Bernwood Meadows

Bernwood Meadows

Peter Creed

Traditional hay meadows from yesteryear, brimming with wild flowers and insects including green-winged orchids and forester moths.


7 miles north-east of Oxford, 1 mile south of
Horton-cum-Studley, on road between Stanton St John and Oakley
OX33 1BJ

OS Map Reference

A static map of Bernwood Meadows

Know before you go

8 hectares

Entry fee


Parking information

Small surfaced car park open Mar - Aug. Please note there is a vehicle height barrier at the entrance. During winter alternative car parking can be found at Bernwood Forest, on Oakley Road, HP18 9UR.

Grazing animals


Walking trails

There are footpaths through the reserve and into neighbouring Shabbington Wood.


Flat, some bumpy ground, soft after rain; kissing gates


On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

March to August

About the reserve

Ancient meadows

This is a wonderful nature reserve to visit from April to early July when the wild flowers are in bloom and butterflies abound. Over 100 plant species have been recorded here thanks to BBOWT's careful management, and it is worth just standing quietly for a moment to take in the buzz and hum of the insects and the spectrum of colour. Don't leave it too late to visit though, as between July and August hay is cut to encourage the growth of next year's flowers.

A natural paintbox

Lady's bedstraw with its clusters of tiny yellow flowers is scattered across the meadows. Green-winged orchids - now uncommon due to the widespread drainage of wet meadows - flourish here in their thousands. Plant communities reflect differences in the soil below. While wetter furrows support damp-loving rushes, meadowsweet and cuckooflower, the drier ridges have species such as meadow buttercup. 

Butterfly and moth heaven

These meadows are also famous for the quantity and variety of butterflies. Carefully managed ancient hedgerows support the rare black and brown hairstreak butterflies. Grassland butterflies include the marbled white, meadow brown, small copper and the dainty common blue. Many day-flying moths can also be seen here, including the burnet companion and the distinctive metallic green forester moth.

Living Landscape

This reserve is part of our Bernwood Forest project: a five-year project to enhance and recreate the woodland, meadow and hedgerow habitats across five BBOWT nature reserves on the Buckinghamshire-Oxfordshire border.

Things to do

  • Volunteer with our Bernwood Forest work party
  • Tweet your wildlife sightings to @BBOWT_Bernwood and @BBOWT
  • For the Forestry Commission's 'Butterfly Trail' leave the far end of the reserve and follow the signs. 
  • Share your Bernwood Meadows photographs with us! Add them to our Flickr group, and tag them with 'bernwood meadows'.

Contact us

Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Contact number: 01442 826774
Contact email:

Environmental designation

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)