The Banbury Ornithological Society owns four reserves and manages a further three.  You can find location information and access details here, together with a short description of the habitat and what is likely to be found on each of the reserves.

 

Dark Green Fritillary

Location: SP2950 - Access from Fosse Way B4455

Access to BOS members only, please contact warden This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for access details.

The reserve managed by the BOS covers approximately 16 ha which is surrounded by a further 18 ha of sympathetically managed arable land also owned by the Neal Trust.

The Neal Trust Reserve is the newest BOS reserve and comprises most of the land of high conservation value at Oxhouse Farm, Combrook in Warwickshire. Bordered on one side by the River Dene, the reserve is a mosaic of woodland and open grassland.

Breeding birds include great spotted and green woodpeckers, nuthatch, treecreeper, six species of tit and a good variety of warblers.  Fieldfare and redwing are seen in large numbers in winter.

There is an SSSI, 1.6 ha in area, which is excellent for butterflies in July and August and is the only breeding site for Dark Green Fritillary in Warwickshire.

Bluebells in Glyn Davies Wood © Mike Pollard

 

Location: SP462536 - on the Northants/Warwickshire boundary, between Wormleighton and Upper Boddington. Open access to BOS members at all times

SatNav location: 52.178446, -1.326630

Reserve Warden:  

A 3.2 ha deciduous wood, originally named Fox Covert was renamed Glyn Davies Wood when the BOS bought it in 1999 in memory of the Society's benefactor.

The wood lies on a south-west facing slope 140-155m above sea level on a geology of Jurassic clays. The presence of mature Oak standards, with ground cover of Bluebells indicates it is an ancient wood. Other tree species present include Ash, Sycamore and willow species, Aspen, Silver Birch, Field Maple and Wayfaring Tree, with an understorey of Hawthorn, Hazel, Blackthorn, Holly and Bramble. There is a circular path around the reserve.  A pond on the southern boundary has recently been re-excavated and attracts a good range of dragonflies. Breeding birds on the reserve include: Sparrowhawk, Tawny Owl, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Marsh Tit and, most importantly, the rapidly declining Willow Tit.

A number of boxes have been erected and are regularly used by Brown, Long-eared and Common Pipistrell Bat.  Both Purple and White-letter Hairstreak butterflies have been recorded on the Reserve.

 

N.B.  60% of this reserve may disappear to the development of HS2.

Location: SP391425 - On the road towards Balscote from the A422, Stratford Road, west of Banbury.  Open access to BOS members at all times.

SatNav location: 52.080718, -1.429958. Nearby postcode: OX15 6JT

 

Viewing is from a screen by the entrance and a short trail leads around the perimeter to a second viewing screen by a small, reed-fringed pond.  Please note that this path is closed from April to July to prevent disturbance to breeding birds.

 

Wardens:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Mark Ribbons

 

Purchased by the BOS in 1998, this 6.2 ha disused quarry site provides a wonderful wetland habitat for birds. Part of the reserve is a wetland flash area formed by seasonal rainfall that may dry out in summer. There is also a deep pool which retains water all year.

The wet area attracts breeding Lapwing and Little Grebe, passage waders in April/May and Snipe and Teal in winter.  Sand Martin breed in an artificial tower by the quarry.  Around 100 species of birds are seen annually at the reserve with around 30 species breeding there including Common Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Linnet and Yellowhammer.

The reserve is amonst the best sites in North Oxfordshire for butterflies with 24 species recorded including large numbers of Marbled White along with Common Blue, Small Copper and Small Heath.  The ponds and seasonal wetland have attracted 15 species of dragonfly.

The BOS management team, Steve Holliday and Mark Ribbons, are working to a 4-year rolling Reserve Management Plan.  The priority habitats for the reserve have been agreed as the seasonal wetland with its breeding Lapwings, Little Ringed Plovers and roosting Curlew, the unimproved grasslands which are particularly good for plants and invertebrates and the areas of scrub and hedgerow.

A major project in 2018 was the re-profiling of the quarry floor to tackle the long-standing challenge at the reserve of holding water longer into the summer when waders are breeding or roosting.  The wetland is rainwater-fed and regualr visitors will know that any water on site quickly evaporates if we have dry spells in spring and early summer.

With the help of an excavator and 6 ton dumper truck on site, with earth movement not seen since its days as a working quarry, we were able to provide more depth to areas of the quarry floor where seasonal flooding occurs and to create two new islands and new scrapes.  The excavation work was made possible by a grant from Trust for Oxfordshire's Environment (TOE) who have generously funded a number of projects for the BOS.

We have a small team of regular volunteers and any extra help would be greatly appreciated!  The main project at present is to remove young willow seedlings from the quarry floor to keep it open and suitable for waterbirds.  This work is currently supported by volunteer work parties from BBOWT and Wild Banbury helping with hedgerow and scrub management.

