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: 60D03, 60E02-05
This site is a group of five meadows which have escaped agricultural improvement through the use of herbicide and fertilizers or through ploughing and reseeding. Consequently they are rich in wildflowers. Meadows such as this are national priorities for nature conservation. The meadows are cut for hay though one field is used mainly as pasture. There are wet areas, one of which is an old channel of a stream, ditches rich in wetland wildflowers, good species-rich hedgerows and trees and shrubs along a stream.
Wildflowers found here include cowslip, great burnet, betony, meadow rue and oxeye daisy. A number of national nature conservation priority birds are found here including reed bunting, skylark and linnet. Other birds present include whitethroat and yellowhammer.
Site Code: 60E02
Arncott Bridge Meadows SSSI
Arncott Bridge Meadows lie on the floodplain of the River Ray. The meadows have escaped agricultural improvement through the use of herbicides and fertilizers or through ploughing and reseeding. Consequently the meadows are rich in wildflowers. Parts of the meadows have ridge and furrows which is a sign of medieval ploughing and also a sign that the meadows have been left undisturbed for a long time. This feature is an important historical landscape feature.
Amongst the wildflowers found here are great burnet, yellow rattle and common spotted and green winged orchids. The wetter parts of the meadows, which include the furrows, have many rushes and sedges and wildflowers such as ragged robin and meadowsweet. On the river bank the nationally scarce narrow-leaved water dropwort can be found. Meadows such as this are a national priority for nature conservation.
Site Code: 50Z02
Holton Wood SSSI
Holton Wood is ancient woodland which means it has been continuously wooded since at least 1600AD. It is a remnant of the Bernwood Forest which extended over large areas north east of Oxford. It retains the typical composition of old woodland with a canopy of oaks of varying age. There are many coppiced* trees and shrubs including hazel, ash, field maple and oak. On the ground there are carpets of bluebells and dog’s mercury. Such woodland is a national priority for nature conservation.
On the wider woodland tracks there are marshy areas with many rushes. There is a stream and a marshy area in the wood where marsh marigold and the uncommon opposite-leaved golden saxifrage can be seen. The uncommon purple emperor and white admiral butterflies are found in the wood.
*Coppicing is a traditional form of management where small multi-stemmed trees and shrubs are cut down to the ground at regular intervals producing a harvest of small branches.
Site Code: 60E02
Waterperry Wood SSSI
Waterperry Wood is an extensive area of ancient woodland although most of it has been replanted with a mixture of conifers and oak. Although the site is ancient woodland Sites which have been continuously wooded for over 400 years are classed as ancient. Remnants of old broadleaved woodland are found mainly along the edges of the plantations. These lie next to wide woodland tracks and wide open areas have been created where these tracks meet. There are also some blocks old traditional woodland where the uncommon wild service tree is found. This remnant of old woodland is a type that is a national priority for nature conservation.
Like its close neighbour, Shabbington Woods, Waterperry Wood illustrates the importance of the woodland edge and the adjacent grassy areas along wide tracks where there is a mixture of grassland and woodland wildflowers. These areas are exceptionally rich in insects. Uncommon butterflies recorded here include purple emperor and black hairstreak. Many other rare and uncommon insects have been recorded here. The site has been declared as a Forest Nature Reserve, along with Shabbington Woods, in recognition of its importance for these species.
Site Code: 50Y01
Lyehill Quarry SSSI
Lyehill Quarry is one of a number of sites where quarrying has left exposures of rocks that are very important in the understanding of geological history. Lyehill was a limestone quarry and the importance here is an extensive section through what is known as Wheatley Limestone.