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Great nature reserves to visit in January

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Posted: Thursday 21st December 2017 by bbowtblog

Reserves to visit in January. Photo by Zsuzsanna Bird

With nearly 90 nature reserves to choose from in our three counties, which are the best to visit this month?

Here are our top reserves in Berks, Bucks and Oxon to visit during January. Why not make a day of it and take one of our Wild Walks to explore our reserves and the surrounding countryside.

Let us know what wildlife you see when you visit our reserves. Share your photos of our reserves with us on Twitter and Facebook or upload them to our Flickr gallery.

Click on the photos below to go to the reserve webpage for more information and how to get there.


Hosehill Lake

Pochard by Margaret Holland

During the winter Hosehill Lake is a haven for waterfowl including wigeon, gadwall and pochard (above). If you are lucky you may see an elusive bittern fishing amongst the reeds.

There is a circular around the lake and the Fox and Hounds pub opposite the lake offers BBOWT members a discount on food and drink so why not call in for a refreshment after a winter walk! Contact the pub for more information about the discount.

Moor Copse

Kingfisher by Margaret Holland

Take a wintry walk along the River Pang and through the meadows at Moor Copse. Frosty mornings and tranquil mists down by the river make the woods a peaceful spot in winter. Look out for a flash of blue and orange as a kingfisher flies past.

Winter bird visitors, including redwings and fieldfares, feed on the berries along the hedgerows. Find out how to tell these two thrushes apart in our blog. Keep an eye out too for animals tracks in the mud or snow, and maybe a glimpse of a stoat with a black tip to its tail.


Little Linford Wood

Tawny Owl by Margaret Holland

Listen out for the doleful hoots of tawny owls calling in the woodland at Little Linford Wood. Large parts of the woodland were clear felled in 1980, just before BBOWT took over the site. Slowly wildlife is returning as new trees and shrubs grow. Follow the 1-mile, circular wildlife walk through the reserve to explore this wildlife haven set in a sea of arable fields.

Upper Ray Meadows

short eared owl

The River Ray is one of the best areas in central England for locally scarce wading birds. In winter look out for wigeon, teal, golden plover, lapwing and snipe at Upper Ray Meadows. There are two bird hides at the Gallows Bridge Farm area of the reserve where you can sit and watch birdlife. You may even be lucky enough to spot a short-eared owl hunting over the reserve.


Chinnor Hill

View from Chinnor Hill by Jim Asher

Climb up Chinnor Hill for magnificient views over the Vale of Aylesbury. In winter the trees and scrub are filled with flocks of birds, including redwing and fieldfare, feeding on berries. Flocks of long-tailed tits, great tits and blue tits flit around looking for insects to feed on.

The Ridgeway National Trail  runs close to the reserve and continues to nearby Oakley Hill, another BBOWT reserve made up of old downland, scrub and beech woodland.

Sydlings Copse

long tailed tits

Tucked away to the north-east of Oxford and packed into a steep valley, Sydlings Copse, is a treasure trove for wildlife enthusiasts. The reserve includes ancient broadleaved woodland, limestone grassland, reedbed, fen, and a stream and rare Oxfordshire heathland. In winter the trees are full of twittering mixed flocks of tits, including long-tailed tits and marsh tits.

We're starting a new volunteer group here. Why not come along to the first session on Friday 26 January, and find out more about protecting this special place and its wildlife. Find out more here.

Things to do

  • Read our top 10 wildlife sightings for January, how many will you see before the month is out?
  • Find a nature reserve near you with the Wildilfe Trusts' Nature Finder app for iphone and Android
  • Share your photos of our reserves with us on Twitter and Facebook or upload them to our Flickr gallery
  • Oxfordshire photographer Andrew Marshall's book Photographing wildlife in the UK (published by Fotovue) includes advice on how to take great wildlife photographs. The book includes top locations for photographing wildlife and some images that were taken on BBOWT nature reserves (Greenham Common, Chimney Meadows, Foxholes and College Lake).
  • Our experts work with over 1,400 volunteers to look after over 80 nature reserves, five education centres and run hundreds of amazing events. We rely on the generosity of individuals, charitable trusts and businesses. Help us look after these precious places for your local wildlife by donating today.
  • Sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with wildlife news. 

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