Community

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 wigwell.friends@gmail.com or contact me, Peter Kenrick on 01608 811021. We would be delighted to welcome you to the Wigwell Friends.

Activities have started up again responsibly!

We restarted our monthly work parties in April 2021 and we have had two excellent sessions so far.  At the moment these sessions are still subject to social distancing and limited numbers, so if you would like to take part, please join the Wigwell Friends (no fee and no obligations!) as above.

Work is well underway to improve the permissive footpaths.  A diversion has been generated along the eastern stretch to avoid the wetland area and work has started to install steps north of the bridge and to create drainage channels on the muddy stretch approaching the bridge on the south side.  Species monitoring surveys are also underway for reptiles and butterflies.  Anyone can take part in butterfly monitoring and we can provide identification charts and other details - just email wigwell.friends@gmail.com.  If you want to help with the reptile survey, please email miranda@wychwoodproject.org.uk.

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 designated 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.  Please note that the Neighbourhood Plan, which includes strong protections for landscape, wildlife and biodiversity, will be adopted if it is approved by local electors in a referendum on Thursday 10th June 2021 - PLEASE USE YOUR VOTE!

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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