Vale of White Horse 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: 58H01
This site is bank of chalk grassland on the escapement of the Berkshire Downs. Chalk grassland is a national priority for nature conservation and is restricted mainly to steeper areas such as this. Typically for chalk grassland there is an abundance of small colourful wildflowers. These include small scabious, harebell, devil’s-bit scabious and autumn gentian. Orchids have also been recorded here.
Site Code: 58N01
The slopes of this hill have areas of chalk grassland. The hill is topped by an Iron Age hillfort and there are ancient man made terraces called lynchets of the western and northern slopes. Chalk grassland is a national priority for nature conservation and is now mainly restricted to steeper banks.
The richest areas of grassland are found on the slopes of the lynchets and on the southern slope of the hill. Typically for chalk grassland these areas have a high abundance of small wildflowers. These include rock rose, wild thyme, yellow-wort, clustered bellflower and harebell.
Site Code: 58G03
The Ridgeway near Churn
The Ridgeway, the ancient trackway that follows the top of escarpment of the Berkshire Downs, cuts into the chalk to the south of Blewbury. A number of tracks meet here and there are banks at the edge which supports chalk grassland. Chalk grassland is now restricted to steeper sites in the Downs and trackside banks such as those found here. Chalk grassland is a national priority for nature conservation. This is the richest site along the Ridgeway in Oxfordshire.
The banks have a mixture of tall grassland which is less rich in species and short areas with a wealth of small colourful wildflowers. These include frog and pyramidal orchids, autumn gentian and also kidney and horseshoe vetches which are the foodplants for the uncommon small blue and chalkhill blue butterflies which are found here. Juniper, the small native conifer, can be seen here. This species is rare and restricted to a small number of sites on the chalk and is a national priority for nature conservation.