Oxey Mead

Jim Asher

Oxey Mead

Dating back to before the Domesday Book, Oxey Mead is an ancient floodplain meadow graced by a variety of grasses and wild flowers, insects and birds.

Location

3.5 miles north-west of
Oxford
Oxfordshire
OX2 8GZ (nearest)

OS Map Reference

SP478107
A static map of Oxey Mead

Know before you go

Size
8 hectares

Entry fee

No

Parking information

Parking in lay-by on A40 1.25 miles west of the A40/A44 (Wolvercote) roundabout; walk 0.75 miles east along A40 to reserve entrance.

Grazing animals

Yes

Access

Flat; wet in winter and spring; stiles, gate

Dogs

On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

March to August

About the reserve

Medieval meadows

This small nature reserve is an echo of a bygone era, a time when swathes of wild flowers and butterflies were found in profusion in England's meadows and pastures. Between 1930 and 1984 an estimated 97% of these lowland grasslands went under the plough, or were drained.

Ox hay and cherry wood

Oxey (once Oxhay) is one of several surviving ancient 'lot' meadows near the city of Oxford which date to medieval times. Each year, villagers were alloted a strip of land to till by entering a lottery using cherry wood balls - each ball still carries the name of a 13th- or 14th-century villager.

Pageant of colour

In spring and summer, visitors are treated to a changing pageant of wild flowers, some as high as the swaying grasses. In early summer, the crimson heads of great burnet tower over smaller flowers such as common bird's-foot-trefoil, fairy flax and yellow rattle. In turn, the wild flowers attract butterflies including orange-tip, meadow brown and ringlet. Look out for the day-flying chimney sweeper moth with its distinctive black wings. Grasshoppers, spiders and beetles are also found in abundance.

Bird life

Skylarks sometimes hover high overhead. Waders such as snipe and redshank may be seen in the wetter winter months. 

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)