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.
Site Code: 22X03
Area: 6 ha
This field is situated on the crest of a Cotswold ridge to the south of Chipping Norton. The lime rich soils of the Cotswolds are particularly important for limestone grassland which is the habitat found in this field. Limestone grassland is a national priority for nature conservation. Most limestone grassland is restricted to steeper banks where agricultural machinery cannot reach and this site is unusual in that it is much flatter than most. The south eastern corner was quarried in the past.
The meadow has a rich variety of limestone grassland wildflowers including pyramidal orchids, harebell, wild thyme and cowslip. There are good numbers of butterflies including common blue and meadow brown. Skylarks nest in the field. Skylark numbers have declined significantly recently and they are a national nature conservation priority.
Farmland Slopes and Valley Sides
Site Code: 32C01
Sarsgrove Wood SSSI
Sarsgrove Wood SSSI is a good sized area of ancient woodland which means it has been continuously wooded since at least 1600AD. It has a canopy of ash and oak with field maple and much hazel coppice* in the shrub layer. There is also some wych elm coppice. Broadleaved woodland such as this is a national nature conservation priority. Wet areas have alder woodland which is rare in Oxfordshire and also a national nature conservation priority.
The variation in woodland and wetness means there is a high diversity of woodland plants, insects and birds. Alternate-leaved golden saxifrage is found in the alder woodland in its only Oxfordshire location. There is a spectacular display of early purple orchid in the drier areas. Other wildflowers present include bluebell, nettle-leaved bellflower, herb Paris and meadow saffron.
*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.