OXFORD CITY COUNCIL
This management plan for Shotover County Park was prepared in 1988 and supersedes
Shotover’s original plan prepared in 1979-80. The intention of the plan is to provide a tool to
enable the Oxford City Council to ensure the long term wise management of the Country Park.
A draft of this plan has been read by many individuals and organisations and their comments
led to many changes in the plan. Another value of the approved plan is that it will provide a
ready means of informing interested members of the public about the background to all that
goes on in the Country Park. The format of the plan is recommended by the Nature
Conservancy Council, is identical to that used for Oxford City’s Local Nature Reserves and is
similar to that used world-wide for forest management plans.
List of Figures
PART ONE: DESCRIPTION
General Information on Shotover
Scrub and hedges
Land use history
Past management by Oxford City
PART TWO: EVALUATION AND OBJECTIVES
Site definition and boundaries
Identification of important features
The site in wider perspective and implications for management
Ideal management objectives
Factors influencing management
Man induced trends
Operational objectives and management options
Statement of aims
Operational objectives and management options
PART THREE: PRESCRIPTIONS (PROJECTS)
Conservation of features
Provision of facilities
Work plan (1987-92)
Grasshoppers and Crickets
Reptiles and Amphibia
Assessment of features now lost
Definition of Red Data Book categories
Terms of reference of Shotover (Consultative) sub-
Letters regarding management of Shotover
LIST OF FIGURES
Compartment map and surrounding vegetation
Average daily maximum temperature
Average annual sunshine
Location of Oxford within ago-climate area
Average annual rainfall
Geological map of Shotover
Royal Forest boundary (1298)
Royal Forest boundary (1642)
Brasenose Wood: coppicing dates
Brasenose Wood: compartment excluded from coppicing
Open Brasenose: crack willow pollards
Open Brasenose: blackthorn management
PART ONE DESCRIPTION
GENERAL INFORMATION ON SHOTOVER
Grid reference: SP 565060
O.S. maps: 1:50 000 - Sheet 164
1:25 000 - Pathfinder 1117
Parish: Oxford City (Wood Farm Ward), Risinghurst, Horspath, Forest Hill
Local Planning Authority; South Oxford D.C., Oxford City in part)
Access: There are numerous access points (see Fig. 1). The major vehicular
access point is to Shotover Plain, which is reached via London Road, Wheatley.
Subsidiary vehicular access points are via the Larches lay along the Ridings,
gateways at the southern end of the Ridings, the gateway opposite the gypsy camp
on the Eastern Byepass, Brasenose allotment, Oxford Road Recreation Ground
Horspath, and Blenheim Road Horspath. There are numerous additional
pedestrian access points. The only substantial car park is at Shotover Plain.
Shotover Country Park occupies the summit and some of south facing slopes of
Shotover Hill. Shotover Hill is predominantly sandstone, flat-topped hill located
5km east of the centre of the City of Oxford. The Country Park about 126 ha (312
acres) in extent and consists of a variety of habitats including
coppice-with-standards woodland, mixed woodland conifer plantation, scrub, acid,
grassland, neutral grassland, heathland, bracken-covered slopes and marsh.
Historically Shotover Hill was part of a Royal Forest (Shotover with Stowood) and
the richness of habitat variety and natural history interest may in part reflect the
long period of being managed for nature conservation during Royal Forest times.
Shotover Country park has been managed for amenity by Oxford City Council for
nearly 50 years and specialist staff have been employed throughout that period.
Visitor pressure at Shotover is high (over 800 000 estimated in 1987) and the
Country Park was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1986.
Shotover Plain is crossed by a highway providing a route between Headington and
Wheatley. A compartment map is included (Figure 2) along with the surrounding
vegetation, and a simple vegetation map is shown on Figure 4.
Area Shotover Country Park = 126 ha (312 acres)
Data of Notification as SSSI - 25 April 1986
Most of Shotover Country Park is owned by Oxford City Council. Two fields
(Shotover Plain and Johnson’s Piece) are owned by Oxford University but are
managed under licence.
Land ownership is shown on Figure 3.
1947 set (Ordnance Survey Office)
Available photographs include
a collection taken by Henry Taunt (1880-1915) and housed in the Oxford
Library at Westgate;
a single photograph (1922) of Johnson’s Piece (University Enclosure); and
several photographs (1980s) in the Natural History of a Royal Forest.
FIGURE 2 - SHOTOVER COUNTRY
PARK COMPARTMENT NAMES
LAND OWNERSHIP: SHOTOVER
COUNTRY PARK AND SURROUNDINGS
FIGURE 4 - SIMPLE VEGETATION MAP
Shotover Hill is situated just to the east of Oxford City. The City is within the larger
definable area of the Oxford Clay Vale or Upper Thames Basin. The climate of
Oxford has been described as enervating, warm and humid in summer and damp,
raw, foggy and liable to cold north-east winds in winter.
The weather and climate of the Oxford District are affected by the same air masses
which control the daily weather of southern England and the south Midlands.
However, before arriving in the district the air masses are modified by topography
and distance from the sea. Polar and tropical maritime air reaching the region
brings a lower rainfall to the district due to the obstructions of the Chiltern and
Cotswold Hills. The distance from the coast causes a relatively large diurnal and
annual temperature range. The arrival of north-easterly airstreams in late winter
and spring gives a more continental aspect to the climate.
During an easterly anticyclone inversion, visibility can be adversely affected by the
downward smoke haze from London. These meteorological factors are
responsible for some of the more extreme weather conditions reported from the
area. Such variations are not always apparent in the available climatic statistics.
The dominant winds of the district come from the south-west to west throughout the
year except during the spring when there is a marked dominance of north-east
winds. Winds from the east and south-east are infrequent at all seasons. Calm
conditions occur least often in spring and early summer. Due to the sheltered
nature of the region wind speeds are not normally very high. Gale force winds
occur on average only 2-3 days per year.
The broad area of the Thames Valley has between 650mm-900mm of rainfall a
year. There is relatively little variation in the monthly and seasonal precipitation
over the region. Spring is the driest period, autumn or early winter the wettest.
Average daily temperatures for the Oxford region range from around 0°C in January
to over 21°C in July, with a mean annual temperature of about 10°C. Summer
maximum temperatures are some of the highest in the UK.
Spells of absolute and partial drought are relatively frequent. For example,
between 1881 and 1951 Oxford experienced 72 absolutely droughts of 15
consecutive days with < 0.01 inches of rain.
Snowfall occurs more frequently in the region than over most of southern England.
Since 1881 snow has fallen in all months except July and August. Records
between 1881 and 1951 show an increase in the total number of days in which
sleet or snow falls over the Oxford region.
The annual duration of bright sunshine shows a marked seasonal variation. In the
Upper Thames basin it ranges from an average of 1.5 hours a day in December to
7 hours a day in June.
Due to the sheltered nature of the Oxford Clay Vale humidities tend to be low.
However, daily variations in relative humidity are large. Values can reach
saturation (100%) at any time of the day, e.g. during fog, persistent rain or drizzle.
Shotover Hill occurs within the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
agro-climate 31 NORTH. These areas are defined by similarities in climatological
data as well as data on growing seasons, grazing seasons and other information on
crops. The relevant data of agro-climate 31 NORTH is given in Table 1.
The upper parts of Shotover Hill are predominantly pervious and no streams are
present. Some springs are to be found where the pervious rocks overly impervious
strata. The precise site of individual springs is not fixed and some movements
have been observed over the years. Lower down the hillside small streams appear
which eventually coalesce and flow to the west into the River Thames. At the base
of the north side of the hill (outside the Country Park) are several small ponds,
which result from previous excavations for bricking clay.
Shotover Hill stands, at 171 metres, as the highest of the hills surrounding Oxford.
Shotover is a steep-sided but flat topped hill, with flat bottomed valleys to the north
and south. The Shotover Sands which cap the hill are porous and comparatively
resistant to erosion - such flat topped hills are a feature of wherever ironsands are
exposed. Forest Hill is a small outlier capped with Shotover Sands.
A geological map (Fig. 9) shows that the oldest rocks outcropping in the Shotover
area are the dark, Oxford clays which form a belt of low country stretching from
north Wiltshire to Peterborough. These clays were deposited at the bottom of a
deep sea which then covered Oxfordshire. as this upper Jurassic sea became
shallower, alterations took place in the type of deposit laid down, with a change
from clays to sands (calcerous) and then to shallow water limestone (Coral Rag).
However, the youngest Coral Rag rocks contain a mixture of clays, sandstones and
limestones. Above the Coral Rag is a 22-24 metres thick bed of Kimmeridge
rocks, mostly grey and black clays laid down at the bottom of a deep sea about 150
million years ago. The youngest Kimmeridge beds are the five metre thick
Shotover Grit Sands containing doggers (concretionary masses of sandstone often
of great size) which are exposed in several places at Shotover. Doggers are
formed by gradual deposition of quartz around a nucleus but there are several local
legends concerning the origin and purpose of doggers. In the twelfth century
Empress Matilda, the enemy of King Stephen, was staying in London when a
change of allegiance within the army put her life in danger. She immediately
AGRO-CLIMATICAL DATA FOR AREA 31 NORTH, THE AGRO-CLIMATIC AREA THAT INCLUDES OXFORD
Area 31 North
Average Height 107m (351 ft)
Latitude 51 4” N
Height Range 46-201m
Month Air 30cm Earth
Growing season: 254 days Mar 23-Dec 2
Potential Transpiration: 480mm (18.9 in) Effective Transpiration: 357mm (14.05 in)
Grazing season: 231 days Mar 30-Nov 16
Grass Drought Factor: 41 days
Degree - days above 10°C May to Oct: 805
Winter degree - days below 0°C: 130
Mean last frost: Late April
Maximum Summer SMD
Return to Capacity
Excess Winter Rain
210mm (8.25 in)
End of Capacity
Mar 19-May 4
(Years in 20)
(Source: “The Agricultural Climate of England and Wales” M.A.F.F. Technical Bulletin 35. H.M. S.O. 1976)
Average daily maximum temperature (*C) in July over the period 1941-70 for the upper
Average annual sunshine duration (hours) over the period 1941-70 for the upper
LOCATION OF OXFORD WITHIN ITS AGRO-CLIMATE AREA
Average annual rainfall (mm) over the period 1941-70 for the upper
Geological map of Shotover
travelled to Oxford where safety was to be found. On reaching Shotover Hill
Matilda expressed her relief by bursting into tears and it is said that her tears were
so voluminous that as they fell they hardened into enormous boulders now seen as
doggers. Doggers are also known as ‘Giant’s Marbles’ and there are several
different legends concerning giants at Shotover, which may date back to the
seventeenth century when a figure of a giant was cut into the hillside. An unusually
shaped dogger, known locally as ‘Giant’s Loaf’ was formerly found at the junction of
the Ridings and the Old Road up to Shotover Hill.
Above Kimmeridge beds are the Portland sands and limestones which were
deposited near the edge of a shallow sea. The youngest and oldest Portland beds
are made up of mustard coloured sands with occasional concretionary masses of
grey limestone. A few feet of Purbeck beds consisting of limestone and marl with
fossils outcrop in some places at Shotover, but their occurrence is sporadic.
The top 15 metres or so of Shotover Hill is composed of clays and sands of
Wealden age. They contain some freshwater fossils which were probably
deposited in an enormous estuary which covered much of southern Britain at this
time. The gravely residue of weathered ironsand has produced a steep-sided hill.
These ironsands are known as Shotover Sands and consist of ferruginous and
argillaceous loams, ochre, yellow sand and ferruginous soil with many fragments of
ironsand. A number of fresh-water fossils have been discovered and it is possible
that at least some of the beds were deposited in a large, freshwater lake. Indeed
dinosaur footprints have been discovered in Shotover sands where they outcrop in
To sum up, the flatter land surrounding Shotover Hill consist of alluvium, clays and
limestones, whereas the hill itself and the outlying Forest Hill consists of thin bands
of limestones, clays and sandstones with the latter predominating.
521 Species of flowering plant have been recorded from Shotover Country Park
including many historical records of species now extinct.
The most southerly of Shotover’s woods, lying on Kimmeridge clay at the base of
Shotover Hill, Brasenose Wood contain many mature trees which give the wood a
distinctive atmosphere. An active coppicing policy has given the wood the whole
range of underwood age classes - the whole of the wood has been cut at least once
since 1945. The extensive system of rides, provided because the wood is a public
amenity, results in many flowery margins which are both attractive and of high
nature conservation value. Brasenose Wood contains virtually all of the trees and
shrubs found in the rest of Shotover Woods - for a 25.8 ha woodland it is
exceptionally diverse. The field layer contains no real rarities and only a few
species that are locally uncommon.
In late March and April wood anemones (Anemone nemorasa) less celandines
(Ranuculus ficaria) and bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) grow in profusion.
Slightly later appear greater stitchwort (Stellaria holostea), bugle (Ajuga reptans)
and yellow archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon). In June and July common
spotted orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii), saw-wort (Serratula tinctoria) and betony
(Stachys officinalis) provide an impressive display of colour. It is in the summer
that some of the more unusual plants such as violet helleborine (Epipactis
purpurata), greater burnet-saxifrage (Pimpinella major) and orpine (Sedum
telephium) may be seen in flower.
Several species of fern grow in the woods including bracken (Pteridium aquilinum),
male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas), scaly male fern (D. borreri), broad buckler-fern (D.
dilatata) and narrow buckler-fern (D. carthusiana). Under the field layer are many
bryophytes including Minium hornum, Thuidium tamariscinum, Atrichum undulatum
and Eurhynchium praelongum. Funaria hygro-metrica and Bryum pallens may be
seen on firescars and Pleuridium acuminatum grows on rabbit scrapes. The
uncommon Dicranum tauricum grows as an epiphyte on the branches of oak trees.
An open woodland on steeply sloping land to the south of Shotover Plain,
Johnson’s Piece has a few ancient oaks, and a range of mature deciduous and
coniferous trees. Several thickets of scrub and young trees have invaded parts of
the woodland. Open areas between trees are dominated by bracken. Spring-fed
streams drain to the low point of the woodland and alongside these streams several
areas of marsh have developed.
The perimeter of Johnson’s Piece is lined with ancient, pollarded oaks growing on
an earthbank. A particularly ancient oak tree, the oldest on Shotover, is to be
found at the northeast corner of the wood. One can only guess at the age of the
tree but it could be as old as 300 years, and hence may have been living when
Shotover was a royal forest. The wood is dominated by pedunculate oak. ash and
silver birch and other interesting species including common whitebeam, bird cherry
and wild service tree.
The ground flora is sparse with only blue bells (Hyacinthoides nonscripta), red
campion (Silene dioica), yellow pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum) and greater
stich-wrot (Stellaria holostea), breaking the domination by tall stands of bracken
Magdalen Wood has closely spaced oaks which have not achieved the height or
girth of Brasenose Wood’s trees. The most substantial of Magdalen Wood’s trees
are Scots Pine and Austrian Pine which were planted in 1892 close to the buildings
of Wood Farm (now destroyed). There is a sparse shrub layer in the wood and the
ground layer is dominated by brambles.
Dominated by a close canopy of pedunculate oak, other trees present include silver
birch, yew, turkey oak, larch, Scots pine and Austrian pine. The trees of Magdalen
Wood are mostly of uniform age and date from the end of the nineteenth century.
The lack of any thinning operations has resulted in a shortage of quality timber
The ground flora of Magdalen Wood is depauperate compared to that of the
neighbouring Brasenose Wood. Brambles dominate but a few woodland flowers
such as wood anenome (Anenome nemorosa), lesser celandine (Ranunculus
ficaria), wood spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides), wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella),
bluebell (Hycinthoides non-scripta) and hairy-brome (Bromus ramosus) are found.
It will be interesting to see whether the woodland is colonised by further woodland
plants from Brasenose Wood.
Magdalen Wood is not an ancient wood and it provides a good example of the
differences which can exist between neighbouring and superficially similar woods.
Both woods are dominated by oaks and lie on similar soils. The marked
differences in flora result from the different histories of the two woods
The Larches is a relatively pure stand of larch trees planted in the early years of the
twentieth century. By the mid-1970s the trees had obtained about 20m in height
but their lack of girth had resulted in instability and several dozen have been lost
since that time through wind throw.
The ground flora is dominated by bracken and bramble.
A stand of mixed woodland including oak, ash, grey poplar, holly, Scots pine and
larch which was planted at the western end of Horspath Common in the latter years
of the nineteenth century. Although the ground flora is dominated by bracken, a
small stream runs though this wood which has several species of locally uncommon
calcifuge bryophytes (eg Cephalozia bicuspidata and Lepidozia reptans).
To the west of Westhill Wood is a 0.5 ha larch plantation, planted in about 1970,
which contains a scattering of oak and beech.
Scrub is the name given to a community of plants dominated by shrubs or bushes.
At Shotover scrub occurs where heathland or grassland has ceased to be managed
and invasion by woody plants has occurred. Scrub is a transitional habitat in that if
left undisturbed it will develop into woodland.
On the higher slopes of the hill many hectares of scrub developed on fields which
were formerly used for agriculture. Mary Sadler’s Field, Sandpit Field and
Horseshoe Field all have substantial stands of scrub. The last mentioned field may
be seen to have been ploughed in 1947 from an available aerial photograph. The
scrub is dominated by hawthorn and pedunculate oak with lesser quantities of
blackthorn, elder, sycamore, ash and rowan. An interesting feature of this scrub is
the presence of a few wild service tree saplings. Very few herbaceous plants are
able to tolerate the deep shade under this scrub, but there are some shade-tolerant
species such as ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) and cuckoo pint (Arum
maculatum), as well as the abundant moss Eurhynchium praelongum.
A slightly different scrub community has developed on the periphery of Brasenose
Wood, particularly in Open Brasenose and Slade Camp North. Here the
community is dominated by blackthorn with lesser quantities of buckthorn,
hawthorn, elder, crab apple and pedunculate oak. A special feature of this area of
scrub is the presence of a nationally rare butterfly - the black hairstreak, which may
be seen flitting amongst the upper branches of the blackthorn bushes at the end of
June and the beginning of July.
Although the plant diversity of scrub is poor it is a valuable habitat for many birds.
Magpie, jay, wren, blackbird, thrush, chaffinch, whitethroat, lesser whitethroat,
willow warbler, blackcap and garden warbler all commonly nest in Shotover’s scrub.
In addition, nightingales breed sporadically in this habitat although they are now
much more rarely heard than in the years before the second World War. Scrub
also provides a valuable winter food supply for many birds - fieldfares and redwings
are regularly seen feeding on hips and haws in frosty weather.
Hedges are known to be particularly valuable to many forms of wildlife. Several
species of bird nest in hedges and others feed on hedgerow fruits in autumn and
winter. Small rodents find shelter in the longer vegetation at the base of hedges.
