Hat Gate Nature Reserve
Hat Gate nature reserve is a fascinating study in how a man-made landscape will revert to its natural state over time.
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust bought this small section of dismantled railway branch line from British Rail in 1988 for £1. The last passenger train ran through here on 11 September 1961 and freight and military trains stopped with the Beeching cuts of 1963.
The reserve is made up of one hectare of embankment west of the road from Wootton Rivers to Hat Gate.
On the reserve’s east side is the abutment of two railway bridges giving a sheer drop of 15-20 feet to the road below and there is a bridleway along the southern boundary.
The bridleway (known as Mud Lane) and its verges are part of the reserve. The reserve is a small piece of scrubby grassland with a few trees, and is home to a good variety of common plants and animals.
Where vegetation allows it, there are good views of the east end of the Pewsey Vale and Martinsell Hill.