Nature Reserves

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Deddington Parish, North OxfordshireWebsiteStreet MapGoogle MapPhotos

Deddington Parish
Managed by:Deddington Parish Council
OS grid references:SP 471 315 (Deddington Castle)
SP 489 317 (Clifton)
SP 459 316 (Windmill Centre copse)
Nearest postcodes:OX15 0TE (Deddington Castle)
OX15 0PT (Clifton)
OX15 0UN (Windmill Centre copse)
Usual work:Hedgelaying, fencing, copse management, path revetment

The Parish of Deddington consists of Clifton, Deddington and Hempton, and covers some 4,000 acres. The parish contains a large variety of traditional hedges, avenues of trees and areas of copse that the parish council maintains as habitats for a diversity of wildlife. The River Swere, the River Cherwell and the Sowbrook (or Sor Brook) provide three of the four boundaries to the Parish. Deddington was District Winner in the Cherwell Large Villages category of the Oxfordshire Calor Village of the Year Competition 2006.

OCV have done a variety of tasks in the parish, including footpath revetment at Deddington Castle, hedgelaying around the playground at Clifton and fencing at the copse near the Windmill Centre.

Conservation Management

Conservation management within the Parish of Deddington aims to enable public enjoyment of the sites, whist protecting and nurturing the diverse habitats and species. OCV have helped by undertaking a variety of tasks, including footpath revetment at Deddington Castle and hedgelaying around the playground at Clifton to enhance the hedgerow habitat.

Selective thinning of the dense sections of the copse near the Windmill Centre is done to encourage biodiversity of woodland flora and fauna. It allows more dappled light to reach the floor of the wood and encourages healthy growth of existing trees that would otherwise have to compete for light. Management of the copse also includes footpath creation and maintenance which enables visitors to enjoy the site without damaging the wildlife. OCV have assisted in these activities, in addition to the construction of fences at the site.

Deddington Castle

The Deddington Castle site covers eight acres of grassland. Three sides of the outer bailey are enclosed by species-rich hedgerows, mature trees, wild flowers and banks that includes remnants of the castle moat. A pond on the edge of the site is thought to have been the fish pond for the castle used at the site between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries.


Deddington stands 416 feet above sea level on an outcrop of marlstone rock, which is a distinctive warm golden coloured ironstone that has been used in a high proportion of the local buildings.

Flora and Fauna

The main habitats at Deddington Castle and around Deddington are found within the diverse hedgerows and mature trees around the site. The moist wood favours growth of broad-leaved trees, particularly sycamore (acer pseudoplatanus), in addition to a ground-storey of early spring flowers. Species present include rusty-back fern (asplenium ceterach), ivy-leaved toadflax (linaria Cymbalaria), holly (ilex aquifolium), sycamore (acer pseudoplatanus), horse chestnut (aesculus hippocastanum), elder (sambucus nigra) and elm (ulmus procera). A wide variety of other trees were planted in smaller numbers in the nineteenth century by arboriculturists. These species include Scots pine (pinus sylvestris), elm (ulmus glabra), crack willow (salix fragilis), ash (fraxinus excelsior), copper beech (fagus sylvatica var. atropunicea) and european beech (fagus sylvatica), among others. Species of flowers at the site include bluebells (hyacinthoides non-scripta) and lords and ladies (arum maculatum).

Among the visitors to the site are kestrels, wood-mice, rabbits, butterflies including the orange tip and meadow brown, badgers, grey squirrels and a variety of smaller birds. The leaf mould and old stumps at the base of the hedgerows are also home to a wide variety of insects including beetles.


A wooden castle was built for Bishop Odo of Bayeux, half brother of William the Conqueror at the site soon after 1086. In the mid twelfth century William de Chesney, Lord of Deddington, made improvements including the addition of a stone tower and gatehouse. He held the castle until it was seized by the Crown later that century during the civil war between King Richard and his brother Prince John. Descendants of William de Chesney regained possession of the castle in the thirteenth century, but the castle was partially demolished at the end of the century. The remaining stonework was removed before the end of the fourteenth century.

In the nineteenth and early twentieth century the Castle Grounds were utilised by the Gentlemen's Cricket Club and the village Archery Club, and were host to dances in a large pavilion. Archeological excavations in 1947 and 1977 revealed evidence of some eighth century Saxon buildings in addition to remains of the castle buried below the mound in the south-east corner of the site. Part of the moat is still visible. The castle grounds are now managed by English Heritage.

Copse near the Windmill Centre

A large area of copse between the Windmill Centre and the cemetery that lies between the villages of Deddington and Hempton provides a haven for a diversity of wildlife, as well as a tranquil place for nearby villagers to enjoy.

Flora and Fauna

The trees at the copse mainly consist of oak (Quercus robur), field maple (Acer campestre) and rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), with small areas of hazel (Corylus avellana) and elder (Sambucus nigra). Ash (Fraxinus excelsior), Cherry, Wild (Prunus avium) and Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus) are also at the site, in addition to a wide variety of other species in and around the area. There are also hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) bushes, and a diversity of species of grasses at the site. Areas at the site provide perfect habitat for dormice, in addition to a range of species of birds.

Clifton playground

This site is within the hamlet of Clifton, which used to be a thriving agricultural community. The village is rich with native flora and fauna, while the form of the picturesque landscape surrounding Clifton is a result of the Enclosures Act of 1808. OCV have done hedgelaying at this site.

Flora and Fauna

In Clifton, foxes, roe deer, muntjac deer, badgers, hares, rabbits and a variety of birds are regularly seen in the area. Seasonal birds often seen near the site include skylarks and waders. Otters and water voles also live in and around Clifton, although their numbers have seen a recent decline, possibly a consequence of the increase in minks.


Deddington is located where the A4260 (from Banbury in the north or Kidlington in the south) crosses the B4031. Hempton is west of Deddington on the B4031, whilst Clifton is to the east. From Oxford, leave the ring road at the north on the A44, and then take the A4095 towards Kidlington, before joining the A4260 until you reach Deddington.

Streetmap Location

Deddington Parish Website