Hedges are important to many species of insect which tend to fly alongside hedges
rather than across inhospitable land. Indeed, hedges are especially important
refuges for wildlife in intensively farmed arable areas. There are many hedgerows
at Shotover but the majority are of recent origin. Such hedges, with only one or
two shrub species, are of limited value to wildlife. Ancient hedges, which may
possess up to 15 different shrubs, are much more valuable to wildlife and have a
wide range of associated plants, mammals and invertebrates.
There are very few ancient hedgerows within the boundary of Shotover Royal
Forest. However, the hedges on the north and south boundaries of Shotover Plain
contain hawthorn, blackthorn, wild plum, oak, ash, holly, elder, hazel and gorse in
addition to the introduced Scots pine and larch. The hedgerows have about 6.5
woody species per 30 yards and this dates them at about 700 years old according
to the method of Hooper 32. This method, which should be used only as a general
guide, depends on hedges acquiring a single additional woody species each
century by natural colonisation.
A variety of different types of grassland are found at Shotover. Some fields have
been ‘improved’ by treating with fertilisers or by being ploughed and resown. Such
fields are dominated by a small number of cultivars of productive grasses and are of
limited value to wildlife. However, some grasslands remain which are less
intensively managed and may be described as seminatural. It must be
remembered that if it were not for the effects of man and his grazing animals these
fields would rapidly revert to scrub and woodland. An aerial photograph shows that
the Horsehoe Field on the south side of Shotover Hill was ploughed up in 1947, but
by the 1980s thick scrub had developed with oaks up to 8 metres in height.
Shotover’s grasslands may be classified according to the soils on which they occur.
The acidic soils on the slopes of Shotover Hill support a fine-leafed, hill-pasture
type sward, and where the soil is deeper and the pH close to 7, neutral grasslands
Acid grassland is found where the soil is well drained on the
higher slopes of Shotover Hill. In former times the grassland was maintained by
grazing - cattle, sheep, horses, deer and rabbits would have all played a part in
preventing much woody regrowth. Nowadays organised grazing has ceased
except for some small areas on the northern slopes, and it is the trample of human
feet and the grazing of rabbits which maintain the grassland as such.
Acid grassland supports a smaller number of flowering plants than limestone
grassland. However, many attractive plants can be found. In addition to the
dominant bent grasses (Agrostis canina and A capillaris), heath bedstraw (Galium
saxatile), trailing St John’s - Wort (Hypericum humifusum), squirreltail fescue
(Vulpia bromoides) early hair-grass (Aira praecox), knotted trefoil (Trifolium
striatum), heath speedwell (Veronica officinalis), bird’s foot (Ornithopus perpusillus),
sand spurrey (Spergularia rubra) and common centaury (Centaurium erythraea) are
still found. There are common mosses such as Dicranum scoparium, Ceratodon
purpureus and Pottia truncata as well as more local species such as Campylopus
pyriformis, Brachythecium albicans and Polytrichum juniperinum.
Many interesting plants are known to have been lost from this habitat.
Subterranean trefoil (Trifolium subterraneum), broad-leaved cudweed (Filago
Pyramidata), small-flowered buttercup (Ranunculus parviflorus), small-flowered
catchfly (Silene gallica), bur chervil (Anthriscus caucaulis), mat-grass (Nardus
stricta), buck’s-horn plantain (Plantago coronopus), autumn lady’s tresses
(Spiranthes spiralis), and field gentian (Gentianella campestris) are documented
examples of extinctions. bryophytes lost include Pogonatum nanum, P. aloides,
and Climacium dendroides.
The woodlark is a bird which nested at Shotover until the 1950s and has a
requirement for short-grazed turf and bare ground. The loss of this uncommon bird
may have followed the rapid scrub encroachment which was a result of the
decimation of the rabbit population by myxomatosis in 1954. In the 1980s
Shotover’s rabbit population, although still prone to great fluctuations, seems to be
maintaining itself at a high level. Some of the areas of scrub on the south side of
Shotover Hill have been removed as a conservation measure. It will be interesting
to see whether any of the lost acid grassland plants will return.
At the base of Shotover Hill on the lower Kimmeridge beds
and the Coral Rag, are some interesting fields best described as neutral grassland.
Within the country park Slae Campe (South) is the best example, but just to the
north of the Country Park is Haynes Field which is a neutral grassland.
Unfortunately the Shotover neutral meadows do not have the richness of top quality
meadows, but a good deal of interest still remains.
A wide range of grasses occur in these two fields including perennial ryegrass
(Lolium perenne), false oat-grass (Arrhenatherum elatius), rough meadow-grass
(Poa trivialis), crested dog’s-tail (Cynosurus cristatus) soft-brome (Bromus
hordeaceus) and creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera). Many legumes are present
including common bird’s-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), white clover (Trifolium
repens), red clover (T. pratense), hop trefoil (T. campestre), grass vetchling
(Lathuryus nissolia), meadow vetchling (L pratensis) and the rare tuberous pea (L
tuberosus). The presence of alsike clover (Trifolium hybridum) in the southerly
Slade Campe field is an indication of its former use for clover cultivation. Other
interesting plants include the parasitic common broomrape (Orobanche minor),
goat’s rue (Galega officinialis), creeping bellflower (Campanula rapunculoides) and
woolly thistle (Cirsium eriophorum).
These fields are valuable for birds. Notably skylark and grasshopper warbler bred
in some years between 1975-87 and tree pipits display regularly although nesting
has not been confirmed. Stonechats and wheatears are occasionally seen on
winter passage migration. Lepidoptera are abundant here. Marbled whites and
common blues are two o the many butterflies which breen in these fields. The
5-spot burnet moth provides a most spectacular sight here. A ‘mark and recapture’
estimate of the numbers of this red and black moth in 1979 suggested that there
were 50,000 in the northerly Slade Camp field. Other interesting day-flying moths
are the latticed heath (Semiothisa clathrata), mother shipton (Callistega mi) and the
burnet companion (Euclidia glyphica).
Heathland is characteristically dominated by dwarf Ericaceous shrubs such as
heather (Calluna vulgaris) and is usually found on well drained acidic soils. Such
soils are rare in the Oxford area and consequently heath is an uncommon habitat.
The nearest region of extensive heathland is found on the tertiary gravel beds of
south and east Berkshire. The largest expanse of heathland is found on the south
side of Shotover Hill where Shotover Sands outcrop.
To set the scene Druce in the first decade of the twentieth century writes:
‘The once celebrated district of Shotover has suffered much during the past
century, at the beginning of which it was to a great extent open and uncultivated
ground, in parts thickly wooded and in others showing delightful expanses of heath.
In some places where the water issued at the base of previous strata bogs were
formed, then the home of sundew, wood horsetail and other interesting uliginal
species, while the drier spots on the sandy or peaty soils had the buck’s-horn
plantain and tow species of clubmoss; in other spots the moss Polytrichum
commune was luxiriant, while on the turfy slopes the moonwort, the lady’s tresses
and the field gentian delighted the wanderer, or on the heathy ground the mountain
fern showed its fragrant fronds. But these have gone. The enclosure of the
heathy slopes, that cultivated its surface, the various encroachments upon its
domain, have gradually denuded the hill of its characteristic vegetation and the
progress of destruction still goes on. Year by year there is a shrinkage of the
original vegetation and an extension of the plants which follow in the wake of man’s
disturbance of nature’s domain. There are, whoever, still to be found some
species of considerable interest .....”
Many heathland plants have become extinct at Shotover. Stag’s horn clubmoss
(Lycopodium clavatum), fir clubmoss (Huperzia selago) mountain fern (Thelypteris
limbosperma), buck’s-horn plantain (Plantago coronopus) wood sage (Teucrim
scorodonia), small cudweed (Logfilia minima), bristle club-rush (Scirpus setaceus),
sheep’s bit (Jasione montana), bur chervil (Anthriscus caucaulis) and rat’s-tail
fescue (Vulpia myuros) have all been lost from Shotover.
Some of the oldest bryophyte collections in the world are from Shotover and known
heathland extinctions include Nardia saclaris, Solenostoma Crenulatum, Tetraphis
pellucida, polytrichum poloferum and Racomitrium canescens.
Of the insects the green tiger beetle Cicindela campestris, the ground beetle
Carabus gallicus and the nationally rare oil beetle Meloe rugosus are all thought to
be extinct. Several heath-nesting bird species have been lost, notably the
red-backed shrike (now a national rarity), nightjar, wheatear, stonechat and
All in all we are presented with a picture of dramatic decline in both quantity and
quality of the heathland habitat. Heather’s presence is determined by a complex of
factors. Moist air and free drainage are necessary to heather, as is a lightly acid
soil which permits the existence of the symbiotic fungus Phoma on which heather
depends in nature. For dominance of heath some factor which prevents
gregarious and successful establishment of trees is essential, be it fires, high
intensity grazing or violent winds. Heaths of southern Britain are normally
associated with sandy or gravely soils and typically contain very few species of
higher plants apart from heather, although there are usually several species of
bryophyte and lichen present.
There is some heather remaining at Shotover but rarely in sufficient quantities to
constitute a true heath. Large quantities of silver birch, gorse and bracken remain
which are species often associated with heaths, but with the cessation of grazing
and burning the remaining heathland plants are becoming less numerous.
Small quantities of pill sedge (Carex pilulifera), tormentil (Potentilla erecta), slender
trefoil (Trifolium micranthum) and knotted trefoil (T striatum) may be found as well
as typical heathland bryophytes such as Pleurozium schreberi and Campylopus
pyriformis and lichens including Cladonia allosquomosa, C chlorophaea, C fimbiata,
C pyxidata and C subulata.
Heathland has declined dramatically both in area and richness in lowland England.
The loss of the Dorset heaths is well documented and they are now only 15% of
their 1760 extent. The reason for the decline in heathland throughout lowland
England is that heaths can be rapidly converted for agriculture. Improved
mechanisation and availability of fertilisers allow heaths to be ploughed and turned
to arable usage. However, because of the intrinsic low fertility of heathland soil,
crop production is often poor. As at Shotover some of the former heathland may
be uneconomic to farm and so allowed to revert to its former status. There is no
doubt that with management to prevent encroachment of woody species and to
decrease the dominance of bracken, Shotover’s heathland will regain some of its
former interest and attractiveness.
Wetlands are one of the most threatened wildlife habitats in lowland Britain. Until
the beginning of the nineteenth century large areas of East Anglia were marsh and
fen. More locally Otmoor was a substantial area of we moorland until the
Enclosure Acts of the mid-nineteenth century. With an improved understanding of
drainage technology these wetlands have been relentlessly drained and turned into
high quality agricultural land. Marsh, fen and bog occurred in some quantity within
Shotover Royal Forest. Following disafforestation in 1660 the wetlands were
drained and converted to agriculture with the subsequent loss of many plant and
There are three categories of wetland remaining near Shotover: marsh, fen and
pond. Marsh is a wet area where the water is close to, but not able ground level,
and where the soil pH is acidic. Fen is a corresponding habitat on alkaline soils
where there is some accumulation of surface peat. No area of fen survives in
Shotover Country Park although there is a small remnant in nearby BBONT-owned
The number and extent of marshes on the slopes of Shotover have
declined dramatically over the past 200 years. This loss is testified to by a
catalogue of extinctions. Round-leafed sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), wood
horsetail (Equisetum sylvaticum), flat-sedge (Blysmus compressus), bog pimpernel
(Anagallis tenella), blinks (Montia fontana) and crested buckler-fern (Dryopteris
cristata) have all been lost. Of the bryophytes, Polytrichum commune is known to
have been destroyed by drainage.
‘Polytrichum commune was formerly fine at Shotover but destroyed by drainage
Other examples of peat bog bryophytes which once grew at Shotover include
Cephalozia connivens, Lepidozia setacea, sphagnum subnitens, S squarrosum, S
palustre, Dicranella cerviculata, Dicranum bonjeanii, Splachnum ampullaceum,
Philonotis fonatan and Drepanocladus revolvens
The reason for the dramatic decline in wetland species is that the former marshes
were drained and converted to agricultural use. A few small marshes still exist
alongside the spring-fed streams which drain Johnson’s piece and Holme Ground.
Plants such as marsh-marigold with its large, bright yellow, buttercup-like flowers
can still be found, as well as opposite leafed golden saxifrage (Cyrysosplenium
oppositifolium), marsh valerian (Valeriana dioica), marsh stichwort (Stellaria alsine),
hard rush (J articulatus) and small quantities of the local flea sedge (Carex
pulicaris). Several locally scarce species of bryophyte such as Pellia epiphylla,
Cephalozia biscuspidata, Calypogeia fissa and Rhizomnium punctatum can still be
found. But these small marshes are being further diminished by invasion of sallow
scrub and willow herb.
There are very few ponds in Shotover Country Park. An ancient pond site
in Open Brasenose has suffered from recent drainage. A single small pond
survives in Brasenose Wood and a small area of freshwater survives, except in
drought, in Johnson’s Piece. The natural history interest of these small, temporary
ponds is limited.
188.8.131.52.6 Five fields, in Oxford City’s ownership, occupy a central area of the Country Park.
Crops in recent years include grass Leys, barley, oats and potatoes.
Plants of note still to be found at Shotover include several locally uncommon
calcifuges such as training at John’s Wort (Hypercium humifusum) sand spettey
(Spergularia rubra) and early hair grass (Aira praelox); locally uncommon ancient
woodland plants such as orpine (Sedum telephium), violet helleborine (Epopactis
purpurata) and cow wheat (Melampyrum pratense); and plants of neutral grassland
such as tuberous vetching (Lathyrus tuberosus).
Many mosses and liverworts are very exacting in their habitat requirements. For
this reason the known loss of many bryophytes provides an indication of ecological
changes which have taken place. The known extinction of a community of
bryophytes including Sphagnum subnitens, S squarrosum, S palustre, Polytrichum
commune, Dicranum bonjeani, Splacnum ampullaceum, Philontis fontana,
Riccardia sinuata, Cephalozia connivens and Lepidozia setacea testifies to the total
loss of peat bog from Shotover. Heath and acid grassland, which have many
bryophytes in common, have lost Pogonatum nanum, P aloides, Raconitrium
caescens, Bryum pseudo-triquetrum, Nardia sclaris and Solenostomata crenulatum.
Shotover’s epiphyte flora is depauperate and known extensions include
Orthotrichum striatum, Ulota phyllanth, Cryphaea heteromalla, Leucodon sciuroides
and Radula complanata. There are several possible reasons for the epiphyte
extinctions but it could well be that the increased level of SO2 in the atmosphere is
the main culprit.
Species such as Anthoceros punctatus and Ephemerum serratum have been lost
from the arable fields and others such as Acaulon muticum only remain in minute
quantities. The reason for these losses is probably the change in farming practices
which has resulted in arable fields being cultivated throughout the year and not
being left fallow for any length of time.
A comprehensive list of bryophytes is included at Appendix 13.
Lichens - Shotover’s woodlands possess few lichen species compared to woods
away from urban development. Lecanora conizaeoides occurs abundantly as a
thick, grey-green crust on bark. The abundance of this pollution-tolerant lichen
suggests that Shotover’s lichen flora is affected by atmospheric pollution. L
conizaeoides is scarce in the pollution-free woodlands of western Britain, because
of competition from some of the large foliose lichens which are extremely sensitive
to air pollution. Cladonia coniocraea, which grows at the base of many of
Shotover’s mature oaks, is often found with the moss Hypum cupressiforme. A
third woodland lichen association is based on Hypogumnia physodes which is
found in greatest abundance on large, horizontal branches of oak trees. Small
quantities of Evernia prunastri and Cetraria glauca are found growing with H
physodes. These lichens do not survive in areas of severe atmospheric pollution
and so they indicate that Shotover does not suffer as bad air pollution as some
parts of the country.
The acid grassland and heath of Shotover Hill contain few lichens. However, a
careful search will reveal five species of Cladonia; C allosquamosa, C chlorophaea,
C fimbriata, C pyxidata and C subulata.
The limestone walls on Shotover possess a rich lichen flora which is more tolerant
of atmospheric pollution than the woodland lichen flora. Species present include
Calopiaca citrina, C heppiana, Dimerella lutea, Lecanora campestris, Physica
caesia, P orbicularis, P grisea and Xanthoria parietina. The exposed sandstone
doggers have several species of lichen growing on them including Bacidia umbrina,
candelariella vitellina, Lecanora dispersa, L muralis and Physica caesia.
A comprehensive list of lichens is included at Appendix 1, and a report on the use
of lichens as indicators of air pollution at Shotover.
Over 260 species of fungi have been recorded from Shotover Forest and
many more remain to be identified. Fungi play and extremely important role in the
forest ecosystem. The fruiting bodies, most of which appear in Autumn, provide
food for many animals - from mammals, such as rabbits and squirrels, to beetles
(for example, the family Mycetophagidae), to flies such as the fungus gnats.
In addition fungi are important agents of decomposition. Fungal mycelia extract
nutrients from dead organic matter and hence play a vital role in mineral recycling.
There is an immense range of shape and colour shown by Shotover’s fungi. The
large, parasol mushroom is excellent to eat as are ink caps, morels and giant
puffball ‘steaks’. However two extremely poisonous species are also present and a
single cap of Amanita phalloides or Lepiota fuscovinacea is sufficient to cause
death to humans even after cooking! The acid grassland on the northern slopes of
Shotover Hill has a magnificent range of colourful fungi - green parrot wax caps
(Hygrocybe psttacina), scarlet wax caps (H coccineus) and vivid yellow wax caps (H
Several rare fungi have been recorded from the Country Park including woodland
species such as Suillus aeruginescens and the violet-stemmed Lepiota bucknallii,
which smells strongly of coal gas, and grassland species such as the green
Leptonia incana and the blackening eax cap Hygrocybe nigrescens which is orange
when young, deep red when mature and black in old age. A comprehensive list of
fungi is included at Appendix 15.
Although no unusual birds nest at Shotover any longer, substantial numbers
of common birds breed in the Country Park. Woodland is a particularly important
habitat for breeding birds because it supports a much greater density of birds than
other habitats. There has been a noticeable decline in such heathland species as
night-jar, wheatear, whinchat and stonechat due in part to the scrubbing over of
suitable habitat. If the heathland were restored it is by no means certain that these
birds would return to breed, but it is possible that at least some would return over a
period of years.
A comprehensive list is included in Appendix 1.
A wide range of mammals are found in the Country Park including
harvest mice, water shrews, badgers and muntjac. A comprehensive list is
included in Appendix 2.
