The following wildlife habitats fall within this parish. They are listed according to their associated landscape type or local character area.
If you want more information about any of the sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) listed below, take a look at English Nature's Nature on the Map website. It may also be possible to find out a bit more about the unnamed wildlife habitats in the parish by contacting the Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre (firstname.lastname@example.org) and quoting the site code next to the habitat description.
The majority of these wildlife habitats are on private land and access to them is not possible without permission of the landowner, unless there is a statutory right of way. However, many wildlife habitats in the county are open to the public. More information on these can be obtained from the Oxfordshire Nature Conservation Forum.
Site Code: 42X07/1/2
Lying next to the River Cherwell, Bestmoor has a long history of use as a hay meadow. It was the hay lot meadow for Somerton village where lots were drawn to decide which part of the meadow local people could cut. Although there has been some agricultural improvement in the past through the use of fertilizers a range of meadowland wildflowers are present. Such grassland is described as semi-improved. Meadows such as this are a national priority for nature conservation.
Most importantly the site has the largest UK population of the rare narrow-leaved water-dropwort which comprises well over 50% of the total numbers in the country. Other wildflowers found here include meadow-rue, ragged robin and sneezewort. It lies within the Cherwell Valley (Nell Bridge to Somerton) County Wildlife Site (see separate description).