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Oxfordshire habitats and species

Oxfordshire has 20 UKBAP habitats (see table below) descriptions of these habitats can be printed from UKBAP habitat definitions. Further information on these habitats can be found on the South East Biodiversity Strategy website.

There are Species Action Plans for 1149 species in the UK.  At a county level species work tends to be done by volunteer groups and we don't collect information on their work or actions at a County level. A list of UKBAP priority species that have been recorded in Oxfordshire can be downloaded further information on species can be obtained from TVERC. Local specific interest groups can be found under the Nature Directory on this website. For national species go to the National Biodiversity Network's Species Dictionary.

UK BAP habitats found in Oxfordshire

Each habitat is linked to a more detailed pdf. It should be noted the pdfs provide good background information but are taken from archives and are no longer updated.


Lowland Meadow: a key habitat in Oxfordshire,  dependent on low fertility soils and traditional management methods. Flower rich, important for invertebrates and ground nesting birds such as skylark.  Sensitive to changes in hydrology and nutrient status. 

Lowland Calcareous Grassland: a key habitat in Oxfordshire, associated with areas of chalk and limestone geology, found particularly in the Chilterns and Cotswolds. Flower rich, important for invertebrates (particularly butterflies).  Sensitive to changes in nutrient status.

Lowland Dry Acid Grassland: of restricted distribution in Oxfordshire, associated with sandy soils such as those on the Mid-vale Ridge. Generally not flower rich, but important for rare plants and invertebrates. Sensitive to changes in nutrient status. 



Lowland Wood pasture & parkland: important for veteran trees, invertebrates and bats. Found mainly on Oxfordshire's old estates.

Lowland Beech and Yew Woodland: a key habitat in Oxfordshire, found mainly in the Chilterns.

Lowland Mixed Deciduous Woodland: found across Oxfordshire, those with rich ground flora are of particular biodiversity interest. Also important for bats, woodland birds and butterflies, occasionally support dormice.

Wet woodland: of restricted distribution in Oxfordshire, likely to be adjacent to waterbodies or part of a mosaic of wetland habitats. May support otter, or rare invertebrates.

Traditional orchards: of restricted distribution in Oxfordshire, dependent on traditional management methods. Important for bats, rare invertebrates, mosses, lichens.



Coastal and Floodplain Grazing Marsh: a key habitat in Oxfordshire associated with river floodplains. Sometimes flower rich, important for wading birds. Particularly sensitive to changes in hydrology and nutrient status.

Fens: a key habitat in Oxfordshire, particularly in the Cothill area. Important for rare invertebrates and plants. May support water vole and otter. Sensitive to changes in hydrology and nutrient status.              

Eutrophic Standing Waters: likely to be found in old gravel pits and reservoirs, often important for water fowl.

Mesotrophic Lakes: these have lower levels of nutrients than Eutrophic Standing Waters, and can be particularly rich in plant and invertebrates species. There are only a few examples in Oxfordshire, to be found mainly amongst the old gravel pits of the Lower Windrush Valley

Ponds: found throughout Oxfordshire, may be rich in plants and invertebrates. Likely to be breeding sites for amphibians, including great crested newt. Sensitive to changes in hydrology and nutrient status. For further information contact Pond Conservation.

Reedbeds: of restricted distribution in Oxfordshire, important for birds, may support water voles or rare plants. Sensitive to changes in hydrology.                      

Rivers: found throughout Oxfordshire, provide important wildlife corridors. Likely to support water vole, otter, and a variety of invertebrates.  Chalk streams in Chilterns are a local specialty - for further information contact Chilterns Chalk Streams Project.  

Purple Moor Grass and Rush Pastures: these wet pastures are of restricted distribution in Oxfordshire, found mainly around Otmoor and the Shill Brook in West Oxfordshire.



Arable Field Margins:  strips around field edges managed to provide benefits for wildlife

can provide important food sources for birds and invertebrates.

Hedgerows: an important linking habitat found throughout Oxfordshire, of particular biodiversity value when they consist of a large proportion of native woody species, used by foraging birds and bats, dormice and a range of invertebrates. (Subject to the Hedgerow Regulations 1997).

Lowland Heathland: of restricted distribution, important for reptiles and invertebrates.

Open mosaic habitats on previously developed land: examples in Oxfordshire include former quarries and ash lagoons can be particularly important for birds, invertebrates and specialist plants.