 

If you have any queries do get in touch.

Location: SP396356 - Access to BOS Members.  First-time visitors are asked to contact the warden Cliff May on 07960 623849 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.l, before your visit.  If you visit the reserve on your own, please inform someone of your visit as it is a remote site with few visitors.

PostCode for SatNav: OX15 5HL

Please only park at the bottom of the visitors' car park (the car park to the left, next to the driving range).  Sometimes the car park is full due to an event at the Golf Club, golfers take priority for the parking spaces.  Please check the Tadmarton Heath Golf Club website (https://www.tadmartongolf.com/opens)

  

Butterflies recorded include Marbled White, Common Blue and Small Copper.

A farmland habitat of 7.3ha was purchased by the BOS in 2005. The rotational bird crops grown on the arable section have proved successful in providing plenty of winter feed for reed bunting, dunnock and finches.  Management of the meadow has involved the planting of clumps of gorse, which have become valuable cover for small birds. Some old meadow plant species are establishing themselves, such as Common Spotted Orchid, Common Fleabane and Yellow Rattle.

Location: SP323302 - access from the minor road B4026 to Great Rollright from Chipping Norton.

Postcode for SatNav: OX7 5RE   What3Words:  lilac.spun.cones

Open access to all members and the public.

Warden:  Jan Guilbride

The reserve comprises a half-mile stretch (approximately 2 ha) of disused railway line through limestone brash farmland close to Great Rollright.

There is a good variety of flora and certain areas are kept free of scrub to enable orchids and other plant species to flourish. These more open areas are also favoured by sun-loving reptiles, such as Common Lizard and Grass Snake.  Glow-worm are present and a good number and range of butterflies.  Hare, Weasel and Harvest Mouse are present.

Blackcap and Chiffchaff are present annually and occasionally other species of warbler.  Farmland and woodland birds are present including Yellowhammer, Chaffinch and Bullfinch, Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Jay, Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker.

 

Location: SP578211 - Access to BOS keyholder members. For details please contact a committee member or Reserve Warden This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

PostCode for SatNav: OX25 2NY

Disturbance to the reserve is kept to a minimum by viewing from 2 tower hides or or the fenced paths.

Bicester Wetland Reserve is managed by the BOS on behalf of Thames Water.

This is a member-only site due to the hazardous nature of the site, heavy moving equipment and hazardous areas. Reserve manager Alan Peters instructs members on the safety features on the site, viewing from two hides. The site can be locked at any time by Thames Water, therefore keys are vital.

Created in 1999, Bicester Wetland Reserve was the result of an agreement between the BOS and Thames Water. The 7ha site was previously used for the disposal of sewage sludge from the nearby sewage treatment works. Channels and scrapes were excavated with supporting bunds and water control mechanisms.

Ten species of warbler have been recorded here of which nine have bred on the reserve. Other breeding species include Little Grebe, Moorhen, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Kingfisher and Reed Bunting. Water Rail and Barn Owl have also bred in some years.

Green Sandpiper is recorded in all months except May, Little Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper are regular passage migrants, with winter months hosting large numbers of Common Snipe and a few Jack Snipe - in all 22 species of wader have occurred.

Teal is the most numerous wintering duck with counts exceeding 400 birds with smaller numbers of Gadwall and Shoveler. Little Egret is now a common sight and Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Spoonbill and Glossy Ibis are rare visitors.  

Since regular recording started in 1999 150 bird species have been logged.

 

 

 

Location: SP461425 - Access from A422 and parking at Spiceball Park by Water Works.

Postcode for SatNav: OX16 3JJ

A district Wildlife Site

Managed by the BOS on behalf of Thames Water

3.5ha site of Scots Pine and Alder, originally planted by the Forestry Commission, laterly enhanced by areas of varied shrubs planted by the BOS.

A mixture of birds has been recorded from the site, including wintering Siskin and Lesser Redpolls and warblers in the summer.

The site is adjacent to Grimsbury Reservoir which is a popular dog walking area. BOS requests that dog walkers keep their dogs on short leads should they enter the woodland, particularly during the breeding season.

Anyone wanting to help maintain this reserve should contact Reg Tipping for dates of work parties.

This new paper, published on World Curlew Day on 21 April 2022, describes the current and historical status of the Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata in an area of 1200 square kilometres centred on Banbury.   Click here to link to the paper Read more ...

RSPB Hope Farm  –  Nature friendly farming                                                                            

At Hope Farm RSPB have developed a new method of farming that they can share with the farming community. RSPB took over Hope Farm in 2000, to demonstrate, research and encourage wildlife-friendly farming. Read more ...

A survey where observers are each given a randomly selected 1km square and record all species and numbers of each for a minimum period of 2 hours between 9am and noon. Read more ...

Website designed and built by Garganey Consulting