Nature Reserves

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Sydlings Copse, North-East OxfordWebsiteStreet MapGoogle MapPhotos

Sydlings Copse
Managed by:BBOWT
OS grid reference:SP 5535 0945
Nearest postcode:Reserve:OX3 9TY, Parking:OX3 9TY
Usual work:Scrub clearance

Sydlings Copse is a diverse 22 hectare steep valley containing limestone grassland, heathland, wetland and ancient broadleaved woodland. The stream and a series of springs provide a rare example of fenland. The site is cared for by the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT), and supports over 400 species of flora as well as a variety of birds and insects. Sydlings Copse, along with College Pond, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Flora and Fauna

Noted flora within the limestone grassland include hairy violet, cowslip, common rock-rose, knapweed, marjoram, small scabious, yellow rattle and wild basil. Other flora at the site include amethyst deceiver, beech, bee orchid, bluebell, blunt-flowered rush, bog pimpernel, bracken, bramble, columbine, crab apple, early purple orchid, fly agaric, gorse, heather, herb-paris, holly, marsh helleborine, marsh-marigold, oak, parasitic toothwort, primrose, ramsons, scots pine, spindle-tree, sweet chestnut, sycamore, viper's-bugloss, wayfaring-tree, wild cherry, wild liquorice, wood anemone, wood spurge, woolly thistle and yellow archangel. A variety of fungi can also be found at the site.

Due to the variety of habitats and flora at the site there is also a large variety of fauna that thrive at Sydlings Copse. These include the butterflies brimstone, comma, marbled white, orange-tip, painted lady, purple hairstreak, red admiral, reed bunting, small copper and speckled wood. Other species recorded at the reserve include the bloody-nosed beetle, common lizard, linnet, fieldfare, grasshopper warbler, grass snake, grey squirrel, mistle thrush, redwings, reed warbler, slow-worm, solitary bee, stonechat, badger, red fox, roe deer, weasel and woodpecker.

Conservation Management

Sheltand sheep and New Forest ponies are used at Sydlings Copse in order to keep the grassland and fen free of invasive shrubs and to provide the ideal habitat for the native flora and fauna at the site that evolved alongside Britainís long history of raising grazing animals. Habitat piles have been created in order to provide shelter for insects such as solitary bees, and also lizards.


Leave the Oxford ring road at the Headington roundabout, taking Bayswater Road north through Barton. At the crossroads turn left on the B4027 towards Woodeaton and Islip. After 500m park opposite Royal Oak Farm. To get to Sydlings Copse take the bridleway for 600m, passing two small woods. The reserve is on the right 100m from the bridleway.