Nature Reserves

Gallery pictureGallery pictureGallery pictureGallery pictureGallery picture

Tackley Heath, Tackley, OxfordshireStreet MapGoogle MapPhotos

Tackley Heath
Managed by:Tackley Parish Council
OS grid reference:SP 467 214
Nearest postcode:OX5 3EN
Usual work:Pond maintenance, scrub clearance

Tackley Heath contains a large number of species-rich habitats including broadleaved woodland, areas of mixed scrub, acidic grassland and rare heathland. There is also a large overgrown pond at the site that contains an unusually well-developed deep floating mat of vegetation, in addition to providing habitat for a variety of water fauna and invertebrates. Tackley Heath is a registered County Wildlife Site, mainly due to the presence of acidic heathland and grassland, which are rare within Oxfordshire.

OCV have assisted at this site by opening up a small glade beside the pond and will be assisting with maintenance of the pond.


Tackley Heath is sited on Oxford Clay that has become quite acidic.


The strip of woodland on the West of Tackley Heath, called Hall’s Copse, contains mainly mature oak trees alongside smaller numbers of silver birch and ash and an understorey that contains species including hazel, hawthorn, dogwood, honeysuckle and holly. There are also areas of beech, spruce and Scots pine. The woodland floor is abundant with flora, including wood false-brome and dog’s mercury. The Eastern strip of woodland contains large ash coppice stools and is rich with ground flora including greater stitchwort, wood anemone and yellow archangel. Ancient woodland indicator species are found within both woodland areas, particularly in the Eastern strip. These species include field maple, wild crab apple, holly, bluebell, pignut, early dog violet, bush vetch, three-nerved sandwort, primrose, wood anemone, giant fescue, wood sedge and wood meadow-grass.

In areas that used to be less shaded, such as the path and areas around the pond, meadow crane’s-bill and common spotted orchid can be found. There is a large area of bracken at the site, in addition to areas of mature blackthorn and gorse. Within the acidic grassland tormentil and pill sedge can be found.

The Tackley Heath pond is enclosed by grey willow and contains an unusually well-developed deep floating mat of fauna in the centre. A diverse range of species are found within the pond, including water forget-me-not, gypsywort, water plantain, cuckoo flower, celery-leaved water crowfoot, compact rush, soft rush. Small numbers of the rare bladder sedge are found at the edge of the pond. Moist areas near the pond are home to enchanters nightshade, water figwort, brooklime, hogweed, bugle and a variety of ferns to name a few.


The Tackley Heath pond is home to numerous species including an abundance of freshwater shrimp, newts, soldier fly and caddis fly. The soldier fly is a rare local species that is only found in the South of England. There are also numerous species of water beetles, leeches, water snails and flies. The abundance and range of species of flies indicates the value of the floating mat of vegetation within the pond. The oxygenated leaf litter and silt in the pond provides an ideal home to invertebrates including dragonflies and damselfly, such as the southern hawker and the large red, which have been recorded at the edge of pond.

Butterflies recorded at Tackley Heath include large skipper, gatekeeper, ringlet, meadow brown, red admiral and white admiral. Grey squirrels, moles, muntjac deer and a large variety of birds, including the lesser whitethroat, are also found at the site.

Conservation Management

In order to maintain and enhance the diverse habitats at Tackley Heath pond, light levels are maintained through selective scrub clearance and creation of sunny margins and glades. Invasive species such as the blackthorn and bracken are controlled in order to maintain and enhance the acid heathland and grassland.


Tackley Heath is located between the Tackley Wood and Tackley, to the East of the A4260 that goes from Banbury to the North to Kidlington to the South. From Oxford, leave the ring road at the North on the A44, and then take the A4095 towards Kidlington, before joining the A4260. Ignore the first turning on your right to Tackley, but take the second road (Ball Lane) to the town. Tackley Heath will be on your right, immediately after a kennels. There is a small lay-by beside the site.