The dragonfly fauna of Shotover is rather disappointing although it is
possible that other interesting species have been missed. The old record for
Gomphus must be considered doubtful because of the lack of rivers which provide
its normal habitat. The most widely seen dragonflies are Aeshna grandis and
Sympetrum striolatum both of which are often seen far from water from July to
September. All other species occur in good numbers near the more open ponds at
Shotover. A comprehensive species list is included at Appendix 3.
The neighbouring Bernwood Forest possesses one of the richest
butterfly communities in Britain and it is not surprising that a lot of interest is found
in the Shotover Wood. All of the hairstreaks have been recorded although the
elusive brown hairstreak has not been seen in recent years. Of the Nymphalidae,
white admirals are probably found in all of the woods, purple emperors in a few of
the woods and the very rare large tortoise-shell has been recorded from both
Shotover Hill and Brasenose Wood since the 1960s.
A comprehensive species list is included at Appendix 4.
The 260 recorded species of moth include many which are confined to
woodland. Local woodland moths include the sprawler (Brachionycha sphinx),
scarce silver lines (Pseudolps bicolorana), and dotted rustic (Rhyacia simulans).
Two uncommon woodland species which have note been recorded in recent years
are the broad-bordered bee hawk (Hemaris fuciformis) and the oak nycteoline
(Nycteola revayana). Other species of note are the archer’s dart (Agrotis
vestigialis) which is a mainly coastal moth and the forester (Procris statices) which
is a nationally declining moth usually found in old meadows.
A comparative species list is included at Appendix 5.
Many rare flies have been recorded from Shotover. Of the old records
there are the rare woodland species Tipula truncorum, T peliostigma, Ormosia
bicomis and Criorhina asilica; rare heathland and rough pasture species such as
Limonia masoni, Asilus crabroniformis, Eudorylas teminalis, Platycheirus
discimanus, Volucella inanis and Miltogramma gemmari, the latter two species
being associated with solitary bees and wasps; and rare wetland species such as
Stratiomys furcata, Ulidia erthrophthalma and Sapromyza bipunctata. Three rare
Shotover flies have been not been recorded from Britain in recent years - Pipizella
maculipennis, Eccoptomera omata and Ceromya monstrosicomis. Very little
attention has been paid to the flies recently but species of note from the 1980s are
Stratiomys potamida, Oxycera pulchella, Calliopum elisaw and Cerodontha hennigi
which mines wood small-reed (Calamagrostis epigejos).
The number of rare flies recorded from Shotover is quite outstanding. However,
most of the records are more than fifty years old and the rarities may now be
extinct. Nevertheless, much suitable habitat remains and a concerted search may
well reveal interesting species.
A comprehensive species list is included at Appendix 6.
With 174 species of Aculeate Hymenoptera (bees and wasps)
Shotover has one of the most outstanding assemblages in the country. There are
records for 13 national rarities and 32 local rarities (see 2.2.2.).
A comprehensive species list is included at Appendix 7.
A substantial list of beetles has been compiled and it is certain that a
great many more remain to be found. Several local and uncommon species are
present including Rhizophagus nitidulus (a small dead woodfeeder), two local dor
longhorns (Agapanthia villosoviridescens and Phytoecia cylindrica) and a local or
beetle Typhaeus Typoheus. Several rare beetles were recorded pre-1930 which
have not been seen in recent years. Of particular note are the ground beetle
Harpalus honestus, the oil beetle Meloe rugosus, the rove beetle Aleochara
maculata and the Pselaphid Claviger longicomis. Other local ground beetles which
have not been recorded in recent years are Notiophilus aquaticus, Dyschirius
politus, Panageus bipustulatus and Metabletus truncatellus - it is interesting that
these are all insects of open country.
One disappointment is the shortage of noteworthy dead wood beetles at Shotover.
The dead wood species are mostly common (eg Tetratoma fungorum,
Mycetophagus bipustulatus and Atrecus baptolinus) whereas Oxfordshire’s other
Royal Forests (Wychwood and Woodstock Chase) boast a range of rarities.
A comprehensive list is included at Appendix 8.
64 species of spider have been recorded from Shotover including the
nationally rare Zygiella stroema, Tuberta maerens and Porrhomma oblitum.
A comprehensive list is included at Appendix 9.
Present day Shotover is very different from the natural forest which it replaced. No
direct evidence about the nature of this forest is available, but it is possible to make
some tentative assertions based on evidence from other parts of Britain and
Europe. Following the Pleistocene glaciation Oxfordshire became extremely well
wooded and these forests may have contained animals such as elk, reindeer and
auroch (wild ox), remains of which have been found in northern Britain where they
became extinct long before the Anglo-Saxon period. Animals which may have
been found at Shotover at the time of the Roman occupation include wolf, wild cat
and brown bear. Wolves were common during the Anglo-Saxon period. Wild
cats, which still survive in Scotland, were formerly common throughout Britain
disappearing only when woodland was cleared for cultivation. A wild cat is said to
have been caught in Holton Wood in 1863. It was said to have been
‘a genuine and splendid wild cat which looked like a small tiger and was 31½” long
and weighed 9.75lb.’
However, this was probably a feral cat rather than a true wild cat. The question of
brown bears is more problematical, but they were found in northern England until
the tenth century and as their present day habitat in Europe is deciduous woodland,
they may have existed in Oxfordshire at an early date.
Other animals present in prehistoric Shotover include red deer, roe deer and wild
boar, but these did not disappear until comparatively recent times. Red deer were
still present in Wychwood Forest until 1856 and their hides were used by the glove
manufacturing industry at Chipping Norton. It is likely that both red and roe deer
were still to be found at Shotover in Medieval times. Wild boar hunting was a
favourite pastime of Norman Kings. Boars are known to have been in Wychwood
Forest in the thirteenth century when Henry III instructed two boars to be taken from
Wychwood to Haveris, then part of Waltham Forest. There is an interesting legend
concerning wild boar at Shotover whereby a student of the Queen’s College named
Copcot, was walking in Shotover Forest reading Aristotle when a boar attacked him.
The student rammed the volume down the throat of the beast say the words
‘Graecum est’ and the boar expired. This episode is remembered by an oil
painting in the Queen’s College, a stained glass window in Horspath Church and an
annual ceremony in the Queen’s College where a boar’s head, with an orange
between its teeth, is carried aloft in procession into Hall every Christmas Day. The
family crest of Tyrell family, who lived in Shotover House in the seventeenth
century, was a boar’s head with a peacock feather in its mouth. The boar’s head
story can only be a legend because Greek was not taught at Oxford University at
this time. However, one element of the story which makes it more believable is
that Copcot is a local name, being derived from a place near Tetsworth. It is
certain that wild boar were present in prehistoric Shotover but they probably
became extinct in the forest during Anglo-Saxon times.
The vegetation of Shotover would have been largely high forest with oaks
predominating. The pedunculate oak is the most abundant tree at Shotover now
but it is possible that the sessile oak was more widespread in natural forest.
Subsequent planting favoured the pedunculate oak which was thought to be the
better timber tree. Although oaks were the most abundant tree, there were lesser
numbers of other species such as silver birch, field maple, aspen, wild cherry and
wild service tree. Apart from confers the only alien tree species present in any
numbers at Shotover is the sycamore, which was introduced to England as an
ornamental in Tudor times. One tree species which may have been present in
natural Oxfordshire forest but which is now absent from Shotover is the small-leafed
lime (Tilia cordata). Pollen analysis of lime shows that it was widespread in
England 5-7,500 years ago.
We have no evidence concerning herbaceous plants found in natural Oxfordshire
wildwood but it is likely that it contained many species still present. A striking
feature of wildwood is the amount of dead and fallen timber present - recent
measurements from natural deciduous forest in Poland show that about as much
wood is decaying on the ground as is standing - a marked contrast to the tidy,
managed woodland of today.
The first direct evidence of human habitation at Shotover comes from the finding of
flint chips, flakes, scrapers and arrow heads produced by a flint knapper in Neolithic
times and found at several places including the vicinity of Westhill Farm25. The
nearest substantial flint sources to Shotover are the Chilterns and Berkshire Downs
and so any flint found at Shotover must have been brought from a distance. Tow
long barrows existed at the western end of Shotover Plain until their destruction by
military activity during the Second World War. It is thought that a prehistoric route
existed between Dorchester and Oxford along the line of the future Roman road17,
and it is note surprising that such a well-drained and easily defended site as
Shotover Hill was settled by early man.
Oxford was not heavily settled in Roman time but it was a major centre for the
production of pottery26. Shotover Hill is just to the north of the Roman road
between Dorchester and Alchester. Many kiln sites have been found near this
road including one on Shotover Hill (in Row Field to the east of Shotover Plain), one
in Open Brasenose (discovered as recently as 1969) and others at Woodeaton,
Headington Wick and the Churchill Hospital - all within the bounds of what became
Shotover Royal Forest. The Shotover kilns produced colour-coated wares,
parchment wares, white wares and mortaria. Suitable clay for the grey and red
wares could have come from either Kimmeridge or Oxford clays, but the white
wares depend on iron-free clays of which Shotover had the only considerable
source in its Wealden beds. This white clay was used for pipe making until the
seventeenth century. The Shotover kilns were in operation from 240-400 AD and
the white ware mortaria from Open Brasenose have been found all over
The presence of these kilns would certainly have had a considerable influence on
Shotover Forest. The kilns would have been fuelled with local wood, and oaks
from around the kilns would have been felled for this purpose. The Romans are
known to have introduced certain plant and animal species to Britain, some of
which are still found at Shotover. Henbane and ground-elder are two plants said to
have been introduced for their medicinal value. Ground elder is common near
habitation at Shotover. Henbane is not common but it did appear in profusion near
Open Brasenose in 1976 and it may be that the hot dry summer of 1975 broke
dormancy and allowed existing seeds to germinate. Fallow deer, possibly
introduced by the Romans, were an important constituent of the Royal forest.
To sum up, Shotover was well known to the Romans, particularly as a source of
iron-free clays. Although the Romans felled many trees for fuel and building, it is
likely that these areas rapidly reverted to forest after the Romans left. The most
lasting influence of the Romans was through the plan and animal species which
Shotover Royal Forest
Royal Forests were established in Saxon times and forest laws are known to have
existed in the time of King Canute (c.995-1035). These forests were areas of land,
part woodland and part pasture, subject to strict laws exercised by a complicated
system of courts and officials. The earliest surviving written regulation dealing with
forest laws is the Assize of Woodstock (1184) but this embodied earlier customs
and legal practice. Royal forests had something of a chequered history, with
monarchs such as Henry II increasing the area of land subject to forest laws
(afforestation) while others such as Edward I, reduced the area subject to forest
laws (disafforestation). However, neither afforestation nor disafforestation involved
felling or planting of trees.
Land subject to forest law was not necessarily owned by the Crown. In Doomsday,
Shotover is described as one of the King’s ‘demesne’ forests which suggests that it
was owned by the monarch. However, by the thirteenth century it is documented
that certain religious houses owned parcels of land within the forest and for most of
its history several land owners were involved at Shotover.
The early boundary of Shotover can be gleaned from a perambulation (a boundary
survey) undertaken in about 1298. This boundary is shown on Fig. 10
superimposed on a present day parish boundary map. Most of this boundary
interpretation is base don a study by Roberts27. The area of Shotover Royal Forest
at this time was approximately 2,300 ha. Also shown on Figure 8 are woodlands
formerly within the forest, which were disafforested by Edward I. For comparison
the boundary of Shotover Forest in 164328, seventeen years before disafforestation,
is shown (Fig. 11) and it can be seen that the area subject to forest laws had shrunk
to about 600 ha by that time.
The best known function of royal forests was to provide hunting facilities exclusively
for the King. However, no records of any monarchs visiting Shotover are available
even though they are known to have frequently visited neighbouring Wychwood
Forest and Woodstock Chase. Shotover itself lay beside the route from
Westminster to the Royal Manor of Woodstock and so every monarch would have
passed Shotover and it is almost certain that all monarchs would have hunted
there. The reason no records are available is that such an event would not have
been considered newsworthy. It is probable that more important functions of royal
THE BOUNDARY OF SHOTOVER ROYAL FOREST IN 1298
FIGURE 11 t
THE BOUNDARY OF SHOTOVER ROYAL FOREST IN 1642
forests were in raising revenue through sales and forest courts, and as perquisites
to favoured individuals and organisations.
It is well known that the King’s table at Windsor was sometimes replenished with
venison from Shotover29. In 1613 the bailiwick of Shotover was granted to Sir
Timothy Tyrell. There is a tradition that the reason for this gift was that while
hunting with the Prince of Wales, Sir Timothy held a buck’s head for the Prince to
sever. The Prince’s blow badly wounded Sir timothy’s hand and the bailiwick of
Shotover was by way of compensation for the injury. However, it is not certain that
this incident, if it happened at all, took place at Shotover.
Local forest courts or Swainmotes are known to have taken place at Shotover at
least from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century, but the only court about which
any details are extant was held at Headington on 9 June 163630. This is a late
date in the history of royal forests and in many places forest laws had begun to
decay before this time. During the reign of Charles I there was an attempt to revive
strict forest jurisdiction. This example gives an insight into the hierarchy of forest
officers as well as the range of offences committed. All the forest officers were
present. Henry Lord Holland was keeper, the chief local authority of the forest and
a post which carried many perquisites and privileges. Sir Henry Cooke and Mr
Unton Croke were the two verderers, elected by free-holders in the county court
whose duties were concerned with the forest courts. Three foresters were present,
each of which was in charge of a ‘walk’ within the forest, namely New Lodge Walk,
Old Lodge Walk and Stowood.
Edward Whistler was woodward for the whole forest and his duties included
ensuring that the underwood was properly enclosed before the coppice was cut,
paying labourers employed in fence making, dividing underwood into lots for sale,
directing any tree felling and making sure that any person trespassing within the
forest was brought to justice. Twelve regarders were present and these men,
originally knights, mad a triannual inspection of the forest and reported to the forest
courts. Two gentlemen keepers were at the court whose duties involved looking
after the forest deer. Two agisters were present whose duties were to oversee any
grazing within the forest. Cattle, sheep and swine were all grazed in the forest and
payments (agistments) were collected for this privilege. Other forest officers
present at the court were five subforesters, two wardens and two pages. As can
be seen a considerable number of officers and labourers were employed in various
activities within the forest.
Offences in the forest come under four headings: venison (killing deer or wild boar),
vert (damaging timber or underwood), assart (enclosing land within the forest) and
purpresture (building within the forest). A this 1636 court Roger Gardiner was fined
£100 for killing two buck sand two does. John Symondes of Headington was fined
£5 for killing does with a ‘moungrell’ dog. John Weston was fined 320 for netting
hares and William Willoughby, a shipwright, was fined £2,020 for felling fifty oaks
valued at 20s each and grubbing up their roots valued at 5s each. Other
delinquents were fined £5 for removing an ash worth 3s, £2 for removing an ash
worth 6d and £10 for taking 3 cartloads of ash worth 20s. AS can be imagined
these fines were extremely severe but they do not compare with the mutilation and
death meted out by the courts in Norman times. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for
1087 states that King William legislated that
‘Whosoever should slay hart or hind should be blinded’
Other sources of revenue to the Crown and forest officers included the sale of
timber and underwood, and the collection of agistments for animals pastured within
the forest. Timber from Shotover was used in the construction of many buildings
including Oxford gaol30, Oxford and Wallingford Castles, Chapel of St Mary in the
Hospice of St John the Baptist and the Bodleian Library31. Even though Shotover
is far from the coast its oaks were valued for shipbuilding. In 1629 shipwrights
visited Shotover and censused over 27,000 tress which they wanted for their own
use stating that the oaks were
‘the best in the kingdom for shipping, both for hardness and toughness thereof
being not apt to rend or cleave32.’
Studley Priory was granted the right to sell underwood from a wood within the
forest33. Villages with no common grazing paid agistment to the swainmote for the
right to pasture animals within the forest. In 1363 Noke sent 12 pigs, Islip 20 pigs,
Woodeaton 6 pigs, Elsfield 8 pigs, Beckley 10 pigs, Forest Hill 12 pigs, Wheatley 10
pigs, Horspath 18 pigs and Cowley 10 pigs into the forest at the rate of 1s 6d per
pig, par of the fee going to the Crown and part to the senior forest officers34. The
pigs were only allowed into the forest during the pannage (acorn eating) season
lasting from 14 September until 18 November (21 September to 25 November in
the modern calendar). In 1452 agistments totalled 28s 7.75d plus eighteen
bushels of wheat. Other minor sources of revenue included cokshotes (payments
of hens and eggs for the privilege of collecting dry wood within the forest) and
chiminage which was payment for the right of driving beasts through the forest.
A final source of revenue was the payments made for quarrying within the forest.
White clay for pipemaking was quarried until the seventeenth century. Ochre, said
by Robert Plot to be the finest in the kingdom15, was quarried for many centuries.
The poor quality ochre was used as a dye for painting wagons: traditionally the
body of Oxfordshire wagons was yellow but the wheels and bed were red34. The
finest quality ochre was used for paint pigments as was ground at a mill near
Wheatley. The Cuddesdon Charter of 956 was the first endowment of St
Ethelwold’s reconstituted Abingdon Abbey. In the famous Benedictional of St
Ethelwold, which was once kept at Chatsworth and is now stored in the National
Library, the animal on which Christ is entering Jerusalem is painted with mineral
ochre, which may have been from Shotover as a good and local source22.
Many individuals and organisations (religious houses in particular) benefited from
gifts and favours and some of these had an important influence on the later history
of the forest. Gifts of venison were frequent: in 1278 four bucks were sent from
Shotover as a gift to Bartholomew de Sutlegh and in 1281 six bucks were sent to
James de Ispannia, nephew of Queen Eleanor the King’s Consort30. The Knight’s
Templars, who owned a wood to the south east of the present day Brasenose
Wood, were granted the right to take ten bucks annually. Certain organisations
were excused payments of pannage and were allowed to herd swine free of charge.
In 1443 Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, keeper of the royal forests to the south of
the river Trent, granted the Hospice of St John the Baptist the right to put fifty pigs
in whittlewood Forest, fifty in Bernwood and fifty in Shotover free of pannage35.
Gifts of underwood were common and in later years these were sometimes
superseded by fits of land. In 1222 Henry III granted the brethren of the Hospital
of St Bartholomew the right to gather one hundred bundles of dead wood for
burning from Shotover. In 1234 the Hospice of St John the Baptist, on whose site
Magdalen College now stands, was granted the right to collect a load of wood for
fuel by sumpter horse twice daily from the forest. In 1246 this right was replaced
by a gift of land within the forest, which was later known as Wood Farm and
included Magdalen Wood36.
