Grazing Marsh & Neutral Grassland
Neutral grasslands and grazing marshes are a prominent feature of the Clay
Vales and are Oxfordshire’s most important nature conservation feature
in the national context. There are currently about 850 Ha of species-rich neutral
grassland in Oxfordshire. These traditional meadows and pastures are characteristically
rich in flowering plants and provide breeding and wintering habitat for ground-nesting
birds such as reed bunting and snipe. The best areas for wildlife remain where
there has been a history of traditional agricultural management consisting of
combinations of hay cutting and grazing.
Neutral grassland is a generic term given to all grasslands on neutral soils.
Of particular note, are traditionally managed lowland meadows. Oxfordshire holds
some of the best floodplain lowland meadows in the UK. Of particular importance
is the extensive complex of flood meadows in the Thames Valley around Oxford.
Grazing marshes are a special type of neutral grassland consisting of patchworks
of hay meadow, grazing pasture and rough grass, bounded by a ditch system, itself
rich in wildlife.
Some species which will benefit from this HAP
Marsh fritillary butterfly
Grizzled skipper butterfly
Marbled white butterfly
Small copper butterfly
Yellow meadow ant
Adder’s tongue fern
Snake’s head fritillary