Know before you go
Parking informationFrom Headington roundabout, take Bayswater Road north through Barton; turn left on B4027; after 500 m park opposite Royal Oak Farm; take bridleway for 600 m, passing two small woods; reserve is on right 100 m from bridleway.
Circular Wildlife Walk (0.75 miles) - follow the badger waymarkers.
Sloping; flat sections, steep slopes, soft patches; kissing gate, steps. Not suitable for pushchairs.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitAll year round
About the reserve
The diversity of this small nature reserve is quite staggering. Boasting ancient broadleaved woodland, limestone grasslands, reedbed, fen, a stream and rare Oxfordshire heathland, the reserve supports over 400 plant species. The site is also teeming with birds and insect life; butterflies include the purple hairstreak, brown hairstreak, common blue and marbled white.
Sequence of flowers
In spring, cowslips and hairy violets begin a procession of changing colour in the flower-rich grassland. This festival peaks in summer with a display of knapweed, small scabious, yellow rattle, common rock-rose, wild basil and marjoram.
The heath's gorse, with its coconut-scented flowers, attracts flocks of linnet. Lizards can often be seen basking in this sunshine on stacked log piles. Grass snakes and slow-worms can occasionally be glimpsed. The unusual nutrient-poor sandy soil provides a perfect niche for heath specialists including heather and a diverse community of solitary wasps and bees that live in burrows in the sand.
Reserve champions - supporting their favourite reserve
Things to do
- Try our circular Wildlife Walk (3/4 mile). Just follow the badger waymarkers.
- We run regular work parties on the reserve.