|Managed by:||Vale of White Horse District Council, BBOWT|
|OS grid reference:||SU 240 900|
|Nearest postcode:||SN6 8TB|
|Usual work:||Dam construction, thistle pulling|
Tuckmill Meadow contains an exquisite combination of streamside fen, meadow, woodland, hedgerows and flora-rich limestone grassland. It has been a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) since 1975 due to the remnants of calcareous fen and species-rich complex of neutral and calcareous grassland at the site.
Tuckmill Meadow is within a valley created by Pennyhookx Brood. The fen is sited upon poorly-drained alluvial soils and is fed by springs at the junction of Lower Corallian and alluvium beds. Beneath the grassland is mixture of alluvium, sands and silts of the Lower Corallian and limestone Coral Rag.
Species found within the fen at Tuckmill Meadow include the herbs water forget-me-not, water mint, brooklime and celery-leaved buttercup, which grow alongside greater pond-sedge, common reed, meadowsweet, great willowherb, reed sweet-grass, branched bur-reed and lesser water-parsnip. Within the unimproved grassland that runs alongside the fen pepper saxifrage, spiked sedge, Yorkshire fog, creeping buttercup, rough meadow-grass and cuckoo flower are among the species that can be found. Pennyhooks Brook that runs through the valley supports a variety of pond weeds and fool’s watercress.
A range of grassland types make up the side valley at Tuckmill Meadow. The dry calcareous grassland supports species such as sheep's fescue, false oat grass, lady's bedstraw, cowslip and salad burnet. The base-rich marshy grassland at the site is dominated by Yorkshire fog, tufted hair-grass and greater pond sedge, although some wetland herbs including marsh marigold, southern marsh-orchid, yellow loosestrife, yellow iris and ragged robin have also been recorded.
The area of woodland at the site contains sycamore, ash and aspen alongside an understory of hawthorn, elder and hazel. Crack willow can be found bordering the woodland and fen, while cock’s-foot, tufted hair-grass, dog’s mercury, false brome and ferns can be found on the woodland floor.
The fen at Tuckmill Meadow provides a species-rich habitat for invertebrates such as the solder fly, 19-spot ladybird, snake fly, dingy footman moth, numerous species of hoverfly and two rare types of spider. Pennyhooks Brook is inhabited by flatworms, snails, leeches, the fish bull-head, stone loach and a wide range of aquatic insects including damselflies usually associated with unpolluted waters.
Numerous species of birds have been recorded at Tuckmill Meadow, including reed warbler, kingfisher, reed bunting, flycatcher, chiff-chaff, moorhen, sedge warbler and grey heron. Water voles and badgers also inhabit the site.
It is of great importance to preserve the rare wetland at Tuckmill Meadow. To this end OCV have constructed a dam at the site to make the fen wetter. Within the grassland it is also important to ensure a diverse range of flora and fauna by reducing numbers some of the more invasive species such as thistle that need to be pulled before they seed. This allows a more diverse range of species the time and space to flourish.
Tuckmill meadow is located between Shrivenham and Watchfield, just off the A420 to Swindon. Leave the Oxford ringroad heading East on the A420 to Swindon. Continue on the A420 past Watchfield and turn left onto Pennyhooks Lane, near the Shrivenham Park Golf Course.