West 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.
Lowland Village Farmlands
Site Code: 20S01
Area: 2.8 ha
Grid Ref: SP273050, SP278049
Alvescot Meadows consists of two meadows next to the Shill Brook just north of Alvescot village. The larger meadow is very wet. The fields have escaped agricultural improvement in that they haven’t been ploughed and reseeded, treated with herbicides or had fertilizer applied. It is rich in wildflowers and small sedges. Amongst the wildflowers that can be seen are marsh orchids, devil’s-bit scabious and pepper saxifrage. In the wettest areas marsh marigold and ragged robin can be seen. Marsh valerian, a plant more usually associated with fens is present.
In the smaller western meadow is a wet corner that has escaped the ploughing and reseeding that has happened to the rest of the field. Here there are more marsh orchids, green winged orchid, adder’s tongue fern and cowslip.
Alvescot Meadows support a good range of insects including uncommon hoverflies and flies.
Site Code: 20S02
Area: 1.2 ha
This site is the north eastern half of a meadow that has escaped agricultural improvement through the use fertilizers and herbicides or ploughing and reseeding. This means the meadow has many grassland wildflowers. This type of lowland meadow habitat is a national nature conservation priority.
This meadow has a variety of wildflowers including cowslip, common knapweed and cuckooflower. Along the top edge there is a fenced pond. Near the edge of the pond and in the meadow around the pond southern marsh orchids, early marsh orchids and common spotted orchids can be seen. Other attractive wetland wildflowers can also be seen around the pond. The hedges have a rich variety of shrubs and trees.
Site Code: 20S09
Grid Ref: SP273058
Willow Meadows are a group of fields along the Shill Brook to the south west of the Carterton. They are owned by the Town Council. The meadows are very wet and marshy and a spring arises in the middle of the site. The habitat here is a mixture of fen and unimproved meadow both of which are national priorities for nature conservation.
The grassland and fen are rich in wildflowers including the uncommon spineless meadow thistle, betony and ragged robin. In a hollow where the spring rises many wetland wildflowers can be seen including marsh valerian, marsh marigold, creeping jenny and water mint. The northern part of the site is different because spoil was dumped here in the past so it is much drier and far less species rich.
Willow Meadows is a good area for birds. Reed buntings (a national nature conservation priority due to the decline in its population) nest here as do sedge warblers in the taller reedy vegetation. The site also supports a number of rare beetles.