South Oxfordshire Parishes
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: 58G01/2
Area: 38.7 ha
Aston Upthorpe Downs SSSI
This site is one of the few remaining large areas of chalk grassland in the Berkshire Downs. The downland grassland, that once covered much of the Downs, is now mainly restricted to the steeper banks such as this. Chalk grassland is a national nature conservation priority. The site is also important for the presence of the largest stand of juniper scrub in the Berkshire Downs and Chilterns. Juniper, the small native conifer, has become increasingly rare and is also a national priority for nature conservation.
The grassland has large areas of short turf with a high abundance of downland wildflowers. These include the nationally scarce wild candytuft and pasque flower in its only Oxfordshire location. Other species include the uncommon burnt-tip orchid along with dropwort, wild thyme, saw-wort, devil’s-bit scabious and horseshoe vetch.
Aston Upthorpe Downs is particularly important for its butterflies and other invertebrates. The nationally rare silver-spotted skipper, another national nature conservation priority species, is present along with chalkhill blue, small blue and the Duke of Burgandy fritillary.