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Bernwood Meadows

Traditional hay meadows from yesteryear, brimming with wild flowers and insects including green-winged orchids and forester moths.

Ancient meadows

Lady's bedstrawThis is a wonderful nature reserve to visit from April to early July when the wild flowers are in bloom and butterflies abound. Over 100 plant species have been recorded here thanks to BBOWT's careful management, and it is worth just standing quietly for a moment to take in the buzz and hum of the insects and the spectrum of colour. Don't leave it too late to visit though, as between July and August hay is cut to encourage the growth of next year's flowers.

A natural paintbox

Lady's bedstraw with its clusters of tiny yellow flowers is scattered across the meadows. Green-winged orchids - now uncommon due to the widespread drainage of wet meadows - flourish here in their thousands. Plant communities reflect differences in the soil below. While wetter furrows support damp-loving rushes, meadowsweet and cuckooflower, the drier ridges have species such as meadow buttercup. 

Butterfly and moth heaven

These meadows are also famous for the quantity and variety of butterflies. Carefully managed ancient hedgerows support the rare black and brown hairstreak butterflies. Grassland butterflies include the marbled white, meadow brown, small copper and the dainty common blue. Many day-flying moths can also be seen here, including the burnet companion and the distinctive metallic green forester moth.

Living Landscape

This reserve is part of our Bernwood Forest project: a five-year project to enhance and recreate the woodland, meadow and hedgerow habitats across five BBOWT nature reserves on the Buckinghamshire-Oxfordshire border.

Things to do

Your photos

Share your Bernwood Meadows photographs with us! Add them to our Flickr group, and tag them with 'bernwood meadows'.

Nearby nature reserves

Asham Meads
2 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Whitecross Green Wood
2 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Sydlings Copse
3 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

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Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Reserve information

7 miles north-east of Oxford, 1 mile south of
OX33 1BJ
Map reference
SP 606 111
Great for...
spring flowers
Best time to visit
Mar - Aug
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
7.50 hectares
Walking information
Flat, some bumpy ground, soft after rain; kissing gates
Surfaced car park on the Stanton St John to Oakley road, half mile south-west of Bernwood Forest main entrance
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Tel: 01442 826774

Smartphone Safari

Every weekend on BBC Radio Berkshire and BBC Radio Oxford we broadcast a Smartphone Safari. Listen along as we explore some of our fantastic reserves and introduce you to the wildlife you can see.