OXFORDSHIRE NATURE CONSERVATION FORUM

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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

Mammals
Hare
Birds
Curlew
Lapwing
Redshank
Skylark
Snipe
Yellow wagtail
Reptiles
Grass snake

Insects
Four-spotted moth
Marsh fritillary butterfly
Grizzled skipper butterfly
Marbled white butterfly
Small copper butterfly
Yellow meadow ant
Wall butterfly

Plants
Adder’s tongue fern
Fen violet
Great burne
Green-winged orchid
Meadow barley
Meadow saxifrage
Snake’s head fritillary

 


Other Open Habitat Action Plans
Chalk and Limeston Grassland Farmland Hedgerows Heathland
 
Other Habitat Task Forces
Settlements Earth Heritage Wetland Woodlands




Other Habitat Task Forces
Open Settlements Wetlands Woodlands