In 1226 Henry III granted the Prioress of Littlemore the right to take a sumpter
horse twice daily into the forest to collect dead wood and thorn for fuel17. This
concession was replaced in 1259 by a gift of 27 acres of forest. The location of
this gift is given as being bounded by the wood of the Templars (probably Peryhale
which is now an arable field to the SE of Brasenose Common), The King’s Wood
(Shotover to the north) and Wodewardesmede (later Wood Farm). Brasenose
Wood has an earth bank running SW to NE which divides the wood into two and as
the parcel of woodland to the north of the mound measures 27.59 acres, it is
possible that this is the same woodland granted to the prioress in the thirteenth
century. While in the possession of the Prioress of Littlemore, the wood was
known as Minchery Wood. This name was derived from the obsolete word minchin
which in turn came from the Old English mynecenu meaning nun38. Minchery
Wood was later increased in size to about 80 acres to include all of Brasenose
Wood and Open Brasenose.
In 1659 Sir Christopher Brome purchased ‘Myncherye Woodde’ from Edmund
Powell of Lampeforde for £4039. In 1579 Brasenose College obtained Minchery
Woods from Sir Christopher Brome by means of a swap with land at Forest Hill and
Northam and Bradmore40. Records in the archives of Brasenose College show
that the wood was being actively coppiced during the sixteenth century. In 1570
Elizabeth I granted the College the right to continue
‘laying waste, rearranging and repairing their 80 acre coppice in Heddendon’41.
Brasenose College managed the woodland by letting it on a series of 21 year
leases. For example in 1654 the woods were let to Wm. Combes for £2242.
Conditions of the lease provided that the tenant was to
‘repair, cleanse, and scour the ditches, hedges, fences, mounds and watercourses
in the woods and to surrender all in good condition’.
An extra payment of £5 was to be made for every acre of land ploughed up or
‘eased’. It is interesting to note that Wm. Combes recovered a good deal of his
rent back from the College on payment for timber for building in the College. For
example in 1656 there is an entry in the Account Book
‘payd to Wm. Combes for 3 sapling oaks counting 84’ at 15½d per foot = £5.8.6 for
laths for chapple’43.
The system of 21 year leases was continued into the early years of the twentieth
The presence of a royal forest would have had great local significance, both as a
source of revenue to the forest officers and some local organisations, and as a
restriction on local peasants some of whom frequently infringed the forest laws.
The forest was managed with the aim of maintaining a good stock of deer,
maintaining the timber and underwood in a healthy condition and producing
revenue from grazing the forest pasture. In order to achieve these aims a high
level of activity was necessary and many people were employed in the forest.
Decline of Shotover Forest
During the period when Sir Timothy Tyrell was Keeper of Shotover Forest (1613-60)
the woods decayed leading to disafforestation in 1660. There were significant
demands for timber from the navy at this point because the New Forest and Forest
of Dean had been worked out. Further demands on Shotover’s timber came from
the works on the banks of the river Thames. Sir Timothy is said to have
unnecessarily felled many oaks and it is also said that the revenue from timber
sales went into the pocket of the forest officers rather than the Crown. This period
of waste and decay was compounded during the period of the Civil War when
Oxford was the capital of the Royalists. During the siege of Oxford much of
Shotover’s wood was used for fuel and some of the larger trunks were used for
fortification. Finally in 1660, in the reign of Charles II, Shotover was shown to be in
such poor condition that it was disafforested or made no longer subject to forest
laws. After disafforestation those with rights of common were compensated by fits
of land (641 acres), while the rest (983 acres) was leased by the Crown, the
lessees being encouraged to build and plough. The estate was purchased from
the Crown in 1745 by Augustus Sshutz, and is still largely in private hands although
three farms (Westhill Farm, Wood Farm and Brasenose Farm) were acquired by
Oxford City Council in the first half of the twentieth century.
Throughout the period of Shotover Royal Forest the main route from Oxford to
London passed over Shotover Hill. The occupants of the coach were obliged to
dismount and walk up the steepest sections. There is a record of a Dutch scholar
named Mathew Slade expiring due to the rigours of the uphill walk in December
186944. A stone used for remounting the coach is still to be found at the western
end of Shotover Plain.
The area to either side of Shotover Plain was a wild and desolate place and there
are several records of dastardly deeds. One of the most famous victims of
highway robbery was Charles Wesley45, who one October day in 1739 was
travelling from Oxford to London on horseback. He had not gone more than a mile
from the city when his mount went lame. So, as is recorded, he commended
himself to Divine protection and began to sing the 91st Psalm, that robust anthem
which assures the believer that the Almighty will deliver him from ‘the snare of the
hunter’, ‘the noisome pestilence’, ‘terror by night’ and ‘the arrow that flieth by day’,
among a long catalogue of perils with which the righteous are bound to be assailed.
The traveller had hardly ended the singing, and had but that moment passed the
hut on Shotover Hill (presumably Titup Hall, now the Crown and Thistle) when a
man came up and asked him for his money The highwayman showed no pistol,
but Charles Wesley handed over his purse containing 30 shillings. ‘Have you no
more?’ asked the robber, whereupon he put his hand in his pocket and gave the
man some halfpence.
Again the highwayman asked the question. Now Charles Wesley could not tell a
lie, so he bade the fellow search for himself. It was a successful ruse for the
highwayman, evidently never before having met a traveller not prepared to lie with
fluency and good conscience, took the rejoinder as a surly way of saying ‘no’ and
did not search him. Wesley salved his conscience and saved the thirty guineas he
had in another pocket.
In the 12 January 1760 edition of Jackson’s Oxford Journal it is recorded that
‘Last Saturday morning the Birmingham stage was robbed about five o’clock in the
morning at Shotover Hill, near this city, by two young fellows, in blue close-bodied
coats, mounted don black horses; they took from the passengers about seventeen
pounds and after giving the coachman and postilion a shilling each, rode off.’
In the 9 September 1773 edition it is recorded that
‘Last Saturday morning Mr Way of Thame in this county was stopped in the Hollow
Way on the side of Shotover Hill facing Wheatley by two footpads in carter’s smock
frocks one of whom seized his horse’s bridle, and immediately brandished a pistol
which he clapped to Mr Way’s chest and he threatened to shoot him dead if he did
not instantly deliver his money; upon which Mr Way desired him to remove his pistol
and he would give it him; the fellow did so and received a purse containing twenty
six pounds five shillings and sixpence, with which they both went off contented,
wishing him a good night’.
In the last quarter of the eighteenth century the Stokenchurch Turnpike was
completed (later to become the present A40) and the need to cross Shotover Hill
Post - Royal Forest History
There were a number of disputes in the sixteenth and
seventeenth centures of grazing rights of commoners within Brasenose Wood. For
example in 150 there was a dispute concerning whether “oxen, sheepe, or
labouring horse can common within the forest”.4. In 1789 Open Brasenose was
used for common grazing by the parishes of Headington, Horspath and Cowley,
and so it seems that the disputes about grazing in Brasenose Wood were resolved
by allowing common grazing rights in the 26.74 acres of Open Brasenose. In the
nineteenth and early twentieth centures gypsies camped in Open Brasenose, but
this practice ceased and the common was fenced following an incident where a
gypsy man stabbed his wife to death there and was hanged.44
Ten acres of woodland were felled in 1852-3 and converted to arable usage5.
Judging from the 1797 map of Richard Davis6 the parcel of woodland was removed
from the northwest of the woods By the early year of the twentieth century
Brasenose Farm was becoming uneconomic; demand for timber and coppice wood
was slack and the shallow soiled single field was unproductive. Church2 states
that Brasenose Wood’s underwood was in poor condition in 1921-22 when it
fetched only £4 per acre (=6d per pole) at the annual underwood sales, compared
to £6 per acre for the better quality underwood of Bagley Wood and £14 per acre
for best quality coppice in Nuneham Wood. Coppicing has long since ceased in
Bagley Wood, to be replaced by conifer production.
In 1935 Brasenose College sold Brasenose Wood to the Citizens of Oxford for
£6,000 on condition that
“The piece of land marked Brasenose Wood ... shall for ever be kept and used as
woodland and no timber be felled ... unless it is in the interests of good forestry”.7
On the nineteenth century sale maps 8,9 Johnson’s Piece, then
named Middle Ground, is described as rough grazing and furze. Indeed there is
an old drinking trough which provides further evidence that the field was formerly
grazed. In 1908 Rev. A H Johson, a fellow of All Souls College, along with a
number of other members of Oxford University, subscribed to buy Johnson’s Piece
as a gift of the Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford.
Conditions of the gift were that the area should be devoted to the use of the public
forever and that the charge of the land should be entrusted to the Curators of the
University Parks10. Immediately after the land was entrusted to the University
several ornamental trees were planted including sweet chestnut, sugar maple,
red-leafed maple, Scots pine and Austrian pine, which have since matured to give
the area something of the feel of an informal arboretum. In Church2 there is a
photograph taken in 1922 of Johnson’s Piece, then named University Enclosure,
which clearly shows how much more open the area was at that time.
The 1947 aerial photograph shows that there was less woodland there than now
and it also shows the considerable erosion in the north caused by passage of
Between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries Magdalen
Wood was let on a series of seven year leases. In Mr North’s lease of 1766 for
example11, the rent for seven years was £14 but all the timber from the woodland
was reserved for College use. At the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the
nineteenth centures trees from Magdalen Wood were used to repair the buildings of
Wood Farm 12, but the paucity of records of timber sales suggests that Magdalen
Wood was not as important a course of timber as some other parts of Shotover
Forest. Although no longer subject to forest laws there were still severe penalties
for misdemeanours in local woodland. In March 1766 Edward Jones was publicly
whipped for stealing two faggots from Magdalen Wood13 . In 1872 there was a
court case concerning rights of ingress and egress through Magdalen Wood14 and
the accompanying text and map afford an insight into the condition of Wood farm in
the nineteenth cenetury. Open Magdalen was described as having some timber
trees with brakes of thorns, briars and furze. The dispute concerned the people of
Cowley who had common grazing rights on Elder Stubs.
Before enclosure (1853) parishioners were in the habit of taking their cattle through
Open Magdalen on their way to graze on Elder Stubs, and of taking their cattle back
through Open Brasenose. The dispute continued for about 40 years with
Magdalen College fencing the wood and erecting a gate to prevent the entrance of
cattle, and the local farmers breaking down the gate and firing the furze on Open
Magdalen. In 1893 a second prosecution was brought against two locals, the
famous Oxford botanist George Claridge Druce being a witness for the prosecution.
The result was that the parishioners sold Elder Stubs and purchased a recreation
ground within the parish of Cowley15. Wood Farm was sold to Oxford Corporation
in the 1930s, and most of the land is now used for housing apart from Open
Magdalen, which is now known as Magdalen Wood.
Land Use History
When subject to forest law Shotover Royal Forest was covered almost entirely by
seminatural vegetation, although the 1298 perambulation shows that there was
some arable land within the forest. The forest was not truly natural because many
of man’s activities had an influence on the nature of the vegetation. However, very
little intensive management occurred and so the plant communities found were
strongly related to those which would be present if the area were uninhabited by
man. The fate of Shotover’s seminatural vegetation is of particular interest
because it contains a rich assemblage of native plants and animals. Indeed, many
species are so closely adapted to life in a semi-natural community that they are
quite unable to survive outside it.
During the reign of Edward I Shotover Royal Forest was at least 3,000 ha in extent.
By 1298 the area subject to forest laws had diminished to about 2,300 ha. At
disafforestation in 1660 the area of the Royal Forest was only 600 ha. A detailed
survey of the surviving seminatural remnants of the forest shows that only about
252 ha remain, thus representing about 8.4% of the area of the original Shotover
Royal Forest. It is interesting to note that about 140 ha of seminatural woodland
remain, compared to 58.6 ha of seminatural grassland, 3.5 ha of heath and 5.0 ha
of fen and marsh.
There are many reasons for the dramatic loss of semi-natural vegetation. Some
woods were felled during the royal forest period. For instance, we can deduce that
Peryhale, a wood at one time owned by the Knight’s Templars and situated to the
SE of Open Brasenose, was felled prior to 1605 when it is shown as agricultural
land on a map of Corpus Christi College lands drawn by Thomas Langdon46. In
the seventeenth century many trees were requisitioned by the navy’s shipwrights
and transported to the coast32. Considerable tree felling took place near Oxford at
the time of the civil war for purposes of fuel and fortifcation47. Much woodland was
felled or ‘eased’ following disafforestation. In 1852-53 ten acres of Brasenose
Wood were felled and converted to arable usage48.
The loss of seminatural heathland is less well documented but Druce writes in the
early years of this century3
‘The once celebrated district of Shotover has suffered much during the last century,
at the beginning of which it was open and uncultivated ground, in parts thickly
wooded and in others showing delightful expanses of heath ... the enclosure of the
heathy slopes, the cultivation of its surface ... have gradually denuded the hill of its
characteristic vegetation and the process of destruction still goes on’.
Comparison of the view of Shotover Hill from Cowley Barracks by the renowned
Oxford photographer Henry Taunt in 1880 with the same view today, shows how
the processes of enclosure and cultivation have continued. In the 1920s many
hectares of heathland to the south side of Shotover Hill were lost. 2.5 ha were
planted with European larch and about 15 ha were used for low density housing
with the heathland being transformed into domestic gardens. A photograph of a
newly constructed thatched cottage designed by Thomas Rayson appeared in the
April 1921 issue of Homes and Gardens and clearly shows open heathland in the
Since 1930 Shotover’s heathland has declined in quantity and quality because of
the lack of human interference! This apparent paradox results from the fact that
heathland has to be maintained by grazing or burning. These activities ceased at
Shotover and the result was the encroachment of woody plants and dense stands
of bracken, and the subsequent demise of the varied heath flora.
Seminatural grassland has been lost both to the plough and to ‘agricultural
improvements’ such as reseeding or treatment with fertilisers and pesticides.
The natural history or arable fields, an artificial habitat, has declined over the past
200 years. Thorow-wax (Bpuleurum rotundifolium), corncokle (Agrostemma
githago), corn buttercup (Ranunculus arvensis), rough poppy (Papaver hybridum
and corn parsley (Petroselinum segetum) are documented examples of extinctions.
Some arable field bryophytes are known to have been lost, and others such as
Acaulon muticum only remain in minute quantities. Losses are continuing -
cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) grew near Sydling’s Copse until 1981. Some
unusual weeds remain - the tiny venus’s looking-glass (Legousia hybrida), many
seeded goosefoot (Cehnopodium polyspertum) and the beautiful corn marigold
(Chrysanthemum segetum) are still found but each year in diminishing quantities.
The reason for these changes is that improvements in agricultural practice result in
purer seed corn and increased use of herbicides.
The vegetation of Shotover has changed dramatically since Royal Forest times.
The diminution of seminatural vegetation has reduced the number of places
suitable for many of our native plants and animals. Not all changes have been
harmful - the construction of ponds on the Shotover Estate, the more recent clay pit
ponds at Risinghurst and the excavation of ponds within the Country Park have
provided valuable freshwater habitats. However, most changes have been harmful
and have resulted in the loss and fragmentation of much callable wildlife habitat.
PAST MANAGEMENT OF SHOTOVER COUNTRY PARK BY OXFORD CITY
Oxford City Council has managed Shotover Country Park since the late 1930s.
Two resident rangers have been on site throughout that period. A wide range of
land management activities have been undertaken since that time. More detailed
comments on many of these are included in the Prescriptions (Chapter 3).
Provision of visitor facilities has been limited to construction of WC block (SODC in
late 1960s), provision of nature trails (1978), provision of permanent orienteering
course (1977), provision of two picnic tables (donated by Rotary Club 1983) and
provision of information boards (1980).
A variety of opinions have been expressed on the success of Oxford City’s
management of Shotover Country Park. Some local residents express the view
that no land management operations should take place in the Country Park and in
general these people are unhappy to see large numbers of visitors. Many regular
visitors express reasonable satisfaction with the management of the country park.
Organisations such as Nature Conservancy Council and Countryside Commission
have expressed satisfaction with the situation at Shotover (see Appendix 20).
Shotover Country Park is heavily used by the public for informal recreation. The
shortage of ‘wild’ countryside in Oxfordshire results in a limited choice for people
wishing to take advantage of this kind of facility.
Since 1979 a count has been kept of the number of cars visiting Shotover Plain.
Total no of
annual no of
no of visitors
These figures are based on the following assumptions.
Every car visiting Shotover Plain passes the counter twice
Cars contain an average of 3.5 people per car. This is a Countryside Commission
figure based on surveys at various country parks.
61.5% of visitors to Shotover arrive by car. This is based on 2 questionnaires
carried out by Oxford Polytechnic on Sundays in 1977 and 1978. In 1977 60 out of
100 arrived by car, and in 1978 122 out of 193 (=63%) arrived by car.
9 out of 10 visitors to Shotover Country Park arrive via Shotover Plain. This
estimate is based on the knowledge that there are about 10 minor entrances to
Shotover but that the Plain is the only substantial car park.
Little information is available on the origin of the people visiting the Country Park,
but although the vast majority are Oxford residents it is known that a minority come
from as far afield as Witney, Abingdon and Kidlington. The lack of public transport
makes it difficult for non car owners or people living out of walking range to visit the
country park. Many people find it difficult to articulate their reasons for coming to
Shotover but likely reasons include the extensive views to the south, the informal
‘wild’ aspect of Shotover, the variety of habitat and the profusion of wildlife.
The high level of public interest in Shotover has resulted in the establishment, in
1973 of the Shotover Preservation Society. In addition the Shotover (Consultative)
Sub-Committee of Oxford City’s Recreation and Amenities Committee was
established in 1976, and its terms of reference is included in Appendix 19.
6” - 1 mile aerial photograph taken by RAF August 1947. Ordnance Survey Office.
Church, A H (1922) - Introduction to the plant life of the Oxford District. OUP
Steel, D T (1985) - The Natural History of a Royal Forest. Pisces Publications.
B N C Archives, 16 Estates (2)
B N C Valuation Book 3, 89
Davis, R (1797) - A new map of the county of Oxford
B N C Ledger No 26 (Estates Register), 43.
1954 Sale Catalogue
1871 Sale Catalogue
Oxford University Gazette, 24. xi. 08
Magdalen College Estates Book 1715-66
Magdalen College Timber Book
M S Top Oxon, 126
Magdalen Papers 1892-1900 via Morrell, Peel and Gamlen (Solicitors St Giles)
a register of the estates of St Mary Magdalen College in the University of Oxford,
Fairfax, E (undated) - Calling all Arms, Hutchinson & Co Ltd
Oxfordshire Victoria County History Vol. 1 University of London Institute of Historical
Jones, E W (1953) - A bryophyte flora of Berkshire and Oxfordshire. 1. Hepaticae
Trans. Brit. Bryol. Soc. 2, 19-32.
