Nature Reserves

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Greenmoor Ponds, WoodcoteWebsiteStreet Map

Greenmoor Ponds, Woodcote
Managed by:Woodcote Parish Council
OS grid references:SU646812
Nearest postcodes:RG8 0RN
Usual work:Boardwalk construction

The two ponds at Greenmoor, located at the second-highest point of the South Oxfordshire Chilterns, cover an area of just over 1.5 acres. Due to its species richness and interesting historical background, the site is deemed both ecologically and historically significant.

History

The name Greenmoor (spelt sometimes Greenmore) is derived from Greenmere. Of Germanic origin, this translates quite literally as green pond or pool. The site is first mentioned in an 1109 document which confirms, on behalf of Henry I, the possessions of Eynsham Abbey. The ponds were situated on the edge of Woodcote Common, and people from outlying settlements would water their livestock at the ponds. This explains the name “Sheep Wash Pond”, given to the site on an early undated map.

Landscape and Habitat

There are two ponds at Greenmoor: the Upper Pond, and the Lower Pond. Although they are close in proximity, they are quite different in nature. The Upper Pond is shallow, densely vegetated, and its condition has remained fairly constant over the years. The Lower Pond, on the other hand, is deeper, less densely vegetated, and its water level has been steadily dropping over time - it is now some 2-metres lower than its original level.

Flora and Fauna

Two surveys were carried out by Pond Conservation, now Freshwater Habitats Trust, one in 1990, and the other in 2000. The surveys identified a rich fauna, including nine nationally-scarce species. Some of these include water beetles, frogs, toads, as well as smooth, palmate, and great crested newts. There is also a wide range of plants, especially at the Upper Pond.

Conservation Management

The site is managed by Woodcote Conversation Group (WCG) on behalf of the Parish Council. In previous years, WCG has been managing a project, along with Parish Council support, to try to work out the cause of the Lower Pond’s decreasing water level. A plan to restore the Lower Pond has been agreed, with South Oxfordshire Archaeological Group (SOAG) to follow a watching brief on any excavation work. English Heritage has also offered to act in an advisory capacity and will provide consultative support during each phase of the work.

Directions

Leave Oxford on the A4074. Continue on the A4704 past Wallingford then turn right onto the B471 (Goring Road) into Woodcote. Turn left onto Whitehouse Road and continue to the T-junction with Greenmore to the left and Long Toll to the right. There is limited road side parking on Greenmore. The Greenmoor Ponds site lies directly ahead, beyond Greenmore. For the 2018 boardwalk construction site, turn right onto Long Toll, then left onto Green Lane. The site is immediately to the left after approximately 300 meters. There is no parking on Green Lane.