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.

COVID-19 Update June 1st 2020: Please refer to our home page for the latest status before travelling to a reserve: Home.

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 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 - 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.

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, 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.

Your new BOS management team, Steve Holliday and Mark Ribbons, will be working to the new Reserve Management Plan developed over the past few years. 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 butterflies, and the areas of scrub and hedgerow.

Our first big project has been the long-awaited re-profiling of the quarry floor. The aim of this was to tackle the long-standing challenge at the reserve to hold water longer into the summer when waders are breeding or roosting. Regular visitors will know that any water on site quickly evaporates if we have dry spells in spring and early summer.

From 24-28 September 2018, we had a large 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 new scrapes where we removed an invasive pondweed which was blanketing areas of the wetland. 

The excavation work was made possible by a generous grant from Trust for Oxfordshire's Environment (TOE) covering 3 days of work and transport of the machinery to and from site. TOE have funded projects for BOS before including Roger's sand martin tower on the reserve.

We have a small team of regular volunteers and any extra help would be greatly appreciated! Please note our practical work is limited to an equivalent of light gardening. It is mostly pruning or lopping the scrub which is encroaching on the grassland and wetland or raking areas of cut grass. To take part please wear stout footwear and suitable clothing. Much of the scrub is blackthorn and hawthorn so thick gloves and protective glasses are needed. We have some spare glasses on site. Please bring secateurs and loppers if you have them.

If you have any queries do get in touch.

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:  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 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 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 ...

Details for this meeting will be pubished here and in the newsletter closer to the time.


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