Ardley Wood Quarry is a natural treasure trove in spring and summer with geological features and medieval earthworks. Warm and sheltered, the site is especially good for butterflies, and has thriving colonies of grizzled skippers, dingy skippers and green hairstreaks.

Location

4 miles north-west of Bicester
Oxfordshire
OX27 7NU
A static map of Ardley Wood Quarry

Know before you go

Size
11 hectares

Entry fee

No

Parking information

Hard verge just before railway bridge

Walking trails

There is a network of small paths that visitors are free to explore, taking care with the undulating terrain. Undulating, mostly firm and flat; steep embankment to south; kissing gates.

Access

Undulating, mostly firm and flat; steep embankment to south; 

Dogs

On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

December to August

About the reserve

Historic site
This quarry and nearby railway cutting have geological features of national importance - as well as abundant wildlife. The layered bare limestone rock faces give a fascinating insight into the site's Jurassic past (more than 160 million years ago). Medieval earthworks give Ardley Wood Quarry archaeological interest too.

A rich mix
Scrub, woodland and rough grassland make up the diverse array of habitats. Several seasonal ponds (which dry out in summer) provide breeding places for frogs and great crested newts. Enjoy the first signs of spring with cowslips, primroses, blue bugle flowers and a carpet of violets. In summer, look out for the common spotted-orchid and bee orchid, and later the purple flowers of the autumn gentian are usually seen on the quarry floor.

Butterflies basking
This warm, sheltered site is good for butterflies, which are not deterred by the occasional passing train. There are good colonies of grizzled skipper, dingy skipper and green hairstreak butterflies, especially near the quarry floor. Marbled white butterflies can be spotted in the taller grassy areas.

Wonders of the woods
As well as the plentiful butterflies all around the site, woodland birds nest in the trees. Listen out for long-tailed tits, chiffchaff, willow warbler and bullfinch. 

Contact us

Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Contact number: 01865 775476
Contact email: info@bbowt.org.uk

Environmental designation

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)