Back to reserve map

Lashford Lane Fen

Exciting wildlife lies hidden in this small limestone valley leading into fascinating fenland and reedbeds.

A tropical past

This small, but amazing diverse, wet, shallow valley is a great place to explore all year round. Its wide range of habitats includes reedbeds, limestone grassland, scrub, woodland and fen - a habitat seriously under threat in the UK. Through it all runs Sandford Brook, cutting through the limestone which was formed by layers of marine creatures living in the tropical sea that covered this land 160 million years ago.

Wildlife highlights

Reed bunting by Amy Lewis

In early spring, as you enter the reserve, look out for cowslips flourishing in the grassland. In late summer, these are replaced by pale blue harebells that quiver in the lightest breeze. Stepping through the hawthorn scrub, a whole different world of the rich valley fen shows itself. Meadowsweet with its lovely fragrance and willowherb growing lushly among the tall reeds set a stunning scene, where a host of smaller flowers, such as water mint and water forget-me-not, flourish.

Bird life

In summer, listen out for reed warblers with their distinctive scratching and churring call and the eerie squeals of water rail. Lashford Lane Fen is particularly good for over-wintering reed bunting. Recent felling is allowing the Trust to restore areas  of fen and specialist plants are returning. On winter evenings a spooky mist rises, shrouding the fen. 

A disappearing mammal

Look out for the endangered water vole in the brook and pond, though you are more likely to hear the 'plop' of them as they slip back into the water.

Find out more about our water vole project.

Things to do

Nearby nature reserves

Parsonage Moor
1 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Dry Sandford Pit
1 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Hitchcopse Pit
1 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

4 miles south-west of Oxford
nr Abingdon
OX13 6DY
Map reference
SP 468 011
Great for...
overwintering birds
Best time to visit
Jan - Dec
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
6.50 hectares
Walking information
Flat, wet ground; bridges and boardwalks. Not suitable for pushchairs.
0.5 miles north of Dry Sandford village on Lashford Lane, unsurfaced car park 200m before Besselsleigh Road.
Guide dogs only
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Tel: 01865 775476

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.