Lashford Lane Fen

Jim Asher

Lashford Lane Fen

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

Location

4 miles south-west of Oxford nr Abingdon
Oxfordshire
OX13 6DY

OS Map Reference

SP468011
A static map of Lashford Lane Fen

Know before you go

Size
7 hectares

Entry fee

No

Parking information

0.5 miles north of Dry Sandford village on Lashford Lane, unsurfaced car park 200m before Besselsleigh Road.

Grazing animals

Yes

Access

Flat, wet ground; bridges and boardwalks. Not suitable for pushchairs.

Dogs

Guide dogs only

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

All year round

About the reserve

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

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

Explore Cothill Fen, one of the most diverse wildlife areas in Oxfordshire, by downloading our circular walk leaflet. Try our circular Wildlife Walk (1 mile). Just follow the badger waymarkers. 

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)
Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)