Jones, E W (1953) - A Bryophyte flora of Berkshire and Oxfordshire. II. Musci
Trans. Brit. Bryol. Soc. 2 220-277.
Goode, D (1981) - The threat to wildlife habitats, New Scientist 22.1.81.
Druce, G C (1886) - Flora of Oxfordshire, ed. Parker and Co.
Hassal, W O (1956) - Wheatley Records, Cheney & Sons.
Watney, V J (1910) - Cornbury and the Forest of Wychwood. Hatchard.
Rackham, O (1980) - Ancient woodland, its history, vegetation and uses in England.
Berks, Bucks and Oxon Archaeological Journal IV. 27 (1898).
Young, C J (1977) - Oxfordshire Roman Potter, British Archaeological Reports, 43.
Roberts, E (1963) - The boundary and woodlands of Shotover forest c. 1298,
Oxoniensia 28, 68-73.
Whiting, J (1643) - True description, measurement and survey of Shotover Forest,
Ref. no. 355. P.R.O.
Cal. Lib. 1245 - 51, 333.
Cox, J C (1905) - The Royal Forests of England, Methuen & Co
Oxfordshire Victoria County History, Vol. 5 University of London Institute of
MS To Oxon S1 17 133.
Cal. Pat. 1301-7, 333.
Boarstall Cartulary (1930) O.H.S.
Macray, W D (1894 - 1915) - Register of Magdalen College, Oxford.
Property of Magdalen College.
Calendar of Charter Rolls (1906) 1257 - 1300, P.R.O. London.
Gelling, M (1953) - The place names of Oxfordshire. English Place Names
Society. XXIII. Cambridge.
B N C Archives, 16 Estates (1).
Brasenose Quarter centenary Monographs (1909) vi. 19.
B N C Archives, 16 Estates (3).
B N C Archives, 16 Estates (24)
The book of accounts for the new buildings in Oxford (1656), 43.
Wood, A. (1894) - The Life and Times of Antony Wood, Vol. 3, O.H.S.
Journal of Revd. Charles Wesley, M A : Early journal 1736-39 (1910), 128.
Langdon, T (1605) - The description of a tenement and certain parcels of pasture
meadow and wood ground in Horspath ... belonging to Corpus Christi College.
Dunkin, D (1935) - Oxoniensa ii, 439.
B N C Valuation Book 3, 89
Wood, A (1979) Oxford Mail 28.ix.79.
PART TWO EVALUATION AND OBJECTIVES
The proximity to Oxford University has resulted in a good deal of collecting of plant
and animal data from Shotover. Jacob Bobart made some of the world’s earliest
bryophyte collections from Shotover and it is clear that Shotover was a favoured
hunting ground of eighteenth and nineteenth century natural historians. Important
collections were made in the early years of the twentieth century and this profusion
of scientific information about Shotover adds to the present day interest of the site.
Shotover Country Park (with the exception of the larches) was notified as a SSSI on
25 April, 1986. The official description (184.108.40.206.) and the list of potentially
damaging operations follow (220.127.116.11.)
BRASENOSE WOOD AND SHOTOVER HILL SITE OF SPECIAL SCIENTIFIC
OPERATIONS LIKELY TO DAMAGE THE SPECIAL INTEREST
Type of Operation
Cultivation, including ploughing, rotovating, harrowing and re-seeding
The introduction of or changes in the greater regime (including type of
stock or intensity or seasonal pattern of grazing and cessation of grazing).
Changes in stock feeding practice
Changes in the mowing or cutting regime (including hay making to silage
Application of manure, fertilisers and lime
Application of pesticides, including herbicides (weedkillers)
Dumping, spreading or discharge of any materials
The release into the site of any wild, feral or domestic mammal, reptile,
amphibian, bird or invertebrate, or any plant or seed
The killing or removal of any wild mammal, reptile, amphibian, bird or
invertebrate, including pest control
The destruction, displacement, removal or cutting of any plant or plant
remains, including tree, shrub, herb, hedge, dead or decaying wood,
moss, lichen, fungus, leaf mould and turf, except in the course of normal
woodland management and annual cutting of hay.
Changes in tree or woodland management including afforestation,
planting, clear and selective felling, thinning, coppicing, modification of the
stand or underwood, changes in species composition, cessation of
Drainage (including the use of mole, tile, tunnel or other artificial drains).
Modification of the structure of water courses (eg rivers, streams, springs,
ditches, drains) including their banks and beds, as by re-alignment,
regrading and dredging.
Type of Operation
Management of aquatic and bank vegetation for draining purposes
The changing of water levels and tables and water utilisation (including
irrigation, storage and abstraction from existing bodies and though
Infilling of ditches, drains, ponds, pools.
Extraction of minerals, including sand and gravel, topsoil, sub-soil and lime
Construction, removal or destruction of roads, tracks, walls, fences,
hardstands, banks, ditches or other earthworks, or the laying,
maintenance or removal of pipelines and cables, above or below ground
Storage of materials
Erection of permanent or temporary structures, or the undertaking of
engineering works, including drilling.
Use of vehicles likely to damage or disturb features of interest
Recreational or other activities likely to damage features of interest
The introduction of or changes in game management and hunting practice
This letter of consent is not legally
valid until one copy has been signed
AND returned to the Nature
Name of site:
Brasenose Wood and Shotover Hill, Oxfordshire
The City Secretary and Solicitor
Nature Conservancy Council
Oxford City Council
St Aldates Chambers
(This form should be signed, where indicated, by the Nature Conservancy Council and the
above-named owner or occupier of the site to give effect to the notice and consent provisions
of Section 28(5) and (6) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.)
Extent, level and timing of operations which the owner or occupier proposes to carry out or
permit to be carried out or permit to be carried out from the date of notification, in agreement
with the Nature Conservancy Council:
Any operation carried out in accordance with a current Management Plan approved by
the Nature Conservancy Council.
The following operations, for a five year period commencing on the date of notification:
Clearance of vegetation and rotovation, in an area not exceeding 2 ha., for
planting and cultivating native heather species (Calluna vulgaris, Erica tetralix or
Scuffling and harrowing of pebble tracks in Brasenose Wood.
Grazing of up to 10 cattle or horses between July and December inclusive in
Slade Field (between Brasenose Wood and the bypass).
Stock feeding using hay in Slade Field.
The cutting of hay in Slade Field after 1st July each year.
Amenity mowing on Shotover Plain, part of May Sadlers field and along footpaths
and rides after 1st July each year.
The application of Asulam (mixed with Actipron) to control bracken. The
application of Glyphosate or Amcide to cut stumps of scrub species.
The lawful killing of grey squirrels
Flailing of bracken
Thinning of scrub to create a mosaic of grassland and scrub, and flailing of
Use of a mechanical chipper to remove cut stumps.
Removal of limbs and trees posing a hazard to the public.
Hedge-laying and routine trimming.
Clearance of footpaths.
Flailing of rides from 1st September each year.
Tree planting using native broadleaved species in a 100m strip southeast of the
parish boundary between Westhill Farm and the Reservoir Field, and with 1
100m strip west of Blenheim Road.
Rotational coppicing of hazel.
13b/14 Enlarging wetland areas and raising water levels by damming streams and
blocking drainage channels.
Maintenance of principal drains, including clearance of bank vegetation.
Construction of wooden walkways over boggy ground.
Storage of normal forestry products.
Use of normal tractors, trailers and forest machinery.
SITE NAME: BRASENOSE WOOD AND SHOTOVER HILL
DISTRICT: OXFORD CITY/SOUTH OXFORDSHIRE
Status: Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) notified under Section 28 of the Wildlife and
Countryside Act 1981
Local Planning Authority: Oxford City Council/South Oxfordshire District Council
National Grid Reference: SP567058
Ordnance Survey Sheet 1:50,000: 164 (Oxford)
1:10,000: SP 50 NE SP 50 SE
Date Notified (Under 1949 Act):
Date of Last Revision
Date Notified (Under 1981 Act): 1986
Date of Last Revision
109.5 ha 270.6 ac
Other Information: The site is managed by Oxford City Council as a Country Park
Description and Reasons for Notification:
Brasenose Wood has a well defined coppice-with-standards structure and is one of the few
English woods which is still actively managed by this traditional method. The greater part of
the wood is an ancient remnant of Shotover Forest with a documented history dating back to
the thirteenth century. The wood lies on poorly-drained Kimmeridge clays but oolitic
limestone occurs close to the south western boundary and the presence of lime-loving plants
suggests that it outcrops elsewhere in the wood. The flora is exceptionally rich for a wood of
this size with 221 recorded vascular plant species including 46 which are characteristic of
The canopy consists mainly of mature pedunculate oak. Field maple is widespread but
nowhere abundant. There are several clones of aspen and, in common with other remnants
of Shotover Forest, wild cherry is frequent. Smaller amounts of silver birch, beech, rowan and
yew occur but standard ash trees are confined to Open Brasenose, a wood of relatively recent
origin derived from an open common. The coppice layer is dominated by hazel with abundant
blackthorn, hawthorn, Midland hawthorn, crab apple, field maple, dogwood, ash, holly and elm
suckers. Smaller number of guelder rose, wayfaring tree and spindle are found in the
southern part of the wood. The field layer is rich and varied, the composition of which is
dependent on the stage of coppicing. Bramble dominates broad areas of recent coppice but
in suitable places plants such as goldilocks buttercup (Ranunculus auricomus), orpine (Sedum
telephium), nettle-leaved bellflower (Campanula trachelium), spurge laurel (Daphne Lareola),
blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum), wood meadow-grass (Poa nemoralis) and bearded couch
(Elymus caninus) occur. In recently cleared areas, plants such as henbane (Hyoseyamus
niger) and deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna) may flourish for a short time.
Further variety is provided by a network of sinuous rides, with glades at the intersections, and
two small ponds. Open Brasenose has a different structure from the main body of the wood,
characterised by narrow, close-necked stems and few open areas. Open Magdalen is of
similar composition and recent origin, but both of these woods are sufficiently close to the
ancient wood to have developed a relatively rich flora and fauna. Brasenose Wood is a
promising site for invertebrates and the blackthorn thickets and hedges along the northern and
southern perimeter are the main habitat and foodplant of the rare Black Hairstreak butterfly.
The nesting bird population is dense with an estimated average of 225 pairs representing 34
species within the 55 acres of ancient woodland. They include grasshopper warbler and tree
pipit, both scarce species in the Oxford area. The Slade Camp fields are good examples of
unimproved neutral or slightly acidic grassland managed for hay and pasture. Large numbers
of butterflies and day-flying moths use the fields and they contain a wealth of wild flowers
including characteristic species of clay soils such as grass vetchling (Lathyrus nissolia) and
smooth tare (Vicia tetrasperma) as well as naturalised aliens such as goat’s-rue (Galega
officinalis) and the rare tuberous pea (Lathyrus tuberosus).
Shotover Hill provides one of the few extensive examples of unimproved acidic grassland and
heath in Oxfordshire. Only a small area (1-2 acres) of heather-dominated vegetation now
remains and elsewhere former heathland and bog has been replaced by bracken, birch and
gorse. Current management aims at reinstating some of the former heathland area. The
grassland is maintained as a short sward by rabbit-grazing and human trampling, and the dry,
sandy soils, support a rich flora of annuals such as bird’s-foot (Ornithopus perpusillus), knotted
clover (Trifolium stratum), slender trefoil (T. micranthum)(, Knawel (scleranthus annuus), early
hair-grass (Aira praecox) and squirrel-tail fescue (Vulpia bromoides). The vegetation of
Shotover has been studied by botanists for the past three hundred years and some of Britain’s
earliest scientific collections were made here.
The sheltered open swards, sandy banks, scrub woodland, wet flushes and streambanks of
Shotover Hill are of outstanding entomological interest. A substantial number of rare species
occur here, particularly among the diptera (true flies) and aculeates (bees, wasps and ants).
The recorded total of 174 aculeate species is one of the highest in Britain and although many
of these have not been seen in recent years, the area is still an important one. Shotover Hill
is also of local importance for breeding and wintering birds.
Site definition and boundaries
The letters refer to Fig. 11 Boundary Description.
A-B : a thick, overgrown hedge possessing a wide range of woody species.
Privately-owned arable and pasture fields to the north.
B-C : a thin, regularly cut hedge. Privately owned field to the north.
D-E : a thin, regularly cut hedge. Oxford City owned arable field to the south.
E-F : gappy fence with some shrubs and bramble thickets alongside Oxford City
owned arable field to the north and east.
F-G : rustic wooden fence with some trees and stretches of hedge alongside Green
Lane leading to Horspath village.
G-H : line of mature oaks alongside drive to private dwelling.
H-J : mixed fencing (some post and wire, some larch lap) around garden
J-K : post and wire fencing alongside thicket.
K-L : post and wire fencing alongside pasture field.
L-M : ditch and thicket alongside Oxford city owned arable field.
M-N : stone wall and post and wire alongside Westhill Farm
N-O : ditch alongside Oxford city owned arable field.
O-P : overgrown hawthorn hedge alongside Oxford city owned arable field (to the
east) and privately owned paddock (to the west).
P-Q : post and wire fence around privately owned gardens to the south and west.
Q-R : post and wire fence alongside The Ridings.
R-S : post and wire fence alongside privately owned gardens to the north.
S-T : post and wire fence alongside Oxford Preservation Trust owned pasture field
to the north.
T-U : chain link fence alongside Water Authority pasture field to the north.
U-V : chain link fence (dilapidated) alongside Eastern By Pass.
V-W : chain link fence alongside allotments to the south.
W-X : ditch and post and wire fence alongside Oxford City owned pasture field to
X-Y : mixed hedge and ditch alongside Oxford city owned arable fields to the north.
Y-Z : post and wire rail alongside private gardens to the north
Z-T : mixed hedge alongside The Ridings to the north.
Size : the country park occupies much of the south facing slope of Shotover Hill and
at 126 ha is a substantial block of Oxfordshire Countryside. The woodland, scrub
and bracken habitats are represented in large blocks; the acid and neutral
grassland are adequate in size; but the heath and marsh components are smaller
than is ideal.
Diversity : the country park possesses an intimate mosiac of habitats and there is
food structural diversity within each habitat. Heath and marsh are lacking in
structural diversity at present and the establishment of a bog community at
Shotover would add to the overall diversity.
Naturalness : all of the country parks habitats have been substantially modified by
man over many centuries and in that sense this cannot be considered natural.
Some of the woodlands have been in their present condition for several centuries
and that fact, coupled with the country park’s “natural aspect” make it appear
natural to most visitors.
Rarity : neutral meadows and acid grassland may be defined as rare habitats in that
they occur in less than 10,000 ha in England, Scotland and Wales. There are
many records of rare flora and fauna listed in the following section.
Fragility : in general Shotover Country Park is not particularly fragile in that it is able
to accept large numbers of visitors without unacceptable amounts of damage.
However, heath, marsh and acid grassland are fragile in the sense that if
unmanaged they would deteriorate within about 10 years, and wetland habitats in
the country park are damaged by pressure from people and domestic animals.
Typicalness : little at Shotover can be considered as typical of Oxfordshire’s
Recorded history : few sites can have been as well recorded over three centuries as
Potential value : the possible expansion of existing rare habitats at Shotover, as
well as the potential for recreating a bog, indicates that there is further potential to
be realised in terms of both a varied site for recreation and a rich site for nature
Intrinsic appeal : the high numbers of visitors to Shotover suggests that it does
possess considerable intrinsic appeal.
Identification of Important Features
(An assessment of features now lost is included in Appendix 16 and definition of
Red Data Book (RDB) categories in Appendix 17.)
Wet ash-maple woodland
Acid pedunculate oak-hazel-ash woodland
Lowland hazel-pedunculate oak wooded
* (RDB 3)
* (RDB 4)
* (RDB 1)
2.2.3. The site in wider perspective and implications for management.
Shotover Country Park represents less than 50% of the public open space owned by Oxford
City Council, but the local scarcity and quality of most of Shotover habitats indicate the
importance of their conservation.
2.2.4. Specified limits (areas given in ha)
acceptable but at
2.2.5 Ideal management objectives
All surviving semi-natural habitats at Shotover should be conserved with special attention given
to the regionally scarce heathland and wetland habitats.
to maintain a mosaic of semi-natural habitats at Shotover
to maintain populations of rare plants and animals
to facilitate recreational and education use of the site in a way designed to ensure
minimum damage to the country park.
Factors influencing management
2.3.2 Natural Trends
As with all of Oxfordshire the natural process of succession will tend towards woodland over
the whole country park.
2.3.2 Man-induced trends
Increased leisure time is likely to result in more visitors in years to come.
2.3.3 External Factors
Reduction in agricultural chemical application and industrial air pollution would result in some
improvements to the existing habitats at Shotover. The cessation of domestic effect on its
Under the terms of the Wildlife and countryside Act 1981 (as amended) owners and occupiers
of SSSIs are required to give the Nature Conservancy Council at least 4 months written notice
of an intention to carry out a Potentially Damaging Operation.
As owners of the land the Council is subject to the Owners Liability Acts 1957 and 1984. This
imposes a duty on the Council to take reasonable care to see that visitors to the area will be
Southern Gas and Thames Water have wayleave agreements to enable them to keep their
The arable fields within the Country Park are held by Mr R Walker of Horspath on a
“year-to-year” agricultural tenancy, and as such he is protected under the Agricultural Holdings
As part of the purchase agreement for Brasenose Wood, Oxford City agreed that “The piece of
land marked Brasenose Wood .... shall for ever be kept and used as woodland and no timber
be felled .... unless it is in the interests of good forestry.”
The gift of 183 acres of land from the Oxford Preservation Trust (1952) was on the following
The land must only be used for the purposes of an open space or park in its natural
state to which the public may be allowed access.
The Council must not use the land on any other manner or at any time erect buildings of
any kind on the property. However any land suitable for agricultural use may be used
as such without breaking the conditions.
An agreement exists with Oxford University which gives the Council the right to manage
Shotover Plain and Johnson’s Piece. Conditions imposed on the Council by the agreement
The Council must employ a suitable person to be warden of the lands.
Any land not used for agricultural purposes shall be kept open to the public and the
Council will control public access to the land.
The Council must maintain the lands in good condition. As the Council’s role is to
manage the lands anything which falls outside that role will need express permission
from the University.
2.3.5 Manpower constraints
At present the Oxford City Council Countryside Team consists of 5 people who spend about
50%-60% of their time at Shotover Country Park. A substantial number of volunteers help
with informal wardening and occasional work parties.
Operational objectives and management options
2.4.1 Statement of aims. (No priority is intended in the list of Statement of Aims)
To provide a recreational resource for local residents and for other visitors. As stated in
Oxford City Council’s Equal Opportunities Policy.
Species and habitat conservation
To manage the land at Shotover Country Park in such a way to conserve and where possible
enhance the wildlife
To provide an area of visual beauty and general attractiveness for visitors and passers by.
