Nature Reserves

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Fields at Hook Norton Cutting, North OxfordshireStreet MapGoogle MapPhotos

Fields at Hook Norton Cutting
Managed by:Privately owned
OS grid reference:SP 355 311
Nearest postcodeOX7 5SG
Usual work:Ragwort pulling

The field at Hook Norton Cutting consists of species-rich calcareous lowland grassland, it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and managed under the Higher Level Stewardship scheme (HLS). The site is important for the interesting geology, and the species of bees and butterflies that inhabit the site.

Geology and History

Hook Norton is sited on Jurassic rock sections of the late Bajocian/early Bathonian formations. Recognised as being among the most important sections of the Chipping Norton Formation, it is thought to be vital in the understanding of some of the fundamental changes from the Middle Jurassic successions.

Flora and Fauna

The unimproved species-rich grassland at the fields Hook Norton provides habitat for species including burnet saxifrage, false oat grass, upright brome, field scabious, glaucous sedge, birdís-foot trefoil, adderís tongue, centaury, cowslip, wild carrot, kidney vetch and ox-eye daisy. The grassland and scrub supports numerous species of bees and butterflies including the dark green fritillary, marbled white, white-letter hairstreak and meadow brown.

Conservation Management

The fields at Hook Norton Cutting provide a large variety of diverse habitats in a relatively small space. There is, however, an abundance of ragwort at the site, which is poisonous for grazing animals. Since grazing animals provide optimum conditions for grassland flora and fauna to thrive the main conservation management done at the site is that of ragwort pulling. This will be a new site for OCV in 2010.

Directions

Hook Norton Cutting is a quarter of a mile south of Hook Norton Village. Leave Oxford heading North on the A44 to Evesham and Chipping Norton. At the Southcombe junction near the Chipping Norton Gold Club leave the A44 by taking a right onto the A3400 towards Stratford. At the next roundabout take the third exit onto the A361 towards Banbury. Follow this road until taking a left towards Hook Norton. You will see a road go off to the right to Swerford, but carry straight on towards Hook Norton. Parking is at the left side of the road near the gateway, before the collapsed bridge. This site is just across the road from the BBOWT Hook Norton Cutting site which OCV regulars may be familiar with already.