Wigwell Friends

Wigwell Friends are volunteers who work with the Wychwood Project to manage Wigwell Nature Reserve for wildlife and biodiversity.

Get involved!

The emerging plans for Wigwell have the potential to make a real difference for wildlife and biodiversity and you can be part of it! If you would like to get involved or just to find out more, please email or contact me, Peter Kenrick on 01608 811021. We would be delighted to welcome you to the Wigwell Friends.

Activities are starting up again responsibly!

From April 2021 we will be restarting our monthly work parties but subject to social distancing and limited numbers.  If you would like to take part, please join the Wigwell Friends (no fee and no obligations) as above.

Activities already in progress and planned on Wigwell this year include a reptile survey, monitoring of butterfly populations and improvements to the permissive footpaths.  We also hope to be announcing other exciting initiatives involving members of the community very soon - watch this space!

Where is Wigwell and Why is it important?

In the valley to the north of Nine Acres Lane lies the ecologically important and much-loved area known locally as Wigwell. This land is accessible via a permissive path starting from the gate next to the Scout Hut and this path also provides a safe alternative walking route for anyone heading to the Old Shed café at Banbury Hill. Wigwell, which is owned by Thames Water, contains many springs and, at one time, provided water supplies to Charlbury. The site also includes an area of species-rich meadow habitat which is one of only a handful of sites across the country where the near-threatened species Meadow Clary (Salvia Pratensis) grows wild. This area is a designated local wildlife site and the whole of Wigwell is proposed for protection as a Local Green Space in Charlbury’s emerging Neighbourhood Plan. With the Wigwell stream running through it, the site is at the heart of a blue-green corridor which has major significance for wildlife, biodiversity and water quality.

Wigwell is managed under an environmental lease by The Wychwood Project with assistance from volunteers including the local Wigwell Friends and the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens. The Wychwood Project believes that the site has extensive and exciting potential for biodiversity and habitat creation, so they are currently putting together plans for diverse future management of the site that will encourage more “natural succession” in some areas (i.e. allowing habitats to re-establish naturally within a wider scheme). This approach shares some features with “rewilding” but with more targeted focus.  We are fortunate indeed to have a site like Wigwell on our doorstep.  Many thanks are due to Thames Water for making the site available and to the Wychwood Project for their exceptional work in managing the site. The plans there have the potential to make a real difference and you can be part of it!

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