Nature Reserves

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Aston's Eyot, OxfordWebsiteStreet MapGoogle MapPhotos

Aston's Eyot
Managed by:Friends of Aston's Eyot
OS grid reference:SP 522 050
Nearest postcode:OX4 1SR
Usual work:Willow Pollarding, ditch dredging

Just downstream from Christ Church Meadow, Aston's Eyot is a large 30-acre site - technically speaking an island (hence Eyot) - bordered by the Thames, Cherwell New Cut, and Shire Lake Ditch. The land is owned by Christ Church College and is managed by an vibrant and enthusiastic Friends group with some help from Oxford City Council. OCV works with the Friends group to carry out a mixture of conservation work at the site, including nettle mowing, watercourse dredging, and pollarding willows on the bank of the Shire Lake Ditch. Last year (2017), OCV celebrated its 40th anniversary working at the site.


OCV's 40th anniversary at Aston's Eyot

History

Until the mid 19th century, the low-lying riverside meadow that is Aston's Eyot was used as a mixture of grazing pasture and market gardens. It then fell out of productive use, and was subsequently used as a rubbish dump from late Victorian times up until the 1940s. Since then, a mixture of habitats has developed on the land - most notably open land ideal for wild flowers and scrub. There is now also some woodland produced by both intentional planting and spontaneous growth.

Directions

Leave central Oxford heading south on the Iffley Road (A4158). Approximately 1km after the roundabout at The Plain, turn right onto Jackdaw Lane. The locked, gated entrance to the reserve is at the far end of Jackdaw Lane, just beyond the metal salvage yard. Note that there is limited parking at weekends at the bottom of Bedford Street - i.e. at the junction of Bedford Street and Meadow Lane (see Google Maps). Access on foot is also possible via The Kidneys Nature Park which has several entrances from Meadow Lane.