Pilley Bridge Nature Reserve

Pilley Bridge Nature Reserve

Pilley Bridge Nature Reserve is an urban nature reserve in the heart of the southern part of Cheltenham.  It was once part of the Great Western Railway on the Cheltenham to Banbury line but after the closure of this route in the 1960s it was taken over by Cheltenham Borough Council who designated it a kilometre-long, nature reserve.

There is a wide variety of natural habitats in this small area which stretches from the back of the Travis Perkins on Mead Road, under Pilley Bridge on the Old Bath Road, almost as far as Sandy Lane. 

The western part of the reserve runs from Pilley Bridge to the the back of Travis Perkins. The railway embankments form a woodland edge habitat with an understorey of holly and hawthorn and a range of ground flora provide interest across the flowering seasons.  Foxes, badgers and deer have all been recorded using the reserve and a peregrine falcon has also been seen feeding on the site. In 2012 a community orchard was created by the Friends of Pilley Bridge to add to the fruit trees that are already present on site.

The eastern side of the reserve contains a meadow area which leads to a pond which is fed from natural springs. The meadow provides an open area for butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies to feed.

Site management

The site is managed by Cheltenham Borough Council's Community Ranger Service and the Friends of Pilley Bridge. Jointly, these groups implement practical conservation works on site on a monthly basis.

Getting there


Access to the reserve is from either Old Bath Road via the gated entrance and down some steps. There are two access point to the Public Footway which lead to the reserve from Mead Road. Parking is on street only.


Stagecoach bus route P/Q has bus stops on the Old Bath Road close to Mead Road entrance.