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Chimney Meadows

An ancient landscape and a vital refuge for wading birds, Chimney Meadows is the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust's largest nature reserve in Oxfordshire.

Find out about our successful appeal to extend Chimney Meadows to include the ancient meander of Duxford Old River here.

Restoring a wildlife haven

Chimney Meadows by Peter GathercoleOnce a commercial farm, the rich wildlife of this remote and tranquil place has been restored since the Trust started looking after it in 2003. Fields once planted with wheat and barley are now colourful, species-rich wildflower meadows. Previously heavily grazed pastures are now nationally-important wetlands and home to wading birds. This type of habitat is important for its remarkable diversity of plant-life and as a home to nationally declining wading birds such as curlew, which breed here.

Seasonal highlights.

In spring and summer these grasslands are transformed by an ever-changing display of wild flowers that attract busy communities of insects. In April and early May cowslips are in flower, whilst in June and July, plants such as yellow rattle, common knapweed, oxeye daisy and pepper-saxifrage can be found in abundance.

Wonderful wetland vista

The large hide overlooking our wetland area provides views of feeding cormorant, little egret and kingfisher. At the smaller hide, which overlooks our northern pond, you can see little grebe, jay and long-tailed tit.

A Living Landscape

Chimney Meadows is our largest nature reserve and its fields are part of an ancient landscape, created by the Thames and shaped by centuries of farming. It forms part of the Upper Thames Living Landscape, a Wildlife Trust project to create space for wildlife and people together.

Coronation Meadow

Chimney Meadows is one of three of BBOWT’s most charismatic wildflower meadows that have been named Coronation MeadowsHRH Prince Charles, as patron of RSWT, Rare Breeds Survival Trust and Plantlife, initiated the Coronation Meadows project. It celebrates the historic and extraordinary diversity of meadows, and encourages the creation of many more in the next 60 years through seeds and green hay from the Coronation sites. 

Coronation Meadows represent a certain ethos; an attitude towards farming, rearing livestock and an appreciation of the value of farmland wildlife that has allowed these fragments of flower rich grassland to survive over the decades. Chimney Meadows, Moor Copse and Upper Ray Meadows are prime examples of a Coronation Meadow because they are rich in a wealth of wild flowers. On each reserve there are meadows which have been regenerated using green hay from nearby land, a natural spread of species from field to field.

The meadows are managed carefully using traditional farming methods, sometimes with rare breed livestock for conservation grazing. Ancient hedgerows and tracks connect each meadow to the next these are just as important for wildlife as the meadows themselves. They help to create patchworks of habitats greater than their individual parts. 

Coronation Meadows is supported by Biffa Award.

Thank you to our supporters

The Heritage Lottery Fund supported the Wildlife Trust in 2003 when BBOWT had the opportunity to buy the land at Chimney Meadows and transform it into a wildlife haven.



Since 2013 WREN, a Landfill Communities Fund distributor, has funded management work at Chimney Meadows through the Biodiversity Action Fund.

Reserve champions - BBOWT members supporting their favourite reserve

Jackie and Eric Lewis-Leaning

Things to do

Your Chimney Meadows photographs

Share your photographs of Chimney Meadows with us! Just add them to our BBOWT flickr group, and tag them with 'chimneymeadows'.

Nearby nature reserves

Hitchcopse Pit
6 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Parsonage Moor
7 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Dry Sandford Pit
7 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Reserve information

9 miles west of Abingdon
OX18 2EH
Map reference
SP 354 013
Great for...
getting away from it all
overwintering birds
Best time to visit
Jan - Dec
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
261.00 hectares
Living Landscape schemes
Upper Thames Living Landscape Project
Some paths and the two bird hides are suitable for people with limited mobility. Contact BBOWT for further information.
Walking information
Flat terrain, bumpy underfoot, boggy in winter; bridge and gates. Wellingtons required to cross ford at Great Brook and Duxford, may be impassable if water level is high.
From A420 take the road signposted to Tadpole Bridge and Bampton. Turn right just after Tadpole Bridge and Trout Inn, follow signs to Aston, then Chimney. (If this road is closed in winter due to flooding, drive to Bampton and follow signs to Chimney.) Park in designated BBOWT car park (signposted) on the left at the entrance to the nature reserve. Please don't park within Chimney hamlet.
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Tel: 01367 870904

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.