can stay well fed in the cold conditions. We hope that cattle will return to the site around March/April next year.
If you would like any further information relating to the grazing herd at Castle Bottom, please feel free to contact us directly. Alternatively, you can visit our regularly updated Castle Bottom Lookers Blog, which is used by Site Staff and Volunteer Cattle Lookers to record all sightings and health checks of the cattle, as well as posting other relevant updates.
Review Ref. 490726