Nature Reserves

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Chilswell Valley, OxfordWebsiteStreet MapGoogle MapPhotos

Chilswell Valley
Managed by:Oxford City Council
OS grid reference:SP 502 037
Nearest postcode:OX1 5AP
Usual work:Scrub clearance

Chilswell Valley is a small limestone valley of about 6 hectares just outside the Oxford ring road at South Hinksey that was created by springlines draining from the Corallian ridge West of Oxford. It was bought by the Oxford Preservation Trust in 2007 and is managed by Oxford City Council. The site supports a variety of important habitats including a reed bed, mature woodland and limestone grassland. OCV have assisted the Oxford City Council to maintain the balance between the species-rich limestone grassland and scrub through selective scrub clearance. This urban fringe nature reserve is often referred to as the “happy valley”.

Flora and Fauna

There are a mixture of habitats at Chilswell valley including a reed bed to the East, calcareous grassland to the West, and a deciduous woodland in the centre. Example grassland flora to be found at this site include rock rose, liquorice, sainfoin, bee orchid and pyramidal orchid.

Conservation Management

Key to preserving the species-rich limestone grassland at Chilswell Valley is the prevention of scrub encroaching on the grassland. This achieved through a mixture of selective scrub clearance, with the assistance of OCV and grazing.


Chilswell Valley is just outside the A34 section of the Oxford Ring road. Leave the A34 at South Hinksey, but head away from South Hinksey where a golf course and garden centre are outside the ring road. Chilswell Valley is accessible from Chilswell Path, or from a public footpath from South Hinksey.

Oxford City Council Nature Reserves