Nature Reserves

Gallery pictureGallery pictureGallery pictureGallery pictureGallery picture

Jubilee Fields and Long Meadow, Wootton, West OxfordshireStreet MapGoogle MapPhotos

Jubilee Fields and Long Meadow
County Wildlife Site
Managed by:Wootton Conservation Trust
OS grid reference:SP 442 197
Nearest postcode:OX20 1EN
Usual work:Fencing, general reserve management

Jubilee Fields and Long Meadow is a beautiful site between the river Glyme and the river Dorn that contains lowland wet meadow, dry calcareous grassland, woodland and scrub habitats. Jubilee Fields were purchased from the Duke of Marlborough by the Wootton Conservation Trust (with help from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation) in 2003 to mark the Queen’s jubilee. The intention is to provide a nature reserve managed for a diversity of wildlife whilst also allowing public access. At the top of the hill is also an earthwork that is thought to be a Neolithic long barrow.

Flora and Fauna

The river banks at Jubilee Fields and Long Meadow provide habitat for a variety of limestone grassland flora and fauna, including cowslip, pyramidal orchid, hairy violet and knapweed. Water avens, forget-me-not, ragged robin, salad burnet and pepper saxifrage are among the species present in the water meadows. Within the grazed pastures lady's bedstraw and marsh bedstraw can be found in abundance during summer. Blackthorn and hawthorn are examples of the scrub found the site that provide dense nesting cover for birds. The woodland contains a mixture of deciduous species such as oak and field maple, while there is also a new copse on the site that was planted by young people from Wootton in 2008. The bullfinch, which is a species of national nature conservation priority due to its reducing population, has been recorded at this site, alongside several rare species of insects.

Conservation Management

The grassland at Jubilee Fields and Long Meadow is managed through grazing by sheep and cattle under the Environmentally Sensitive Areas Scheme in order to prevent scrub from invading the important habitats. OCV have assisted at the reserve through a number of tasks, including constructing fences and gates, stream unblocking, bridge repair, hedgelaying, scrub clearance and general reserve maintenance. Work done to build fences, gates and stiles at precious areas of the site that provide habitat for wetland wildfowl helps to discourage access by dogs thereby protecting the wildlife save-haven. Fences constructed by OCV also allow cattle to graze the meadows by preventing them from churning up boggy ground in winter, but proving a lift-out gate so that the area can be grazed in summer when it is dry.

Pollarding is also done over winter at the site in order to preserve the trees and the associated flora, fauna and invertebrates that rely on the nooks and crannies of these old trees. Pollarding also greatly reduces the risk that willows overhanging the river will collapse thereby blocking the river and causing problematic flooding of the meadows. In previous years OCV have assisted in unblocking the stream from branches brought down in storms that had formed natural damns leading to unusually prolonged flooding at the site. OCV have helped clear up after pollarding by burning some of the brash and creating habitat piles from the debris.

Directions

Jubilee Fields and Long Meadow is to the East of Wootton. Leave Oxford on the A44 and head towards Woodstock. Stay on the A44 past Woodstock, until you reach a turning for Wootton (West End/Top Lane). Follow West End, then Horses Land through Wooton and turn right onto Milford Lane, heading East out of the village. After a few hundred yards Milford Place goes off to your left and there is a gate on your right to Jubilee Fields and Long Meadow.