Embark on a sensory journey through this secluded wildlife gem - once described as one of the richest habitats in middle England
Tucked away to the north-east of Oxford and packed into a steep valley, Sydlings Copse is a treasure trove for wildlife enthusiasts. A place of sheer magic for all the family - yet small enough to ensure that young or old legs don't get tired as you take a circular wildlife walk through all of the different habitats.
The diversity of this small nature reserve is quite staggering. Boasting ancient broadleaved woodland, limestone grasslands, reedbed, fen, a stream and rare Oxfordshire heathland, the reserve supports over 400 plant species. The site is also teeming with birds and insect life; butterflies include the purple hairstreak, brown hairstreak, common blue and marbled white.
Sequence of flowers
In spring, cowslips and hairy violets begin a procession of changing colour in the flower-rich grassland. This festival peaks in summer with a display of knapweed, small scabious, yellow rattle, common rock-rose, wild basil and marjoram.
The heath's gorse, with its coconut-scented flowers, attracts flocks of linnet. Lizards can often be seen basking in this sunshine on stacked log piles. Grass snakes and slow-worms can occasionally be glimpsed. The unusual nutrient-poor sandy soil provides a perfect niche for heath specialists including heather and a diverse community of solitary wasps and bees that live in burrows in the sand.
Things to do & places to go
Species and habitats
- Grassland, Heathland, Wetland, Woodland
- Amethyst Deceiver, Fly Agaric, Bee Orchid, Bluebell, Columbine, Rock-rose, Cowslip, Crab Apple, Early Purple Orchid, Gorse, Herb-Paris, Marsh-marigold, Primrose, Ramsons, Spindle, Viper's-bugloss, Wayfaring-tree, Wild Cherry, Wild liquorice, Wood Anemone, Wood Spurge, Woolly Thistle, Yellow Archangel, Bloody-nosed Beetle, Brimstone, Comma, Marbled White, Orange-tip, Purple Hairstreak, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Common Lizard, Grass Snake, Slow-worm, Stonechat, Badger, Red Fox, Roe Deer, Weasel