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News From The Wychwood Project

HELP US TO LEARN WHAT’S LIVING IN THE WYCHWOOD


Garden Butterfly Survey



For many of us, our gardens have featured prominently on our “to do” lists during the various lockdowns. We will be eagerly looking forward to the results of our efforts with the arrival of spring and the welcome sight of butterflies among our flower beds.

But all is not well in the butterfly kingdom…

Overall, there has been a decline in numbers over the last 10 years and the monitoring of this change has never been more important.

From butterfly records, we can see that we have very few reports of butterflies across West Oxfordshire and the Wychwood Forest area compared to other parts of Oxfordshire, which is why we are contacting you now. We want to encourage and support the recording of butterflies in this area, and the easiest place to start is in your garden. It's easier than online shopping!


Butterfly Conservation's Upper Thames branch has put together a handy identification guide to butterflies you might encounter in the Wychwood Forest area. To view the guide, click here.



To start recording what you see, visit https://www.gardenbutterflysurvey.org/, create an account, and note down the butterflies you have spotted. The website is easy to use with plenty of guidance and photos to help with identification.


If you'd like to record additional sightings while out and about, the easiest way to do it is by downloading the iRecord Butterflies app. You can find out more about the app by watching this short video: https://youtu.be/cuJc721MxzM


If you have any questions, please email info@wychwoodproject.org.uk.


Butterfly Conservation will share the results of the survey with us and we'll let you know what we discover. In the meantime, thank you for helping us learn more about and protect the Wychwood's wonderful butterflies.


Reptile Surveys in Witney and Charlbury


Excitingly, we've recently set up reptile surveys at Wigwell Nature Reserve, Charlbury, and Foxburrow Wood, Witney. To prepare the reserves we've put down sheets of corrugated iron and roofing felt—as they warm in the sun cold-blooded reptiles should seek refuge beneath them, making it possible to find and record them. Over the next couple of months we will check under the sheets every few days and record what we find there.

If this sounds intriguing to you, why not take part? All you'd need to do is take a 40-minute walk around the survey route and record anything you find underneath them. We'll provide full training beforehand, so you don't need any prior knowledge to help.


We'll leave several days between each check to avoid excessive disturbance to any reptiles beneath the sheets. So even if you can't take part in the survey, please leave the sheets where they are and don't disturb them. As soon as the surveys are over we will remove them from the reserves.


If you have any questions, please email info@wychwoodproject.org.uk. Otherwise, click on the links below and follow the instructions to sign up. Thank you!

Foxburrow Wood, Witney

Wigwell Nature Reserve, Charlbury


Alongside each survey we're running an event with our expert herpetologist, Neil. He'll be walking round each survey route and explaining everything you ever wanted to know about the UK's reptiles, plus answering any questions you have. Whether you are a naturalist interested in knowing more about Britain’s reptiles or an aspiring professional ecologist, Neil will show you how to find and understand these secretive animals and their habitat usage. He will also ensure that you have the opportunity to see typical specimens and some more unusual animals up close.

Learn more and book below.


Wigwell Nature Reserve: Wednesday 21st April, 11am–1pm

Foxburrow Wood: Saturday 22nd May, 10am–12.30pm


Record hedgehogs with Hedgehog Street


Hedgehogs are emerging from hibernation, so look out for these loveable creatures in your garden! Sadly, their populations are in rapid decline—though their exact numbers are uncertain.


There are lots of things you can do to help hedgehogs, from leaving water and meaty dog/cat food out for them to making 13x13cm holes in your fences to help them roam from garden to garden. Amazingly hedgehogs roam around a mile each night, so holes in fences make a real difference.

PTES's Hedgehog Street website and app is full of information about hedgehogs and how you can help them. The app also includes a recording function, which you can use to note when you see a hedgehog. Data from the app help conservationists understand how the UK's hedgehog populations are really faring, how effective interventions have been, and what we need to do to protect them.


Visit the website here or download the Hedgehog Street app to find out more.


Work Parties



We run regular volunteer work parties at the following times, carrying out crucial conservation work on one of our sites under Toby's expert supervision. Until the rule of six is lifted numbers will be restricted to five volunteers so please let us know if you are planning to come along.


If you would like to help out but only have weekends to spare, please contact toby@wychwoodproject.org.uk to see what we can do.


Wigwell Nature Reserve: 2nd Wednesday of each month, 10am–12.30pm.

Foxburrow Wood: 4th Thursday of each month, 10am–12.30pm.

Woodstock Water Meadows: 4th Friday of each month, 10am–12.30pm.

Woodstock Water Meadows: 2nd Saturday of each month, 10am–12.30pm.


We are also looking for volunteers to help with our Forest Fair, which we are hoping will take place on Sunday 29th August. From monitoring the bookstall to wardening the car park to helping with preparations and marketing, there's a whole range of tasks we would appreciate help with. If you'd be willing to give a few hours of time in exchange for free tickets and a great deal of gratitude, please get in touch with miranda@wychwoodproject.org.uk.

Walks in the Wychwood Forest

Lots of us have been exploring our local area during lockdown. If you are interested in the walks around the Wychwood Forest, or walking the Wychwood Way, take a look at some of these routes through some of the most scenic areas:

Wychwood circular walks

If you would like to purchase the very popular guide to the Wychwood Way, a 37 mile circular trail around the heart of the ancient Royal Forest of Wychwood, please click below:

The Wychwood Way guidebook

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