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 (email@example.com) 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.
Wooded Estate Slopes and Valley Sides
Site Code: 31T02
Area: 17.8 ha
This site is an area of ancient woodland on the slopes above the River Evenlode. Ancient woodland means the site has been continuously wooded since 1600AD. Much of the wood retains the typical composition of old woodland with a canopy and shrub layer of native trees and shrubs with a rich variety of wildflowers on the ground. This type of woodland is a national nature conservation priority.
The wood has a canopy of oak trees with some ash and hazel coppice* in a shrub layer along with spindle, privet, wayfaring tree and holly. The ground is covered by an abundance of bluebells in the Spring. Other wildflowers found here include primrose, yellow archangel, wood anemone and sweet woodruff. Not all the woodland is of this type though. Some areas have been replanted with conifers or a mix of conifers and beech and such areas are of less value for wildlife.
*Coppicing involves regularly cutting shrubs and small trees down to the ground producing a harvest of thin branches. This opens up the woodland which benefits wildflowers and insects such as butterflies.
Site Code: 31T04
This site consists of two horse grazed fields on a steep bank. The site is particularly important for the large population of meadow clary. Meadow clary is a nationally scarce plant restricted almost exclusively to the Cotswolds and located mainly in this part of West Oxfordshire. A range of other grassland wildflowers is present including cowslip, yellow rattle and salad burnet.
The grassland has not been agriculturally improved through the use of herbicides and fertilizers or by ploughing and reseeding. Such grassland is a national priority for nature conservation due to its rarity.
Site Code: 31T03
This site is ancient woodland which means it has been continuously wooded since 1600AD. Although large areas have been replanted with conifers and beech, and the non-native sycamore dominates some areas, there are good remnants of old woodland with native trees and shrubs and a wealth of woodland wildflowers. Such woodland is a national priority for nature conservation.
There are many large old oak and ash trees in a canopy that also features many exotic trees such as redwoods. Wych elm is abundant in places and there are areas of hazel coppice*. Some of the woodland had much elm but this has been lost due to Dutch elm disease. A good range of woodland wildflowers can be seen. Bluebells and dog’s mercury are abundant and wood anemone, yellow archangel, wood spurge, moschatel, ransoms (also known as wild garlic) and nettle-leaved bellflower can also be seen. There is also a grassy valley where the uncommon scaly male fern is found.
*Coppicing involves regularly cutting the stools down to the ground producing a harvest of thin branches and is an important and traditional form of woodland management that benefits wildlife.
Site Code: 31T06
This site lies along a small valley that has steep banks with limestone grassland. This grassland has escaped from the agricultural improvement brought about by the use of herbicides and fertilizers or ploughing and reseeding. Limestone grassland is now mainly restricted to such steep banks and is a national priority for nature conservation.
Wildflowers that can be seen here include cowslip, yellow rattle, fairy flax and mouse-eared hawkweed.