Selsley Common

P1100591 copyThe views from Selsley Common are wonderful in any direction.

Selsley Common is situated to the south of Stroud on the Cotswold escarpment. It offers tremendous views of the town and the woodlands and valleys beyond. It is probably the views to the west that attract visitors to the common. Standing on the edge of the common, one can see the open, flat landscape of the Severn Vale and the River Severn. Beyond this the wooded slopes of the Forest of Dean and beyond the forest, the distant  Black Mountains of Wales.

Dog walkers and walkers in general, have their regular trails along the worn network of paths that criss-cross the common. Some of these rise and fall through depressions and tumps left from old quarry workings. It’s here that you might spot some of the plants and invertebrates that make Selsley, like its neighboring limestone commons and grasslands, an important place for wildlife.

Many of the species found on Rodborough Common, Swift’s Hill, Haresfield Beacon, Painswick Beacon and to a lesser extent, Minchinhampton Common, are found here. Not guaranteed, but in some years, you might come across the Bee Orchid, which appears to like the worn turf on the edges of paths. Other flowers include Common Scabious, Harebell, Knapweed, Common Rock Rose, Milkwort and Wild Thyme. Beyond the ‘edge’, the common slopes steeply and it is here that there is a greater variety of flora and fauna. This includes butterflies like the Chalk-hill Blue, Small Blue, Brown Argos and Marbled White

Left top; Stripe-winged Grasshopper  Righ top; Small Blue left bottom; Caterpillar of the Five Spot Burnet (moth)  Centre; Thick-shinned Beetle; Right bottom; Common Field Grasshopper.

Of interest to nature lovers and geologists is an old quarry on the southern end of the Selsley escarpment. Here millions of years of rock strata are exposed. The cracks and cavities in the quarry face are home to a small colony of Jackdaws. Kestrels hunt long the scarp and Ravens are frequently seen. The occasional Goshawk has been seen following the line of the scarp (there is a belt of woodland that starts close to the quarry and runs for miles along the escarpment to the south). Skylarks and Meadow pipts take to the air as you pass by.

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The Cotswold Way runs across the Common. There is also a neolithic long barrow on the edge of the common. A great place to sit and enjoy the view.

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