Reconnecting Bernwood, Otmoor and the Ray

Bernwood Meadows by Wendy Tobitt

Bernwood Meadows by Wendy Tobitt

Reconnecting Bernwood, Otmoor and the Ray

An exciting new initiative to restore nature and support rural communities in this fascinating landscape sitting across the Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire border.


The 300km2 Bernwood Otmoor Ray (BOR) landscape lies between the large urban centres of Oxford, Bicester and Aylesbury. It contains nationally important but increasingly fragmented habitats such as ancient woodland, species-rich grassland and floodplain meadows. Rare species supported by these habitats include black and brown hairstreak butterflies, curlew, Bechstein’s bats and great crested newts.

The area includes BBOWT’s Bernwood Forest and Ray Valley Living Landscape.

Since 2022, BBOWT has led a feasibility study to draw out the most immediate opportunities for nature and people in the BOR landscape, thanks to funding from Buckinghamshire Council. More than 200 people were consulted including environmental groups, Local Authorities, statutory agencies, landowners, farmers, and communities.

Further to this consultation, stakeholders have agreed on a core set of six priority project concepts, which will form the basis of a new landscape-scale programme of work. These projects will help to ensure that vitally important BOR sites are protected, restored, extended and connected up at scale for the benefit of wildlife and people.

Find out more in BBOWT’s new call to action report:

Reconnecting Bernwood, Otmoor and the Ray: Call to Action Report     Reconnecting Bernwood, Otmoor and the Ray: Summary Report

Full report      

 Four-page summary


Projects include:

  • a farmer cluster group to enable better connected habitats and wildlife corridors across agricultural land;
  • health and wellbeing, nature connection and volunteering projects with local communities;
  • a hedges and edges project to create coherent ecological corridors and empower people to support nature’s recovery on their doorstep;
  • a woodland project to protect and restore ancient woodland sites around Bernwood Forest;
  • and longer-term, an ambitious river restoration project to develop the Ray river valley into a nationally important wetland complex.
A map showing the threats and opportunities for nature and people in the Bernwood, Otmoor and Ray landscape

Click the map to read about threats and opportunities for nature and people in the BOR landscape.

What next?


The BOR landscape is worthy of multi-million pound, multi-year investment from a range of public and private sources. BBOWT is now exploring funding options to help build on and deliver the vision for nature’s recovery in this very special landscape working with communities, businesses and other partners.


Please contact us to find out more