South Oxfordshire Parishes
Beckley and Stowood
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: 50P01
Sydlings Copse and College Pond SSSI
Sydlings Copse and College Pond has a great range of habitats most of which are national priorities for nature conservation. There is ancient woodland which has been continuously wooded for at least 400 years. This has the typical composition of old woodland with a good mixture of native trees and shrubs and many woodland wildflowers. There is bank of limestone grassland and remnants of acid grassland in an area of bracken. Along the valley bottom there are areas of species rich fen along with wet woodland.
The woodland floor has carpets of dog’s mercury, which is typical for ancient woodland. Other wildflowers found here include the uncommon herb Paris and parasitic toothwort. The woodland supports a good variety of fungi. Woodland butterflies seen here include white admiral and purple hairstreak. In the limestone grassland there are bee orchids and the uncommon wild liquorice and in the fen marsh helleborine and fragrant orchid can be seen. The site supports a good variety of birds including reed bunting, which is a national priority for nature conservation, reed warbler, grasshopper warbler and all three species of woodpecker.
Site Code: 51Q03
This site has a variety of important habitats. There are a number of springs and places where water seeps out to form wetland areas called flushes. These are found in an area along with scrub, a pond and drier grassland.
To the east there is a wildflower rich hay meadow which includes areas of limestone grassland which has escaped agricultural improvement through the use of herbicides and fertilizers or through ploughing and reseeding. Meadows such as this and limestone grassland are national nature conservation priorities. Wildflowers found here include devil’s-bit scabious, salad burnet, cowslip and yellow rattle. There is also a pond in this part of the site.
Site Code: 51K07
This site is a small ancient woodland which means it has been continuously wooded for at least 400 years. A number of springs are found in the wood which make the whole site wet. The site has a mixture of wet willow woodland and somewhat drier mixed broadleaved woodland. Both types are national priorities for nature conservation.
Cooke’s Copse has a particularly colourful ground layer with carpets of bluebells and ransoms (wild garlic) along with yellow archangel and red campion. The wettest areas have much of the uncommon opposite-leaved golden saxifrage and patches of the primeval looking giant horsetail. Amongst the other species recorded is one nationally scarce beetle.
Site Code: 51Q07
This is a group of wildflower rich meadows on the slopes of the hills south of Otmoor. The fields have escaped agricultural improvement through the use of herbicides and fertilizers or through ploughing and reseeding. Meadows such as this are a national priority for nature conservation.
Wildflowers found here include common spotted orchid, dropwort, great burnet and cowslip. There are wet areas where water rises to the surface forming areas known as flushes. Here there are marsh orchids and other wildflowers that prefer wet conditions such as ragged robin.