Nature Reserves

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Chinnor Hill, South OxfordshireStreet MapGoogle MapPhotos

Chinnor Hill
Local Nature Reserve
Managed by:BBOWT
OS grid reference:SP 766 002 (Car park)
Nearest postcode:OX39 4BJ
Usual work:Path maintenance, scrub clearance.

Chinnor Hill sits high on a steep slope in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, commanding excellent views across the Vale of Aylesbury. It is a rich mosaic of chalk grassland, mixed scrub, secondary and mature woodland habitats, and also has archaeological interest in the form of Bronze Age barrows and ancient "sunken ways". It is managed by BBOWT to preserve and increase the important chalk grassland, and also maintain the network of footpaths and bridleways that cross the reserve. OCV have worked here on scrub clearance, fencing, and footpaths.

Geography

Chinnor Hill is a 67 acre reserve sitting high on a steep chalk escarpment in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The steep, well-drained slopes are occupied by grasses and flowers which are adapted to thrive on the area's limestone bedrock, forming a nationally important habitat known as calcareous grassland. The cap of clay at the top of the hill supports mature deciduous woodland. The secondary scrub where grassland and woodland merge provides another interesting and valuable habitat.

Flora and Fauna

The open calcareous grassland supports a wealth of flowers and herbs typical of this species-rich habitat, such as Chiltern gentian, rock-rose, dwarf thistle, violet helleborine, thyme & marjoram, and various orchids (common spotted, pyramidal, bee, frog). Butterflies include common blue and marbled white. Glow worms can be seen on the grassy banks from May to July. Mature woodland of beech, ash and oak is home to woodpeckers, owls, tits and treecreepers. Understorey scrub species such as hazel, hawthorn, wayfaring tree, whitebeam and cherry are found where the woodland merges into the grassland, and act as an important shelter and food source for birds such as warblers, as well as mammals like the badger and the fox. You are bound to see red kites and buzzards circling above looking for easy pickings

Conservation Management


Steps with revetment

BBOWT's priority is to restore, improve, enhance and increase the important chalk grassland habitat so scrub clearance is undertaken using volunteers and grazing by a small herd of Dexter cattle. There is an established network of footpaths and bridleways that link up with the Ridgeway and Midshires Way National Trails, which provide access to the natural and historical interest of the site while minimizing visitor impact, and these are also maintained along with the car park; allowing the public to enjoy their natural heritage is as important for the purposes of nature conservation as preserving the heritage itself.

Directions

From Junction 6 on the M40, take the B4009 to Chinnor. Turn right at the main roundabout, cross the railway line and the Ridgeway Trail, and head up the hill for about half a mile, then take a sharp left towards High Wycombe and Bledlow Ridge. After 500m turn left into Hill Top Lane, and follow into surfaced car park.