Blenheim Farm Nature Reserve

This BBOWT nature reserve is signposted east from The Slade (bottom of the dip) in Charlbury Grid ref: SP365195 (map). Please contact Christine Elliott, Reserve Warden, 01608-811057 if you see anything interesting on the reserve.

Don and Pamela Porter generously donated the field to BBOWT in 1987 when they moved from Blenheim Farmhouse in The Slade to their house in the Enstone Road; they wanted the site to be preserved for posterity and safe from being developed for housing. Don died in January 2007 and Pamela in April 2009 and Porters Pond was created in October 2008 as a fitting memorial to their love and enthusiasm for the natural environment.

Pond dipping in April 2014 revealed a breeding population of Palmate Newts, which was rather a surprise since they are usually found under more acidic conditions. We are wondering if there are more to be found in other Charlbury ponds, so if you have newts in your pond - are any of them palmate newts? Please let us know and we can help identify them too if you're not sure. More pictures of the Blenheim Farm newts are on the Countryside/Blenheim Farm page on the Charlbury Green Hub website which also contains listings of interesting environmental events and Nearby Places to Visit for nearby walks including other BBOWT nature reserves.

Over the years, local volunteers have worked on the grassland to reduce the strength of the grass and increase the range of wildflowers growing there. We've done this by cutting the grass twice a year and raking it off so it doesn't re-fertilise the soil as it rots down. In 2013 we started cutting the grass with scythes, and volunteers are relearning the country skill of scything, a skill lost just a few generations ago with the introduction of tractors. Please contact Christine if you want to learn how to scythe. Apart from scything being rather enjoyable, the grassland and flowers also benefit because the grass can be cut right down near the ground and bare patches of soil are exposed providing the right conditions for the flower seeds to germinate.

If you want to create a pond in your own garden then look at the Freshwater Habitats Trust website which has lots of good advice. If you'd like to find out more about your local Wildlife Trust then look at the BBOWT website.

Please don't transfer anything into the pond from your own garden pond or elsewhere - the pond has been populated with a wide range of plants from known sources and we want to observe what turns up naturally in the pond. It is also important to avoid diseases and alien plants and animals being introduced.

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