To recreate and conserve aspects of land use previously found at Shotover.
To provide an educational resource for local residents and school children
To continue to take opportunities for income generation where they are not inconsistent with
any of A-E (above).
2.4.2 Operational objectives
Conservation of features
Brasenose Wood: maintenance of uneven aged mixed standards over rotational
Open Brasenose: allow natural increase in structural and compositional diversity
selective felling to give mixed age high forest structure.
increase to 3 ha by active management.
increase to 3 ha by active management.
thin to provide mixed, native deciduous woodland
prevent scrub incursion by cutting if necessary
continue felling blocks of mature trees and replacing with mixed
retain the existing species mix but aim for a greater structural and
maintain and enhance the variety of scrub stands
Neutral grassland: conserve existing areas of neutral grassland
The visitor numbers at Shotover approximately doubled over the
Accompanying this increase in numbers has been a substantial
increase in litter and rubbish dumping, an increase in “new” paths
and a slight increase in erosion on some paths. There is little
evidence of other damage to wildlife by visitor numbers at the 1987
There is a possibility that any future dramatic increase in visitor
numbers (not anticipated at present) would seriously damage the
fabric of Shotover’s countryside and any such development will be
Provision of facilities:
Investigate the possibilities for provision of a visitor centre at
Shotover Country Park.
To be aware of the danger of “overcivilisation” of Shotover’s Countryside. Too many
man-made structures could spoil the special attraction of the country park.
To provide sufficient car parking to cope with existing numbers (1988) but to be aware
of the dangers of (O).
Draft bye-laws designed to assist control of nuisance activities, awaiting confirmation by
the Home Office are appended (Appendix 15).
PART THREE PRESCRIPTIONS (PROJECTS)
Conservation of Features
Maintenance of uneven aged mixed standards by selective felling of
over-represented age classes in some years, and by planning if natural
regeneration fails to provide young.
Maintenance of active coppicing policy (see Fig 13 for details) based on an 8-15
The density of coppice stools (especially hazel) to be increased by propagation
from existing stock (upper limit of 500 stools per acre).
Exclusion of selection NI (see Fig 14) from coppice rotation.
One or two “habitat piles” of dead wood (neatly stacked) to be left each year to
provide shelter and home for a dead wood community.
Monitor growth of coppice after deer browsing damage; to be aware of the
possible need to fence if damage becomes too severe.
Maintenance of varied ride structure with widths varying from 2-10m. Failing
scrubby edge on alternate years.
Annual cut in November of ride centres and ”picnic areas”.
Connect the widest north-south wide to the ride system in the Slade camp
Allow natural increase in structural and compositional diversity through
Maintain peripheral bridle path to 4m wide.
Pollard crack willows along southern perimeter very 15 years or so. (See Fig 15)
Manage blackthorn thickets on 100 year coppice rotation to maintain suitable
habitat for black hairstreak (see Fig 16)
Aim at a varied-structure high forest woodland by selective felling every five
years or so.
Cut existing rides annually in October and November.
BRASENOSE WOOD - COPPICING DATES
BRASENOSE WOOD COMPARTMENT EXCLUDED FROM COPPICING
OPEN BRASENOSE - CRACK WILLOWS, POLLARDS
BRASENOSE MANAGEMENT F
SHOTOVER COUNTRY PARK
SHOTOVER COUNTRY PARK
Fell remaining larches (except see LARC3) in three blocks (1990, 1993, 1996)
and replant immediately following each felling.
Replant with larch, Scots pine, beech, oak and wild cherry in grow tubes
Leave occasional clumps of larch to overmature.
Once established thin to achieve an uneven-aged stand of trees to avoid the
necessity for any future clear felling.
Maintain a mixed woodland but aim for a greater structural and age diversity by
the selective felling (especially of dangerous trees) and underplanting.
Plantations (Figure 16)
Replace vandalised or dead trees and grow tubes as and when identified.
Leave growtubes until they wear out (3-5 years)
Thin trees as necessary when the canopy begins to close, selectively removing
any non-native tree species
Heathland: Encourage heathland in 4 areas (See fig 18)
Increase extent of heather dominated habitat by propagation from existing stock
Control competing plants (e.g. bracken, silver birch, brambles) as necessary and
by appropriate means
Leggy stands of heather will need trimming
Conserve and increase existing areas of marsh (Figure 19)
Cutting invasive woody plants every five years or so
Investigating the possibility of further local damming to slightly increase the area
Conserve existing areas (Figure 20) by
Cut for hay or forage harvest Mary Sadler’s field and Shotover Plain annually
Monitor other areas of acid grassland and prevent further regression to scrub by
cutting if necessary.
Investigate the possibility of sheep grazing some areas of acid grassland.
Investigate the possibility of scarification of small patches of acid grassland to
see whether viable seeds from extinct plants can be activated.
Neutral grassland Conserve existing areas (Figure 21) by
Taking an annual hay crop (after 1 July) from Slade Camp (South).
Investigating the possibility of grazing (cattle, horses or sheep) Slade Camp
South as happened in 1975-85.
Cutting the grass in Slade Camp North each October.
(Figure 22) Aim at a variety of Scrub types by
Allowing some stands (e.g. those marked 1) to develop naturally into woodland
To investigate long term rotational cutting for those areas of hawthorn-dominated
scrub (marked 3) with the aim of retaining scrub of all age-classes.
To leave those areas of scrub marked 4 to develop along natural lines but to be
aware that some management may eventually be necessary in the light of
experience gained from SCRB1-SCRB3.
Make more permanent the pond to the south at Open Brasenose by damming as
soon as the necessary drainage works alongside the Brasenose Allotments can
Flail every three years the hedges marked on Figure 23 alongside the access to
Lay the hedge running NW from Westhill from (Figure 23).
SHOTOVER COUNTRY PARK
Maintain existing range of paths and rides by (1) keeping the firebreaks paths at
8m wide (Figure 24), monitoring erosion on problem paths, mowing a small
number of well used paths where long grass is a problem and leaving all minor
Investigate the feasibility and advisability of recreating an area of bog habitat in
Shotover Country Park.
Control sycamore in areas such as Brasenose Wood, Johnson’s Piece and
Holme Ground, with no control in the east of Horspath Common.
Pollard crack willow pollards every 15 years or so (Holme Ground, Open
Investigate the possibility of a regular survey of visitors to Shotover Country Park
using schools or similar organisations.
Monitor any damage to Shotover’s countryside and make any necessary
adjustments to control damage.
Provision of Facilities
Maintain existing facilities Wcs, nature walks, orienteering course, horse riding
tracks, car park, information boards, picnic benches (2) and Junior Ranger Club
at their 1987 level.
Continue to investigate any opportunity for the provision of a modest visitor
centre at Shotover Country Park.
To monitor the use of Shotover Country Park for events (Cross Country races,
Orienteering competition, fun runs) and to resist any substantial escalation in the
numbers of these activities.
To provide a small car park at the edge of the Country Park (Bullingdon Green).
SHOTOVER COUNTRY PARK
SHOTOVER COUNTRY PARK
SHOTOVER COUNTRY PARK
SHOTOVER COUNTRY PARK
SHOTOVER COUNTRY PARK
SHOTOVER COUNTRYPARK WORK PLAN 1988-94)
Appendix 1 Birds
(Tachybaptus ruficollis). Little grebes breed in small numbers on some of
Shotover’s Hill’s large ponds and have been seen in the Country Park.
(Ardea cinerea). Herons are often seen flying over Shotover but as the nearest
heronry is some miles away Shotover must be on a regularly used flight path.
(Anas platyrhyncos). Mallards breed on some of Shotover’s larger ponds and
occasionally roost on even the smaller ponds in the Country Park.
(Buteo laopus). A single record (14th October 1973) exists for this
uncommon visitor to Britain.
(Accipiter nisus). Although they usually nest in conifers, sparrowhawks are
now so common in the county that they nest in oaks at Shotover. They feed mainly on
smaller birds. Between 1955 and 1965 the numbers of sparrowhawks in Britain crashed
dramatically. This crash was connected to the increased use in agriculture of toxic chemical
sprays and in particular chlorinated hyrocarbons. The early 1980s have seen an equally
dramatic increase in sparrowhawk numbers in Oxfordshire following the decreased use of
these chemicals 3 or 4 pairs in the Country Park.
(Circus cyaneus). Last recorded at Shotover on 24th January 1921, hen
harriers are regularly seen near Oxford in winter. 200 years ago hen harriers bred in Southern
England but their numbers fell dramatically in the early 1900s and for a while they bred only in
(Falco subbuteo) This attractive falcon is a summer visitor from Africa and it is only
present in its restricted breeding area for 5 months of the year. These birds are the last of the
summer migrants to be seen at Shotover where, although they do not nest, they may
occasionally be seen on their extended hunting trips searching for large insects and
(Falco tinnunculus). Kestrels feed mainly on rodents, short-tailed voles in particular,
and they will often be seen quartering the ground and hovering in search of prey two or three
pairs breed in the Country Park.
(Perdix perdix) The native grey partridge may occasionally be seen in the fields
and open woods on the slopes of the hill, where breeding probably occurs but has not been
Red legged partridge
(Alectoris rufa) Introduced in the nineteenth century, red-legged
partridges are now commoner than grey partridges at Shotover.
(Phasianus colchicus). Pheasants were probably introduced to England by the
Normans in the eleventh century and became widespread by the sixteenth century. There are
several active pheasant shoots near Oxford where birds are reared in large numbers for sport -
Woodeaton, Long and Noke woods are all used for pheasant rearing. They occur in small
numbers in the Country Park.
(Gallinula chloropus). Moorhens are the commonest breeding waterbirds at
Shotover. These familiar birds nest near almost all of Shotover’s ponds, including those
within the Country Park.
(Fulica atra). Coots are a familiar feature of Shotover’s larger ponds and small lakes,
but they have been seen occasionally in the Country Park.
(Gallinnago gallinago) The harsh December of 1981 saw a snipe feeding on
Brasenose pond for about one week.
(Scolopax rusticola). This beautiful wader is not known to breed at Shotover,
probably because there is not a sufficiently extensive tract of woodland. However, woodcock
are regularly seen in woodland when they stop off on winter migration.
Lesser black-backed gull
(Larus fuscus) and herring gull
(>Arus argentatus). These gulls
are often seen overhead and following the plough on the lower slopes of the hill.
(Larus ridibundus) are rarely seen overhead.
(Columba livia) Feral pigeons re closely related to the wild rock doves which
are now only found in West Scotland and Ireland. Feral pigeons are semi-domesticated birds
which until the time of the Napoleonic Wars were an important element of the rural economy.
These birds nest in outbuildings at Shotover and are frequently seen feeding on arable fields in
the Country Park.
(Columba palumbus) Wood pigeons are serious agricultural pests which
consume large quantities of grain. They breed in abundance at Shotover, and their white
wing-bars and wing-clapping display fights are frequently seen.
(Columba oenas) Stock doves nest in tree holes, unlike the other British
pigeons and doves. Their far-carrying but soft song and their display fights make these doves
easy to locate.
(Steptopelia turtur) The purring song of this migrant dove is reminiscent of high
summer. One or two pairs nest in the scrub of Shotover’s hillside but the numbers are less
than might be expected. This probably reflects the shortage of weed seeds, the staple food of
the turtle dove, in the agricultural fields nearby.
(Streptopelia decaocto) This handsome dove has only bred in this country
since 1955 and in this county since 1962, but it has increased in numbers since then.
Collared doves feed mainly on grain and other seeds and they may be seen feeding in
allotments and large, private gardens at Shotover.
(Cuculus canorus). The strange breeding habits of this species are well known but
it is less well known that females lay from 12-25 eggs per season, each in a different nest.
Dummock and robin are probably the commonest hosts at Shotover. Cuckoos are becoming
scarce over the country as a whole and nowadays they are rarely seen in woodland.
(Tyto alba) This beautiful owl has not been seen at Shotover in recent years
although breeding was suspected on the north side of the hill in 1961. Indeed barn owls have
become scarce near Oxford over the past five years with many birds disappearing from
(Athene noctua) Not indigenous to Britain, little owls were initially released in Kent
in the 1870s and in other parts of the country in succeeding years. These small owls nest in
tree holes in hedgerow oaks and elms on the lower slopes of the hill. They feed on a wide
variety of animal life including small mammals, birds and insects and have been seen following
the plough at Shotover.
(Strixaluco) Several pairs of tawny owls breed at Shotover, nesting in tree holes.
Newly emerged owlets may be seen sitting together on a branch near the nest hole in April
and May. The well known hooting of this species may be heard at night throughout the
autumn and winter.
(Caprimulgus europaeus) Typically a bird of dry, sandy heaths, there has been a
widespread and drastic decline in nightjar numbers since the end of the nineteenth century.
This decline is still progressing and so, although a nightjar was recorded at Shotover in 1936, it
is unlikely that they will return in the near future.
(Apus apus) Although they are not known to breed on the hillside, parties of
screaming swifts are a common and familiar sight in summer as they feed on insects high over
(Picus Viridis) 3-4 pairs nest on Shotover Hill and such a high density
suggests that the habitat is very suitable with a combination of mature oaks for nesting and
open ground for insect feeding. It is a very noisy bird and its loud, laughing cry gives rise to its
country name of ‘yaffle’.
Green spotted woodpecker
(Dendrocopos major) Great spotted woodpeckers are most
likely to be seen in the vicinity of mature trees because they feed on bark insects. A loud
drumming noise, produced by repeatedly hammering the beak against the wood, is their
substitute for a territorial song. Several pairs of these attractive woodpeckers nest at
Shotover although the feeling of the last dead elm trees reduced their food supply.
Lesser spotted woodpecker
(Dendrocopos minor) These sparrow sized woodpeckers are
much less common than the other two species. A single pair is often seen in Brasenose
Wood and Johnson’s Piece and occasionally in the other Shotover Woods.
(Lullula arborea) Woodlarks bred near Shotover Plain from 1949-1956. Since
the 1950s there has been a rapid contraction of the woodlark’s range in Britain. The possible
reasons for this are the shortage of close cropped grass following the results of myxomatosis
and the preponderance of cool, wet summers in the 1950s and 1960s.
(Alauda arvensis) The skylark is the most widely distributed of the British birds but
few pairs nest at Shotover. One pair bred in Slade Camp (south) 1977-79.
(Hirundo rustica) The arrival of the swallow early in April is a herald of spring.
Their nests are almost always attached to man-made structures and they are one of the
species that are far more abundant now than in the days before man.
(Delichon urbica) These attractive little martins are frequently seen feeding
with swallows at Shotover, but although many apparently suitable house eaves are available
none have been seen nesting.
(Corvus corone) The crow’s solitary nest perched high in oak trees is a
common sight at Shotover. They feed on a wide variety of animal matter including eggs and
young nestling birds.
(Corvus frugilegus) These noisy, gregarious birds were common near Open
Brasenose until 1978 when their elm-tree homes were felled, having succumbed to Dutch Elm
Disease. Since then they are seen much less often and there is no rookery on the hillside.
(Corvus monedula) These largely insectivorous birds with their conspicuous grey
napes are abundant at Shotover breeding both in tree holes and in chimneys.
(Pica pica) Between 10 and 15 pairs of magpies nest in the thorn bushes of
Shotover and flocks of up to 15 birds may be seen feeding on open ground. During the
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries magpies suffered greatly from keepering because,
although they feed mainly on invertebrates and berries, they do occasionally take eggs and
(Garrulus glandarius) This large, brightly coloured bird is common in
coppice-with-standards woodland in Britain. 3-4 pairs nest in Brasenose Wood and it is
thought that these birds help to propagate oaks by bury acorns.
(Parus major) The loud, ringing ‘tee-cha’ song of the great tit is a common and
unmistakable sound at Shotover. These rather quarrelsome tits nest in tree holes and often
feed on the ground.
(Parus caeruleus) Blue tits are abundant at Shotover. The large number of mature
oaks provide ideal conditions both in terms of invertebrate food and nesting holes.
(Parus ater) The song of these small tits may be confused with that of the great tit
but the smaller tits are more numerous in the vicinity of Shotover’s conifers, feeding on insects
amongst the needles, they do nest in the exclusively deciduous Brasenose Wood.
(Parus palstris) Several pairs of marsh tits breed at Shotover and silver birches
are often chosen for nesting. These noisy birds sing loudly in early spring and their ‘pitchou’
calls ring throughout the woods.
(Parus montanus) Willow tits look very similar to marsh tits and the small
morphological differences are difficult to pick out in the field. Willow tits excavate their own
nest holes, unlike marsh tits, and consequently chips of wood will be found under the nest.
The willow tit is much quieter than the marsh tit, its piping song is rarely heard but it does
produce a distinctive nasal buzzing sound. Fewer willow than marsh tits breed at Shotover.
(Aegithalos caudatos) Unlike tits of the genus Parus the long tailed tit builds
a nest in a bush consisting of moss, cobwebs, hair, lichen and feathers. These beautiful birds
have unusual breeding behaviour and often several birds attend a single nest.
(Sitta europaea) These noisy, rather quarrelsome birds may be heard singing
throughout the spring in some of Shotover’s woodlands. They feed on bark insects and nuts,
and penetrate acorns by wedging them in tree bark and then using their powerful bills to break
the shells. The remains of these nuts may be found in the ridged oak bark.
(Certhia familiaris) Like the previous species the treecreeper spends most of
its time looking for insects on tree bark. Being small and drably coloured and having a rather
thin song, they are not often seen but are more numerous than nuthatches at Shotover.
(Troglodytes troglodytes) The loud, vehement song of the wren may be heard from
early spring until the end of summer and is a familiar sound at Shotover. Like all small birds,
wrens suffer greatly in cold winters but the recent succession of mild winters has allowed them
to increase in numbers.
(Turdus viscivorus) The loud fluted song of the mistle thrush, uttered from a
high perch, may be heard from late December until June. They are one of the earliest
species to lay and they usually have a second brood.
(Turdus pilaris) Fieldfares are winter visitors and their harsh flight calls are
frequently heard over Shotover. They feed in small flocks on open fields on the lower slopes.
Fieldfares breed in Scandinavia and the Baltic region but their range is extending westward.
(Turdus philomeios) The common bird has a well known song which includes
many repeated phrases which assist recognition. At Shotover song thrushes are about as
common as the related mistle thrush, but over the country as a whole song thrushes are by far
the more numerous.
(Turdus lilacus) Redwings are winter visitors to Oxfordshire. They nest in
Scandinavia and in recent years they have started to breed in Scotland in small numbers. At
Shotover, flocks of redwings may be seen feeding in haws or rustling in leaf litter looking for
(Turdus merula) One of our most familiar birds, blackbirds are abundant at
Shotover. Their beautiful, melodic song is best heard early in the morning and at dusk, and
their churring alarm call is often heard during the daytime.
