2019 Survey Highlights from Oxfordshire

Article written by Julie Kerans, Oxfordshier Biodiversity Officer

This year TVERC carried out surveys of 37 existing and proposed Local Wildlife Sites in Oxfordshire. Thanks to the help of our volunteers, specialist species group surveys were completed on several sites for invertebrates and rare plants. Species data entry is almost complete with over 5400 records added.

Areas surveyed this year included a particularly botanically rich site adjacent to the River Glyme near Wootton. It has dry calcareous grassland banks dominated by upright brome with quaking grass, salad burnet, common bird’s-foot-trefoil, dwarf thistle, rough hawkbit, lady’s bedstraw, black knapweed, common restharrow, cowslips, wild thyme, hoary plantain, mouse-ear hawkweed and fairy flax. Lower lying ground by the river has fen dominated by a mix of meadowsweet, rushes, pond sedges and grasses including reed canary-grass with marsh marigold, southern marsh orchids, common marsh bedstraw, fen bedstraw, water mint, bugle, common meadow rue, marsh thistle, tufted vetch, flag iris and greater bird’s-foot-trefoil. There is one patch of the water avens, which is scarce in Oxfordshire.

The numbers of typical/indicator species for lowland calcareous grassland recorded here compares well with those recorded in previous surveys:

As, do those for lowland fen communities:

*Some caution is needed when making comparisons in species counts as the time of year that the surveys were carried out, number of surveyors and amount of time spent on site can all effect the numbers recorded.

As well as being a Local Wildlife Site, Ewelme Watercress Beds is a Local Nature Reserve. It consists of areas of traditional cressbed situated along the course of a chalk stream, that have been restored by a local group. It also includes areas of reed sweet-grass swamp and scrub.  Stream water-crowfoot is also found on the site, along with a range of other wetland plants such as bulrush, hard rush, square-stalked St. John’s-wort, flag iris, purple loosestrife, blue water-speedwell, brooklime and water figwort. The local group have created an area of meadow adjacent to the watercourse with meadowsweet, black knapweed, oxeye daisy, pyramidal orchid, betony, devil’s-bit scabious, yellow rattle and cowslip. This area will be considered as an extension to the LWS at the next selection panel meeting.

Posted: November 25, 2019