Know before you go
Flat overall; rough underfoot in places, wet patches all year; kissing gates, gates, 30m 1 in 4 ramp from road to towpath
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitMarch to August
About the reserve
This sweep of floodplain meadows on the banks of the Thames sits just a stone's-throw from the centre of Oxford, but is a peaceful haven for wildlife. Each year Iffley Meadows plays host to an incredible wildlife spectacle, as thousands of Oxfordshire's iconic flower, the snake's head fritillary, cloak the meadows in purple.
Each April, Iffley Meadows plays host to a wonderful widlife spectacle where you can enjoy Oxfordshire's iconic flower, the snake's-head fritillary, in bloom in its natural surroundings. Before BBOWT took over management of the nature reserve in 1983, a mere 500 of these flowers could be found. As a result of BBOWT's careful management of the site and controlled grazing, numbers of fritillaries have shot up to over 89,000 - a huge success story.
These wet meadows crossed by old river channels with willow-lined ditches have a rich diversity of wildlife typical of old, unspoilt meadow land. They were once a widespread feature of our river systems, but many have been lost to drainage and farming. In spring, the blooms of cuckooflower mark the start of a colourful sequence of wild flowers in the meadows. The orange-tip butterfly can be seen fluttering from flower to flower laying its eggs. Later, the yellow of buttercups and the reds and purples of great burnet and knapweed come to the fore.
Several species of dragonfly and damselfly patrol the vegetated ditches during the summer. Warblers can be heard chattering in the reeds - Cetti's warbler can be distinguished by its loud, 'explosive' song.
Snake's head fritillary count at Iffley Meadows
Watch BBOWT's team perform the annual snake's head fritillary count at Iffley Meadows nature reserve.