(Oenanthe oenanthe) Wheatears are typically birds of remote uplands but a few
pairs breed in Southern England in areas where grazing by sheep and rabbit maintains a short
sward. A report in the 1931 bulletin of the Oxford Ornithological Society states that “... many
years ago Wheatears bred at Shotover but they have long since ceased t do so”. This report
suggests that Shotover was once rather more of a remote upland than it is today. Wheatears
are still seen occasionally on brief stop-overs on spring and autumn passage.
(Saxicola torquata) Stonechats breed in rough country with gorse, heather or
bracken and close-cropped grass. Stone chats bred at Shotover in 1889, 1935 and 1936 but
there has been no nesting in recent years. Few inland heaths support many stonechats but
they are occasionally seen at Shotover during the winter months.
(Saxicola rubetra) Whinchats are heathland birds which are more common on
inland heaths than the related stonechats. Whinchats bred regularly at Shotover until 1958
and we must assume that their departure was caused by the diminution of their heathland
(Phoenicurus phoenicurus) Redstarts are uncommon breeding birds in
Oxfordshire, although these attractive summer visitors are abundant in parts of Scotland and
Wales. Redstarts were recorded at Shotover in 1939 and 1952.
(Luscinia megarhynchos) The magnificent song of the nightingale may be
heard in some years at Shotover but in other years it is absent. Nightingales were recorded in
1934, 1937, 1943, 1945, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1952, 1955, 1965 and 1978 but they were absent
in 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979 and 1982. The population of nightingales in Britain is declining and
as Oxford is near the north west limit of their breeding range it is not too surprising that their
occurrence in sporadic. A recent study has shown that a rich and constantly changing ground
flora is a common component of nightingale territories, and this is most likely to occur where
coppice-with-standards is being actively managed. Optimum habitat occurs when the coppice
is 5-8 years old. It is likely that the decline in nightingale numbers is caused by a decrease in
(Erithacus rubecuia) This, the best known and most loved of British birds, is
abundant at Shotover. Their song may be heard throughout the year but at bout the time that
the young are fledged the song changes and becomes more melancholic, as if mourning the
passing of spring.
(Locustella naevia) Grasshopper warblers depend on thick, low,
tangled vegetation for nesting and their distinctive, reeling song may be heard at a distance of
up to 1Km. They breed in small numbers at two places on the lower slopes of the hill.
(Sylvia atricapilla) The rich and beautiful song of the blackcap rivals that of the
nightingale and blackbird, and the latter is usually uttered from a high perch. In recent years
there has been a trend for some blackcaps to overwinter in Britain and some have been seen
visiting bird tables near Shotover. Ringing studies have shown that these winter blackcaps
are eastern European birds which migrate here in October and November. Unlike most
warblers blackcaps will take fruit if insects are in short supply and it is probably this adaptability
which enables them to survive our winter.
(Sylvia borin) The song of the garden warbler is similar to that of the
blackcap and the two are often difficult to distinguish. Garden warblers were much scarcer
than blackcaps at Shotover in the period 1975-1983 but in 1927 they were reported to be
“remarkably numerous” in Johnson’s Piece.
(Sylvia communis) Several pairs of whitethroat nest at Shotover. They
choose a thorn thicket for nesting and the presence of nearby open grassland seems to be
(Sylvia curruca) This skulking bird nests in thick scrub and Shotover
provides a good deal of suitable habitat. The lesser whitethroat’s presence is confirmed by its
distinctive but unmelodic, rattling song which is reminiscent of the first part of the chaffinch’s
(Phylloscopus trochilus) With its familiar descending trill of silvery notes the
willow warbler is a welcome spring arrival to Shotover. In 1959 it was estimated that there
were 100 pairs and the population has changed little since then.
(Phylloscopus collybita) The reiterated song notes of the chiffchaff are
penetrating and heard all over the hillside during the spring. The chiffchaff, like most other
warblers, is cryptically coloured to avoid predation, but to ensure that a mate is found has a
loud and penetrating song.
(Phylloscopus sibilatrix) Wood warblers are strictly confined to mature
deciduous woodland. They are uncommon breeders in Oxfordshire but they do nest
sporadically at Shotover, being recorded in 1945, 1949, 1971, 1972 and 1975. In 1979 a
male sang in Brasenose Wood but it did not breed.
(Regulus regulus) This tiny bird nests in small numbers in Shotover’s conifers but
may be seen feeding in deciduous trees.
(Regulus ignicapillus) Firecrests were first known to have bred in England in 1962
and since then their range has expanded. As their song, appearance and habitat is similar to
that of the goldcrest they are easily overlooked. The first confirmed sign record for Shotover
was in a small, young larch plantation near Westhill Farm in spring 1983.
(Musicapa striata) Spotted flycatchers are one of the last summer
migrants to arrive. They have a dull plumage and a thin song but the aerobatic forays for food
quickly reveal the flycatchers presence.
(Ficedula hypoleuca) Pied flycatchers, which breed in north and west
Britain, have been heard singing twice at Shotover (1981, 1983) for short periods.
(Prunella modularis) Dunnocks are abundant at Shotover and although they are
visually inconspicuous, may be easily recognised by their fast, rather squeaky song.
(Anthus trivialis) In recent years tree pipits have become scarce as breeding
birds in Oxfordshire. They were recorded at Shotover in 1934, 1951, 1958 and 1960 (4 pairs)
but they had disappeared by 1962. Breeding had ceased in Sydling’s Cope by the mid 1970s.
In 1979 a male was seen performing its characteristic aerobatic display in Slade Camp north
but it did not breed.
(Motacilla alba) Pied wagtails are not often seen at Shotover because of the
preponderance of woodland and scrub and lack of more suitable wet habitats. However, a
few pairs breed regularly near to fresh water.
(Motacilla cinera) Grey wagtails breed near freshwater streams and rivers. A
pair has been seen in several occasions in the vicinity of the ponds in Shotover Spinney but
breeding has not been confirmed.
(Larius collurio) Red-backed shrikes have been declining in range and
number in Britain for over 100 years and they are now extremely scarce breeders.
Red-backed shrikes bred in Johnson’s Piece in 1930 and in Open Brasenose in 1944 but have
not been recorded since.
Sturnus vulgaris) Starlings are abundant at Shotover nesting in large numbers in
both tree holes and outbuildings. These familiar birds have a disarming ability to mimic other
bird songs, such as the green woodpecker, and even sounds such as the screeching of car
(Coccothraustres coccothraustes) This large, heavy billed finch is extremely
elusive as it is shy, does not have a distinctive song and spends it time high in the deciduous
tree canopy. It was recorded at Shotover in 1927, 1936 and 1937.
(Carduelis chloris) Greenfinches nest in small numbers in the scrub at Shotover
but they are more numerous in peripheral gardens where they frequently visit bird tables.
Their bat-like display flight and characteristic nasal ‘dszwee’ call make greenfinches easily
(Carduelis carduelis) Goldfinches feed on weed seed and in autumn they are
fond of thistle and knapweed seedheads. They have a characteristic twittering flight call
which resembles that of a linnet but their brightly coloured plumage is quite distinctive.
(Carduelis spinus) Siskins breed in the conifer forests of Northern Scotland but they
are occasionally seen feeding in mature conifers at Shotover. They are usually to be seen in
flocks of redpolls with which they may be confused.
(Acanthis cannabina) Linnets feed on weed seeds and so are usually to be found in
small colonies in gardens on the periphery of Shotover and in particular on allotments. Their
cheerful twittering song is especially welcome in summer when birdsong is at a premium.
(Acanthis flammea) Small flocks of redpolls are regularly seen at Shotover, both in
mature conifers and in deciduous woodland, but breeding has not been confirmed.
(Pyrrhula pyrrhula) Shotover’s blackthorn scrub provides ideal nesting sites for
this attractive finch. Bullfinches are serious pests in some places because of their habit of
eating fruit blossom buds, but they cause no problems in their natureal woodland edge habitat.
(Loxia curvirosta) The crossbill’s specially adapted beak, with the tips of the
hooked mandibles overlapping, enables it to extract seeds from cones. Crossbills breed in
Northern Scotland and a few scattered southerly localities, but occasionally great numbers of
immigrants are seen in this country. When these eruptions occur birds are usually seen at
Shotover and flocks were recorded in 1929, 1936 and 1963.
(Fringilla coelebs) The widespread and abundant chaffinch breeds in woodland
and scrub at Shotover having spent most of the winter in fields around the hill. Its cheerful,
rollicking calling with a distinctive final flourish is a welcome addition to the woods in spring.
(Fringilla montifringilla) Bramblings do not breed in this country but are winter
visitors. They resemble the related chaffinch in many ways but have a prominent white rump.
Bramblings are seen in small numbers at Shotover each winter.
(Emberiza calandra) Corn buntings have been heard singing from hedgerows
in arable fields below Shotover and breeding is probable. An interesting feature of the
breeding biology of this species is that an individual male supports several females.
(Emberiza citrinella) The gorse of Shotover Hill and the hedgerows of the
lower fields provide nesting sites for this familiar and attractive bunting. Their well known
‘little-bit-of-bread-and-no-cheese’ song may be heard from February until August.
(Emberiza schoeniclus) These pretty, black-headed buntings are
occasionally seen feeding at Shotover and they breed in some of the wet areas.
(Passer domesticus) House sparrows are commensal with man and are
found breeding in large numbers in most of Oxfordshire’s buildings. Although rarely seen
away from domestication, they do feed in small flocks in the woods when insect food is
(Passer montanus) Similar to the house sparrow except for its chestnut
head, tree sparrows are easily overlooked. Breeding was reported at Shotover in 1960, 1962,
and 1965 but has not been confirmed in recent years.
Nomenclature after Sharrock J.T.R. (1977) The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and
Ireland. T & A D Poyser.
Appendix 2 Mammals
(Eranaceus europaeus) This unmistakable animal is regularly seen in the
gardens surrounding Shotover, and as a road casualty. Hedgehogs are entirely nocturnal,
which accounts for the comparatively few sightings.
(Talpa europaea) Fresh mole-hills, which are recently excavatee soil from mole’s
underground burrows, are a common sight over Shotover Hill and the surrounding woodlands.
(Sorex araneus) Shrews are active throughout the day and night and take a
wide range of invertebrates with beetles and earthworms forming a major part of their diet.
They are found throughout Shotover and are frequently killed by domestic cats.
(Sorex minutus) Pygmy shrews which occur in good numbers at Shotover are
difficult to distinguish from common shrews but they are slightly small in size, have a
proportionately longer tail and a more uniform coloration.
(Neomys fodiens) Water shrews may be recognised by their black upper parts
and by the red tips to their teeth. They have been taken from the Slade Camp north and are
not as dependent on water as their name suggests.
(Chiroptera) The most spectacular behavioural characteristic of bats is undoubtedly
their development of sonar. Most British bats find their way predominantly by echolocation,
emitting high-pitched sounds at about 80,000 cycles per second and interpreting the reflected
soundwaves to distinguish between obstacles to flight and prey. Bats present problems of
identification and they need to be hand held for positive determination. Many bats have been
seen at Shotover but the only species which has been identified with reasonable certainty is
the pipistrelle (Pipistellum pipistrellum) which is a small bat seen flying at dusk. Bats larger
than pipistrelles have been seen which may be noctules (Nyctalus noctula).
(Oryctolagus cuniculus) Rabbits were introduced to Britain in the twelfth century for
their meat and fur but did not become widely established until much later. The Shotover
rabbit population was decimated in 1954 by the arrival of myxomatosis, a viral disease
transmitted by the rabbit flea. At Shotover the number of rabbits present remains very
variable and the observed population crashes may still be connected with myxomatosis.
Rabbits have an important influence on vegetation. Their close grazing maintains a short
sward which favours fine leaved grasses and prevents the establishment of scrub. Many
scrub thickets can be dated to the early 1950s and can therefore be directly attributed to the
onset of myxomatosis.
(Lepus capensis) Hares have been declining in Oxfordshire in recent years. Near
Shotover they are scarce and are only found in any quantity near Beckley close to Stowood
and Sydling’s Copse. Shallow depressions where they lie up may be found in rough
grassland and the woodland edge.
(Sciurus carolinensis) Grey squirrels were introduced to Britain from USA in
1876 and were introduced in Oxfordshire between 1890 and 1905. Grey squirrels are
abundant in woodland at Shotover where they feed on tree mast, seeds, leaves and fungi
They also take bark from distorted growth, and for this reason are regarded by many as pests.
(Sciurus vulgaris) Prior to the introduction of the grey squirrel, red squirrels
were common in Oxfordshire but their numbers declined dramatically to extinction between
1910 and 1925. An endemic virus carried by the grey squirrel has been postulated as the
cause of the red squirrel’s demise. However, marked fluctuations in the numbers of red
squirrel were observed prior to the introduction of the grey squirrel, and it may be that the main
influence of the latter is to prevent recolonization of the native red squirrel.
(Clethrionomys glareolus) Bank voles are abundant in Shotover’s woodland
where they feed on fruits, seeds and leaves. They feed during the daytime and so are more
likely to be seen than mice or shrews, from which they may be distinguished by their blunter
(Microtus agrestis) One of the commonest and most widespread of British
rodents, field voles are abundant in grassland at Shotover. Like the bank vole they are active
throughout the 24 hours and so may be seen during the daytime.
(Apodeumus sylvaticus) The wood mouse is the characteristic rodent of
deciduous woodland living in small runways beneath the litter. Wood mice are nocturnal and
so are not often seen.
(Micromys minutus) The harvest mouse is the smallest British rodent
weighing only 6 grams when adult. They are easily distinguished by their size, their small
hairy ears and blunt muzzle. Harvest mice have been seen on the periphery of Brasenose
Wood but probably occur over much of Shotover. Their nests may be found in the stalks of
vegetation well above ground level.
(Mus musculus) House mice are not easy to distinguish from wood mice but
they have a greyer-brown coloration and a characteristic ‘stale’ smell not found in wood mice.
They have been found in Britain since the Iron Age but it is thought that they are not truly
native. They are abundant in the houses and outbuildings at Shotover and are found in
smaller numbers away from habitation.
(Rattus norvegicus) The common rate is thought to have been introduced to
Britain in the early years of the eighteenth century when it replaced the ship rat (R. rattus)
which had been present for hundreds of years. Rats are an important vector of human
disease. At Shotover they are associated with large gardens and domestic animals.
(Vulpes vulpes) The familiar fox is common at Shotover but because of its nocturnal
habits is not often seen. Foxes are opportunists which regularly scavenge in suburban
housing estates, such as Wood Farm and Headington Quarry, but they prefer woodland for
their earths. Foxes are predators and scavengers and as such have an important function in
the natural community. The fox’s mating season is January and February and vixens may be
heard screaming at this time. This screaming is an eerie and rather frightening noise
reminiscent of a child crying.
(Mustela erminea) Stoats are larger than the closely related weasels and may be
recognised with certainty by the black tip to their tail. Stoats are efficient predators able to
take prey as large as rabbits although they also take birds and small rodents. Since
mycomatosis the stoat population has declined dramatically and they are rarely seen at
(Mustela nivalis) Weasels are much more common than stoats at Shotover.
Weasels feed primarily on small rodents, bank voles in particular, but they also take small
birds. Family parties of weasels are occasionally seen in May, with the young following a
parent in a line.
(Meles meles) For such a large animal badgers are rarely seen, feeding only at
night and spending the daylight hours in their sets. There are five known sets at Shotover but
a careful search might well reveal more. Badger’s prints, which are easily distinguished from
other mammals, show that they forage a long way from their nests.
(Felis sp.) Cats of domestic origin living in the wild are an underrated source of
predation on rodents and small birds. Although there are no packs of feral cats at Shotover
several individuals have been seen.
(Drama dama) Fallow deer were probably introduced to Britain by the Normans
but remains have been found from the last interglacial period. These large deer are common
in extensive areas of woodland near Oxford, such as Wytham Woods and Bernwood Forest.
(Capreolus capreolus) Roe deer became virtually extinct in England by the
beginning of the eighteenth century and the present population in South England is the result
of later introductions. Roe deer were certainly present at Shotover in medieval times. There
has been one recent doubtful sighting at Shotover but as roe deer are extending their range
from strongholds in Surrey and Sussex, it will be interesting to see whether they eventually
return to Oxfordshire.
(Muntiacus reevesi) Muntjac are the commonest deer at Shotover. They are
easily recognised by their small size, rounded back and the males by their rusks and simple
antlers. Asian in origin, muntjac escaped from Woburn deer park in about 1900. Muntjac are
also called barking deer because of their habit of making loud, barking noises in the rutting
Appendix 3 Odonata
Appendix 4 Butterflies
* Species not recorded since 1980
Nomenclature after Bradley, J.D. and Fletcher, D.S. (1979)
British Butterflies and Moths. Curwen Books.
