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Chimney Meadows

An ancient landscape and a vital refuge for wading birds, Chimney Meadows is the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust's largest nature reserve in Oxfordshire.

Restoring a wildlife haven

Chimney Meadows by Peter GathercoleOnce in the grip of intensive farming, the rich wildlife of this remote and tranquil place has been restored since the Trust started looking after it in 2003. Fields once planted with wheat and barley are now colourful, species-rich wild-flower meadows. Once heavily grazed pastures are now nationally-important wetlands and home to wading birds. This type of habitat is important for its remarkable diversity of plant-life and as a home to nationally declining wading birds such as curlew, which breed here.

Seasonal highlights.

In spring and summer these grasslands are transformed by an ever-changing display of wild flowers that attract busy communities of insects. In April and early May cowslips are in flower, whilst in June and July, plants such as yellow rattle, common knapweed, oxeye daisy and pepper-saxifrage can be found in abundance.

Wonderful wetland vista

The large hide overlooking our wetland area provides views of feeding cormorant, little egret and kingfisher. At the smaller hide, which overlooks our norther pond, you can see little grebe, jay and long-tailed tit.

A Living Landscape

Chimney Meadows is our largest nature reserve and its fields are part of an ancient landscape, created by the Thames and shaped by centuries of farming. It forms part of the Upper Thames Living Landscape, a Willdife Trust project to create space for wildlife and people together.

Coronation Meadow

Chimney Meadows is one of three of BBOWT’s most charismatic wildflower meadows that have been named Coronation MeadowsHRH Prince Charles, as patron of RSWT, Rare Breeds Survival Trust and Plantlife, initiated the Coronation Meadows project. It celebrates the historic and extraordinary diversity of meadows, and encourages the creation of many more in the next 60 years through seeds and green hay from the Coronation sites. 

Coronation Meadows represent a certain ethos; an attitude towards farming, rearing livestock and an appreciation of the value of farmland wildlife that has allowed these fragments of flower rich grassland to survive over the decades. Chimney Meadows, Moor Copse and Upper Ray Meadows are prime examples of a Coronation Meadow because they are rich in a wealth of wild flowers. On each reserve there are meadows which have been regenerated using green hay from nearby land, a natural spread of species from field to field.

The meadows are managed carefully using traditional farming methods, sometimes with rare breed livestock for conservation grazing. Ancient hedgerows and tracks connect each meadow to the next these are just as important for wildlife as the meadows themselves. They help to create patchworks of habitats greater than their individual parts. 

Get involved

Your Chimney Meadows photographs

Share your photographs of Chimney Meadows with us! Just add them to our BBOWT flickr group, and tag them with 'chimneymeadows'.

Nearby nature reserves

Hitchcopse Pit
6 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Parsonage Moor
6 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Dry Sandford Pit
7 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Reserve information

9 miles west of Abingdon
OX18 2EH
Map reference
SP 3606 0075
Great for...
Best time to visit
Jan - Dec
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
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Opening Times
Open at all times
249.00 hectares
Some paths and the two bird hides are suitable for people with limited mobility. Contact BBOWT for further information.
Walking information
Flat terrain, bumpy underfoot, boggy in winter; bridge and gates
From A420 take the road to Tadpole Bridge and Bampton. Turn right just after Tadpole Bridge and Trout Inn, follow signs to Chimney. (If this road is closed in winter due to flooding, drive to Bampton and follow signs to Chimney.) Park in designated car park on the left at the entrance to the nature reserve.
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Tel: 01367 870904

Smartphone Safari

Every weekend on BBC Radio Berkshire and BBC Radio Oxford we broadcast a Smartphone Safari. Listen along as we explore some of our fantastic reserves and introduce you to the wildlife you can see.