Nature Reserves

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Hanborough Parish, OxfordshireWebsiteStreet MapGoogle MapPhotos

Hanborough Parish
Managed by:Hanborough Parish Council
OS grid reference:SP 432 139
Nearest postcodeOX29 8LA
Usual work:Path maintenance

All of Church Hanborough and parts of Long Hanborough are designated as conservation areas. Part of Long Hanborough is also in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is found between the two villages at the Long Hanborough gravel pit.

Hanborough is located in an area designated as one of ‘high landscape value’ and residents are fortunate to have access to the surrounding countryside from every direction through a network of footpaths which provide a number of very attractive ‘circular walks’. At the northern edge there are views over the Blenheim Estate, a World Heritage Site. On its southern edge, Church Hanborough is a designated conservation area.

Flora and Fauna

Hanborough Parish contains a wide variety of habitats, including Alluvial lowland, river meadows and woodland. Areas of woodland have been continually wooded for over 400 years and contain an ash, field maple and oak canopy, alongside conifers and the wild service tree. The woodland floor is home to bluebells, early purple orchid, wood anemone, yellow archangel and primrose and. Butterflies such as the purple hairstreak, wood white and white admiral have been recorded in the wood.

The limestone grassland provides habitat for the rare and protected meadow clary, as well as harebell and the pyramidal orchid. Bullfinch, skylark, linnet, song thrush, and a nationally rare snail are among the species recorded within the wooded valley slopes within the parish.


Hanborough is sited upon a mixture of yellow limestone and Oxford clay mudstone, both dating from the Jurassic period and containing fossilised marine organisms. Overlaying the bedrock are various forms of dift dating from the ice age. These include large brown water-worn pebbles carried from the Middlands by ice drifts and water, and a gravel deposit that underlies most of Long Hanborough. Fossils discovered at the SSSI site Pleistocene Hanborough Terrace of the Evenlode Valley include molluscan fossils and vertebrate remains. Rare Palaeolithic hand axes have also been recovered from the gravel. The valley floor comprises of a soft river silt that is in it’s present position due to local river flooding over the past ten thousand years.

Conservation Management

OCV have assisted maintenance of the path through this site by removing turf that was encroaching on the path. This is important work since providing a clear and obvious path not only provides public access for all, but also helps encourage visitors to remain on the designated paths rather than trampling over the wild flora and fauna at the site.


Leave Oxford heading North on the A44 towards Evesham and Woodstock. After passing Begbroke take a left onto the A4095 towards Bladon and Witney. Long Hanborough is on this road. To reach the Playing Fields in Long Hanborough continue along the A4095 until you get to a roundabout in the middle of the village with the Co-op store on the right hand side. Take the left turn up Church Road. Half way up Church Road take the first left turn along Roosevelt Road and continue straight ahead into a side bit of Pinsley Road. The gates of the Playing Field should be clear straight ahead. Note that there are other sites where OCV can work within this parish, so come via the free OCV mini bus, or join the mailing list to get an email from the task leader to find out where to park.