|Didcot to Upton Cycleway, West Hagbourne|
Local Nature Reserve & County Wildlife Site
|OS grid reference:||SU 519 878 (Foxglove Lane)|
|Nearest postcode:||OX11 0NW (Foxglove Lane)|
|Usual work:||Habitat creation|
This disused railway line was acquired by Sustrans, UK's leading sustainable transport charity, a few years ago for use as a cycle route. OCV have worked with Sustrans at a few locations along this cycle path, particularly an 11 mile section between Wantage and Didcot that has been proposed as a County Wildlife Site on account of the rare chalk grassland habitat. The steep south-facing banks with their exposed chalk soil provide an important habitat for various types of hymenoptera (bees, ants and wasps), which nest in the warm, bare ground. OCV have worked on this stretch of cycle path in order to remove the invasive scrub and allow rare species of hymenoptera to continue to thrive at the site.
Flora and fauna
A hymenoptera expert reported finding 100 types of insects in less than a mile of the track, which is a significant proportion of the 500 species that can be found within the British Isles.
Typical OCV conservation work at this site includes habitat creation, which includes scrub clearance to expose bare ground in which the diversity of hymenoptera can nest. The scrub removed is moved away from the breeding grounds so that the nutrient-poor soil is not enriched so that re-growth with virulent scrub is discouraged.
To get to West Hagbourne from Oxford, take the A34 south and turn off right at the Milton interchange towards Harwell. In Harwell turn left onto the A417 towards West Hagbourne. Leave the A417 by turning left onto Main Street, which will take you to the village of West Hagbourne. Foxglove Lane will be on your right in the village, just past Moor Lane. Follow the lane until you reach a bridge as the track passes under the railway line.