Know before you go
Parking informationOn Boarstall to Murcott road, just after bridge over M40 continue west towards Murcott for 2 miles, take left turn to Whitecross Green Farm. Go through farmyard, turn left over sleeper bridge into the unsurfaced car park just before RSPB Otmoor Reserve
Ridge and furrow, uneven underfoot and soft when wet; kissing gates. No access to Upper Marsh.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitMarch to August
About the reserve
These lovely expanses of Oxfordshire grasslands, near Otmoor, harbour rare communities of national and local botanical gems. Asham Meads - probably named after the lost Otmoor village of Nash - is made up of three damp meadows (Upper Marsh, Lower Marsh and Rowbottom), an oak plantation which dates from the 1930s, a pond, hedges and scrub.
Ridges and furrows
The meadows were once ploughed into ridges and furrows. The ridges of the north-eastern field, Rowbottom, are covered by maroon flowers of great burnet, dropwort and meadow foxtail grass. Nestling in the wetter furrows are marsh-loving plants, such as ragged-robin and the uncommon tubular water-dropwort. On the ridges of Upper and Lower Marsh you will find common knapweed and traditional meadow grasses crested dog's-tail and sweet vernal-grass. Among the panorama of flowers are pepper-saxifrage, yellow rattle, saw-wort and many green-winged orchids.
Home to rare butterflies
All these flowers support a host of butterflies. The rare and hard-to-spot black and brown hairstreak butterflies are to be found in the blackthorn hedges, the foodplant of their caterpillars. In summer, the meadows themselves positively shimmer with small copper, meadow brown and marbled white butterflies.
A bird haven
Listen out for skylarks, blackcap, yellowhammer and curlews in the breeding season.