Nature Reserves

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Rushy Meadows, KidlingtonStreet MapGoogle MapPhotos

Rushy Meadows
Assisted by:Natural England
OS grid reference:SP480 142
Nearest postcode:OX5 1FP
Usual work:Scrub clearance

Rushy Meadows are a group of privately owned wet meadows just West of the Oxford Canal in Kidlington. The meadows support a rich diversity of grassland flora and flora, largely because they have not be tampered with though use of ploughing, reseeding, fertilizers or herbicides. Rushy meadows are a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Meadows such as these are a national conservation priority and are therefore run under the Higher Level Stewardship scheme with Natural England acting as advisors to the three owners.

Flora and Fauna

Native flora species recorded at Rushy Meadows include water avens, betony, ragged robin, Devils bit scabious, marsh valerian, marsh orchid and pepper saxifrage. Within the wetter areas of the site tall wetland a variety of sedges, reeds and rushes have developed. There is limited tree cover, which makes the species rich hedgerows that separate the meadows important for flora, fauna, invertebrates, wildfowl and small mammals. Rushy Meadows also provide an important breeding site and habitat for the endangered British water vole. Although they no longer breed here, many Snipe are reported to overwinter at the meadows, whilst grasshopper warblers have been reported to visit the site during the Sumer months.

Conservation Management

The meadows are currently grazed by four Dexter cattle in order to maintain a low level of scrub so that the wild flora and fauna are not smothered by invasive species and can therefore flourish. It is also important to ensure that escaped garden plants are removed in order to retain the native flora and fauna are not crowded out by invasive species. The large number of willows that are encroaching on one side of the wetland meadows are to be thinned out with the assistance of OCV. While the hedgerow provides important habitat it too needs to be prevented from encroaching on the precious meadow though some scrub clearance.

Location

Travelling North from Oxford on Banbury Road A4260, turn off down Lyne Road and then down Partridge Place. At the level crossing turn right and park as the back of the houses. To get to the site, cross the railway line and the canal and bear right down a track, and climb over a field gate on the right.

Note that this is a privately owned site, so come to an OCV task here to see it.