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Local natural environment

Chadlington Pocket Nature Reserve2We would like to add a description of the local natural environment here.

One new development is the Pocket Nature Reserve, recently started by the Wychwood Project.

Craig Blackwell, previously county ecologist for Oxfordshire, has written to us about why he volunteered to help with establishing the Pocket Nature Reserve on The Stocks at Chadlington.

“I was looking for suitable grassland sites in order to try and improve their potential for bumblebees. Bumblebees are generally having a hard time in the wider countryside but there appears to be opportunities for helping them out within more urban contexts such as towns and villages. The grassland at Chadlington already supported a few wild flowers and had the potential to become an even better habitat for various species of bumblebee.

West Oxfordshire District Council cut the area in October and James Aylward from the Wychwood Project, myself and a local resident got together later in the month to give it a further cut followed by scarification of the soil surface. Scarification involves shallow cultivation of the soil in order to create a suitable open seedbed. At this stage we then introduced seed of hay rattle. This is an attractive yellow flower, which bees like, that is semi-parasitic on grasses. This helps to weaken the vigour of grasses and makes it easier to introduce more wildflower species, such as knapweed and scabiouses, that are good for bumblebees.

The original idea was to start collecting seed from local road verge nature reserves such as the one to the south of Chadlington at the crossroads with the Charlbury Road. Any seed that is collected can then be sown at Chadlington and other similar sites over the coming years. It is a slow process but hopefully it will begin to pay dividends in the long-term.

Of course, the main point of the exercise is to attract bumblebees and it would be great if we could involve one or two locals to monitor the site and report back accordingly. A member of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust is leading a training day on bumblebee identification and if you know of anyone that would like to attend please ask them to get in touch (by commenting on this article via the website). It will be held between 10am-4pm, Monday 16th May at Over Norton Village Hall. The aim is to train people to undertake basic bumblebee surveys and report back their results to help influence future management.”

 

It could also be a good place to show pictures of local wildlife, especially frequent visitors we’re all familiar with, like Percy the red-legged partridge, seen here by Tony at Field Barn.20160124_094443

 

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