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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A 3.2 ha deciduous wood, originally named Fox Covert was renamed Glyn Davies Wood when the BOS bought it 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 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 - 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

Disturbance to the reserve is kept to a minimum by viewing from the screen.

Warden:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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, Little Grebe and Mallard and Little Ringed Plover. Sand Martin have bred in an artificial tower as have the local Tree Sparrows. 

The reserve also attracts many butterfly and dragonfly species.


Location: SP396356 - Access to BOS Members, please co-ordinate visiting and parking by phoning 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.

PostCode for SatNav: OX15 5HL

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 minor road to Great Rollright from Chipping Norton.

Postcode for SatNav: OX7 5RE

Open access to all members and the public.

Warden:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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 have also been recorded here.

Seven species of warbler have been recorded singing in spring.  Farmland birds including Yellowhammer, Chaffinch and Bullfinches, Goldcrest, Marsh Tit and Brambling are recorded regularly.


Bicester Wetland Reserve © Mike Pollard

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 hide or screen.

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 safety features of 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. Eight species of warbler have bred on the reserve. Other breeding species include Little Grebe, Moorhen, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Canada Goose and Reed Bunting.

Common Sandpiper is an annual visitor, as is Green Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover. Teal is the most numerous wintering duck with smaller numbers of Shoveler and Wigeon. Little Egret is now being seen more frequently and Bittern was recorded on the reserve in 2010.


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

Postcode for SatNav: OX16 3JJ

Open access to all members of the public.  Please keep to defined pathways.

Managed by the BOS on behalf of Thames Water

3.5ha site of Scots Pine and Alder, originally planted by the Forestry Commission.

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 report by the BOS reviews the population trends of Farmland and Woodland species in south central England compared to the whole of England for the 40 year period 1977 to 2016.  Read more ...

Bird Trends and Conservation needs - Mike Curnow and Mike Pollard

Mike Curnow has been working to produce a report on the bird trends in the BOS area compared to national trends.  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 ...

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