Old Redding Nature Reserve
Old Redding Nature Reserve lies on the Harrow Weald Ridge west of the A409 Common Road. It is mostly secondary woodland, although there are two areas of ancient woodland, Levels Wood and Weald Wood. Grims Dyke Hotel lies within the complex. This grade II* listed building was the home of W.S. Gilbert, the librettist of many well loved operettas, from 1890 to 1911. Part of the site (Grimsdyke Open Space on the map below) was originally part of the gardens of the house, and is home to interesting non-native trees including enormous giant redwoods. The ornamental Gilbert's Lake, in the west of the site, is now reduced to two small pools.

Lady Gilbert's Orchard in the northwest of the site dates from this time and includes some rare varieties of apple.

Much of the rest of the site is legally common land, that is, it is not owned by anyone or any organization. The common land is overseen by five "Harrow Weald Conservators", drawn from Harrow borough councillors.
The ancient linear earthwork of Grims Dyke runs along the northwest edge of the site and through the hotel grounds. This earthwork, which can also be seen in Pear Wood to the east, is of uncertain age, probably because it has been restored many times during antiquity.

Two marked trails pass though the site:

The marked circles on the map are stages on a nature trail created by Harrow Council; a leaflet describing this trail can be downloaded here.

The Bentley Priory Circular Walk, which runs through some of the most attractive parts of the Harrow green belt, runs through Old Redding Nature Reserve. From here you can walk the whole 4.3 mile (7 km) circuit, or use a short cut to reduce the distance to 3.2 miles. Leaflets describing this walk can be downloaded here
Map above reproduced by permission of Harrow Council and Ordnance Survey (c) Crown Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Licence number 100017302.
Above: Lady Gilbert's Orchard Volunteer wardens look after the site and organize regular working parties to improve the site for wildlife and human visitors. Please contact them to report problems or interesting findings.

Note that the wardens are not responsible for the car park or the adjoining viewpoint: queries about these should be addressed to Harrow Council.
How to find the site

The view point car park is on the south side of Old Redding and has the post code HA3 6SQ. This is the meeting point for all events.

Brookshill is served by the 258 bus from central Harrow (and from Watford). The quickest approach is to alight at the Clamp Hill bus stop and walk along Old Redding. To avoid walking along the road you can instead alight from the bus at the Priory Close stop, enter the woods to the west of the road and join the nature trail as it runs between posts 14 and 15.

Old Redding has an active warden team who have been working hard to improve the site for amphibians and other wildlife. Read about their work in their regular reports:
Map above reproduced by permission of Geographers' A-Z Map Co. Ltd. (c)Crown Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Licence number 100017302.
Contact details
To contact the volunteer warden team email Oldreddingwardens@outlook.com

For questions and comments specifically about Lady Gilbert's Orchard:
Hilary Coombes coombesfamily@tiscali.co.uk
Charlotte Lippitt cmmlippitt@gmail.com tel 0798 216 5154

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