Appendix 5 Moths
Narrow-bordered five-spot burnet
The forester (3 July 1971)
Figure of eighty
Dark-barred twin-spot carpet
Red twin-spot carpet
Grey pine carpet
July high flyer
Dark marbled carpet
Common marbled carpet
Lime speck pug
Tawny speckled pug
Pale brindled beauty
Small brindled beauty
Pale oak beauty
Common white wave
Broad-bordered bee hawk
Lesser swallow prominent
Lunar marbled brown
Figure of eight
Heart and dart
Lesser yellow underwing
Least broad-bordered yellow underwing
Setaceous hebrew character
Bright-line brown eye
* Ceramica pisi
Brown-line bright eye
Minor shoulde knot
Merveille du jour
* Antitype chi
Yellow line quaker
Centre barred sallow
Small angle shades
Lunar spotted pinion
Small yellow underwing
Small clouded brindle
Rustic shoulder knot
Middle barned minor
Small dotted buff
Pale mottled willow
Green silver lines
Scarce silver lines
Appendix 6 Flies
* Trichocera major
* T. saltator
* Tipula truncorum
* T. scripta
* T. cava
* T. fascipennis
* T. pellostigma
* Limonia macrostigma
* L. masoni
* L. nigropunctata
* L. stigma
* L. autumnalis
* L. modesta
* L. sericata
* Pseudolimnophila seplum
* Limnophila ferruginea
* Pilaria discicollis
* Erioptera stictica
* E. griselpennis
* E. areolata
* Ormosia bicornis
* O. hederae
* Molophilus flavus
* Pericoma blandula
* P. cognata
* P. gracilis
* P. neglecta
* P. pulchra
* Telmatoscopus ambiguus
* T. fratercula
* T. morulus
* T. soleatus
* T. rothschildii
* Mormia caliginosa
* Dixa maculata
* D. nebulosa
* Dixella aesthivallis
* Chaeoborus crystallinus
* Aedes cantans
* A. rusticus
* A. geniculatus
* A. vexans
* A. cinereus
* Culiseta fumipennis
* C. morsitans
* Forcipomyla brevipennis
* Atrichopogon appendiculatus
* A. minutus
* Dasyhelea notata
* D. scutellata
* Culicoides obidilis
* C. pictipennis
* Palpomyla fulva
* P. nemorivaga
* Bezzia flavicornis
* Tanypus punctipennis
* Ablabesmyia phatta
* Cricotopus reversus
* C. sylvestris
* Orthocladius obtexens
* Glyptotendipes pallens
* Bibio lanigerus
* B. lepidus
* B. marci
* Bolitophila saundersi
* B. hybrida
* Symmerus annulatus
* Macrocera stigmoides
* M. vittata
* Orfelia flava
* Mycomya winnertzi
* Apolephthisa subincana
* Boletina gripha
* Rymosia bifida
* Exechia dorsalis
* E. fusca
* E. parva
* Allodia lugens
* Cordyla fissa
* Dynatosoma fuscicornis
* Mycetophila curviseta
* M. stolida
* Zygomyla notata
* Sceptonia concolor
* S. nigra
* Platurocypta punctum
* P. testata
* Reichertella geniculata
* Planetella extrema
* P. funestra
* Beris clavipes
* B. fuscipes
* B. geniculata
* Oxycera formosa
* Microchrysa cyaneiventris
* Sargus splendens
* Stratiomys furcata
* Rhagio lineola
* Hybomtra micans
* Asilus crabroniformis
* Dysmachus trigonus
* Neoitamus cyanurus
* Leptogaster guttiventris
* Dioctria atricapilla
* D. baumhaueri
* Thereva plebeia
* Bombylidae canescens
* Drapetis nigritella
* D. ephippiata
* D. graminum
* Tachydromia connexa
* Platypalpus calceatus
* P. candicans
* P. coarctatus
* P. exilis
* P. fasciatus
* P. flavicornis
* P. maculipes
* P. niger
* P. nigrititarsis
* P. optivus
* P. pallipes
* P. pictitarsis
* P. pulicartus
* P. ruficornis
* P. verralli
* B. sulcata
* Trichonomyla flavipes
* Trichina flavipes
* Microphorus holesericeus
* Rhamphomyia dentipes
* R. tarsata
* R. variabilis
* R. flava
* R. nigripennis
* R. hybotina
* Empis nigritarsis
* E. concolor
* E. digramma
* E. punctata
* Hilara chorica
* H. cornicula
* H. curtisi
* H. flavipes
* H. griselfrons
* H. litorea
* Heleodromia immaculata
* Chelipoda vocatoria
* Chelifera precatoria
* Dolichocephala guttata
* D. irrorata
* D. ocellata
* Dolichopus picipes
* D. trivialis
* Hercostomus nigripennis
* Hydrophorus litoreus
* Raphium appendiculatum
* R. auctum
* R. caliginosum
* R. commune
* Syntormon monilis
* S. pallipes
* Sympycnus aenicoxa
* S. desoutteri
* Megaselia campestris
* M. pleuralis
* M. minor
* Verrallia aucta
* V. pilosa
* Pipunculus thomsoni
* Cephalops furcatus
* C. semiflumosus
* Eudorylas fuscipes
* E. terminalis
* E. zonatus
* Epistrophe nitidicollis
* Dasysyrphus albostriatus
* Leucozona laternarius
* Melangyna labiatarum
* M. lasiophthalma
* M. umbellatarum
* M. cincta
* Parasyrphus punctulatus
* Meliscaeva auricollis
* Sphaerophoria scripta
* Crysotoxum arcuatum
* Baccha elongata
* Platycheirus angustatus
* P. discimanus
* P. peltatus
* Paragus tibialis
* Pipiza bimaculata
* P. fenestrata
* Pipizella maculipennis
* Parapenium flavitarsis
* Cheilosia bergenstammi
* C. honesta
* C. impressa
* C. intonsa
* C. proxima
* C. scutellata
* C. soror
* C. vermalis
* C. vulpina
* Ferdinandea cuprea
* Chrysogaster chalybeata
* C. solstitialis
* C. virescens
* Leojogaster splendida
* Orthonerva splendens
* Eumerus strigatus
* Volucella inanis
* Sericomyla silentis
* Criorhina asilica
* C. berberina
* Merodon equestris
* Helophilus hybridus
* H. parallelus
* Erastralinus sephulchralis
* Conops ceriaeformis
* C. flavipes
* C. quadrifasciata
* Physocephala rufipes
* Myopa buccata
* M. fasciata
* M. polystigma
* Thecophora atra
* Sicus ferrugineus
* Rhagoletis alternata
* Chaetosomella onotrophes
* Terellia serratulae
* Dithryca guttularis
* Oxyna parietina
* Tephritis cometa
* T. hyoscyami
* Rivellia syngenesiae
* Ulidia erythrophthalma
* Herina frondescentiae
* H. germinationis
* H. lugubris
* Micropeza cirrigiolata
* Calobata ephippium
* Loxocera albiseta
* Psila atra
* Chamaemyla fasiata
* C. polystigma
* Trigonometopus frontails
* Minettia fasciata
* M. plumicornis
* M. rivosa
* Sapromyza bipunctata
* S. obsoleta
* Peplomyza litura
* Aulogastromyla anisodactyla
* Lyciella decempuntata
* L. decipiens
* Homoneura tesquae
* Suilla bicolor
* Allophyla atricornis
* Eccoptomera microps
* E. ornata
* Scoliocentra scutellaris
* Saltella sphondylli
* Themira annulipes
* Sepsis punctum
* Pherbelia albocostata
* P. dorsata
* P. dubia
* P. pallidiventris
* P. scutellaris
* P. ventralis
* Dichetophora obliterata
* Elgiva sundewalli
* Hydromya dorsalis
* Tetanocera ferruginea
* Sphaerocera denticulata
* S. pallidiventris
* Coproyza flavipennis
* C. costalis
* C. uncinata
* Leptocera appendiculata
* L. bifrons
* L. denticulata
* L. flavipes
* L. vitripennis
* L. ochripes
* L. lugubris
* L. pseudolugubris
* Palloptera arcuata
* P. slatuum
* Lonchaea fumosa
* L. sylvatica
* Opomyza florum
* Meonura flavifacies
* Leiomyza laevigata
* Camilla glabra
* Athyroglossa glabra
* Discomyza incurva
* Psilopa nitidula
* Trimerina madizans
* Notiphila cinerea
* Philygria posticata
* P. stictica
* Nostima picta
* Parydra fossarum
* Hyadina guttata
* H. nitida
* Pelina aenea
* P. aenescens
* Limnellia quadrata
* Scatophila caviceps
* S. variegata
* Campichoeta obscuripennis
* Diastata fuscula
* D. inornata
* D. unipunctata
* Scaptomyza graminum
* D. obscura
* D. tristis
* Madiza glabra
* Melanagromyza cunctans
* Liriomyza orbona
* Cerodontha luctuosa
* C. hammi
* Dicraeus raptus
* D. tiabilis
* D. vagans
* Elachiptera megaspis
* E. luberculifera
* meromyza saltatrix
* M. variegata
* Lasiosina approximatonervis
* Cetema myopina
* Chlorops hypostigma
* C. rufina
* C. serena
* Thaumatiomyia hallandica
* T. trifasciata
* Alophora obesa
* Dexia rustica
* Macquartia tenebricosa
* Solieria fenestrata
* S. inanis
* Elfia cingulata
* Ceromya monstrosicornis
* Masicera pavoniae
* Mitogramma germari
* M. puntatum
* Norellisoma lituratum
* Cordiflura pubera
* Nanna fasciata
* N. tibiella
* Chirosia parvicornis
* Myophina myopina
* Paraprosalphia billbergi
* Antomyla imbrida
* Phorbia sepia
* Leucophora sociata
* L. sponsa
* Delia criniventris
* D. frontella
* Egle parva
* Pegomyza praepotens
* Pegomyua nigrisquama
* F. hamata
* F. mollissima
* F. mutica
* F. polychaeta
* F. scalaris
* F. serna
* Thricops nigrifrons
* Drymela hamata
* Ophyra capensis
* Phaonia incana
* P. signata
* P. trimaculata
* Heline atripes
* H. duplicata
* Hebecnema vespertina
* Mydaea scutellaris
* M. urbana
* Limnophora maculosa
* Lispe tentaculata
* Spanochaeta dorsalis
* Coenosia intermedia
* C. lineatipes
Appenidix 7 Aculeate Hymenoptera
Systematic list of Aculeate Hymenoptera recorded from Shotover. Many of the records are
abstracted from the ‘Victoria County History of Oxfordshire’ and were compiled between the
wars by Prof. O W Richards and the late A H Hamm, when these entomologists were
associated with the Hope Department of Entomology. All subsequent records have been
added by Mr C O’Toole.
* Chelogynus cameroni
* Agonatopoides striatus
* Cephalonomia formiciformis
* Bethylus cephalotes
* B. fusicornis
* C. helleni
* C. ruddi
* C. pustulata
* C. viridula
* Euchroeus neglectus
* Tiphia minua
* Myrmosa atra
* Leptothorax acervorum
* L. mixtus
* Priocnemis agilis
* P. coriacea
* P. gracilis
* P. parvula
* P. pertubator
* P. schioedtei
* Arachnospila spissa
* A. trivialis
* Evagetes cressiocornis
* Ceropales maculata
* Ancistrocerus antilope
* Symmorphus connexus
* S. mutinensis
* Vespula germanica
* C. vagabondus
* C. varus
* C. nigritus
* C. capitosus
* E. continuus
* E. rubicola
* Mimesa bicolor
* Psenulus atratus
* Spilomena troglodytes
* Diodontus luperus
* Passaloecus corniger
* P. gracilis
* P. monilicornis
* M. sabulosa
* Nysson dimidiatus
* N. interruptus
* Gorytes quadrifasciatus
* Argogorytes fargei
* H. cornutus
* Andrena alfkenella
* A. augustior
* A. spicata
* A. bimaculata
* A. bucephata
* A. coitana
* A. denticulata
* A. dorsata
* A. flavipes
* A. fucata
* A. humilis
* A. labialis
* A. labiata
* A. nigriceps
* A. nigroaenea
* A. niveata
* A. ocreata
* A. praecox
* A. varians
* L. laevigatum
* L. lativentris
* L. minutissimum
* L. parvulum
* L. punctatissimum
* L. quadrinotatum
* Sphecodes crassus
* S. ferruginatus
* S. hyalinatus
* S. miniatus
* Hopilitis spinulosa
* Meagachile circumcincta
* Coelioxys elongata
* Nomada fabriciana
* N. fulvicornis
*. N. leucophthalma
* N. obtusifrons
* N. panzeri
* N. pleurosticta
* N. ruficornis
* N. rufipes
* N. sheppardana
* N. striata
* A. retusa
* Melecta albifrons
* B. ruderatus
* B. soreensis
* P. rupestris
* Species not recorded since 1980.
Nomenclature after Kloet, G S and Hinks, W D (1978) A checklist of British Insects. 4
LIST OF BEETLES
* C. monillis
* C. problematicus
* N. aquaticus
* Dyschirius politus
* Patrobus atronufus
* B. nitidus
* B. articulatum
* C. ambiguus
* Amara tibialis
* H. honestus
* Badister bipustulatus
* Panageus Bipustulatus
* Chlaenius vestitus
* Lebia chlorocephaia
* Metabletus truncatellus
* Agabus didymus
* C. marinus
* C. unipunctatus
* A. rotundatum
* Leptinus testaceus
* Grammostethus marginatus
* Peranus bimaculatus
* Proteinus crenulatus
* Acidota cruentata
* Acrolocha suicula
* Philorinum sordidum
* Phloeocharis subtillissima
* Pseudopsis sulcata
* Bledius femoralis
* B. gallicus
* B. longulus
* B. opacus
* Oxyporus rufus
* Stennus comma
* Lathrobium geminum
* Medon castaneus
* Scopaeus sulciollis
* Xantholinus laevigatus
* Philonthus agilis
* P. albipes
* P. puella
* P. latebricola
* Q. invreaa
* Q. maurorufus
* Q. picipes
* Q. scintillans
* T. tersus
* M. brevicornis
* M. elongata
* M. gracilis
* M. intermedia
* Gryophaena latissima
* G. minima
* Tachyusa constricta
* T. leucopus
* T. scitula
* Notothecta confusa
* Atheta hepatica
* Aleuonota gracilenta
* Allanta incana
* Lomeschusa emarginata
* Ocalea badia
* Aleochara maculata
* A. spadicea
* Claviger longicornis
* Lucanus cervus
* A. rufus
* A. foetens
* A. granarius
* Heterocerus fenestratus
* H. marginatus
* Ctenicera cuprea
* M. obscurus
* M. solidus
* M. umbrosus
* C. pubescens
* Tribolium confusum
* Anaspis thoracica
* Meloe rugosus
* Notoxus monoceros
* T. goettingensis
* C. oricalcia
* Galeruca tanaceti
* Calomicrus circumfusus
* Apion sanguineum
* A. cineraceum
* A. seniculus
* A. ebenimum
* A. striatum
* A. aethips
* A. ervi
* A. loti
* A. reflexum
* A. simile
* A. virens
* A. craccae
* A. subulatum
* A. dissimile
* A. varipes
* R. salcis
* Trachypioeus aristatus
* T. bifoveolatus
* T. scabriculus
* Sitona humeralis
* S. lepidus
* S. macularius
* S. sulcifrons
* Clenonus piger
* Hypera punctata
* H. venusta
* Alphus triguttatus
* Dorytomus validirostris
* Coeliodes rubicundus
* Ceuthorhynchidius bamevillei
* Ceutorhynchus triangulum
* Phytobius canaliculatus
* Orobitis cyaneus
* Tychius meliloti
* Species not recorded since 1980.
Nomenclature after Kloet, G S and Hinks, W D (1977) A Checklist of British Insects 3.
Appendix 9 Spiders
LIST OF SPIDERS FROM BRASENOSE WOOD
Family, Genus & Species
National Status and Habitat
Rare. Nettles, tree trunks etc.
Rare. Oak trunks.
Tetragnatha sp. probably extensa
Rare, new to Oxon. Oak trunks.
New to Oxon. Oak trunks.
Rare, only about 12 British localities known
Linyphia (neriene) montana
Linyphia (Neriene) clathrata
Linyphia (Neriene) peltata
The most notable species so far discovered is Tuberta maerens, a species known from only a
few sites in the country, but common in Brasenose Wood. It lives on the deeply creviced
trunks of oak trees. It is also known from Little Wittenham Wood. Another uncommon
species on oak trunks is Zygiella stroemi; this species has recently been found to be lcoally
abundant on the standard trees at Brasenose, and favours the sunny side of trees with the
most highly texture bark; it is also known from Little Wittenham Wood and Blenheim.
Philodromus praedatus is a rare species, and this is the second record for Oxfordshire; it is
found on low vegetation such as nettles, and sometimes, as it was here, on tree trunks. It is
also known from Wychwood forest and Little Wittenham Wood.
The nomenclature follows Merrett, P, Locket, G H and Millidge, A F (1985) A Checklist of
British Spiders. Butlletin British Arachnological Society. 6. 381-403. New country records
refer to vice-county 23 (Old Oxfordshire).
SPIDERS FROM SHOTOVER HILL, HEATHLAND
Collected and identified by Clive Hambler 1986 unless stated otherwise.
Theridion sisyphium (recorded by Clive Bromhall, 1986)
Theridion impressum (recorded by Clive Bromhall, 1986)
Walckenaeria sp. probably antica
Theridion simile is usually a heathland species but can occur on chalk grassland; this is the
second recorded site for it in Oxfordshire, the other being Swyncombe Downs. The list is very
short, as I have not spent much time collecting.
GRASSHOPPERS AND CRICKETS
Common field grasshopper
* Tetrix subulata
Speckled bush cricket
Dark bush cricket
Oak bush cricket
* Species not recorded since 1980
Nomenclature after Kloet, G S and Hinsk, W D (1964) A Checklist of British Insects. 1.
Small Orders. R.E.S.
REPTILES AND AMPHIBIA
Three species of reptile and five species of amphibia occur at Shotover. Occasional records
of adder (Vipura berus) have been received but as there is a possibility of confusion with grass
snake, they should perhaps be regarded as doubtful. All three species of newt have been
seen in the Henry Stephen/C S Lewis pond, The nationally rare crested newt is not uncommon
in ponds near Oxford.
Fir clubmoss (1822 Baxter)
Stag’s horn clubmoss (1866 Baxter)
Wood horsetail (Baxter)
Moonwort (1844 Druce)
Mountain fern (1858 Boswell)
Hard shield fern (1884 Boswell)
Scaly male fern
Crested buckler-fern (c. 1890)
Hard fern (1885)
Blinks (1790 Sibthorp)
Three veined sandwort
Fine-leaved sandwort (1896)
Knotted pearlwort (Sibthorp)
Corncockle (c. 1830 Boswell)
Corn buttercup (1886)
Smal flowered buttercup (1886)
Rough poppy (1860 H Boswell)
Field pepperwort (W Baxter)
Swine-cress (19c Druce)
Round-leaved sundew (Sibthorp)
Thick-leaved stonecrop (1886)
Meadow saxifrage (1927 Druce)
Opposite-leaved golden saxifrage
R. fruticosus agg.
Alchemilla vulgaris agg.
Pear (1858 H. Boswell)
Wild service tree
Common white beam
Broom (S. Laing)
Bitter vetch (1886 R. C. Pryor)
Narrow-leaved everlasting pea
Hare’s-foot clover (1884)
Rough trefoil (1823)
Subterranean trefoil (1830 Baxter)
Common bird’s-foot trefoil
Greater bird’s-foot trefoil
Tilia x vulgaris
Mezereon (1832 R.C. Pryor)
Tutsan (1831 Baxter)
Hairy St. John’s-wort
Slender St. John’s-wort
Trailing St. John’s-wort
Square-stalked St. John’s-wort
Imperforate St. John’s-wort
Perforate St. John’s-wort
Water pursland (W. Baxter)
Rose bay willowherb
Bur chervil (1859 H Boswell)
Thorow-wax (H. Boswell)
Corn Parsley (Sibthorp)
Knotted hedge-parsley (H. Boswell)
Spreading hedge-parsley (H. Boswell)
Field gentian (1819 Dillenius)
Aquinancy wort (1886)
Dodder (H E Garnsey)
Common gromwell (1886)
Wood sage (1860 W. Holladay)
Field woundwort (1974)
Common cow wheat
Marsh lousewort (1886)
Buck’s-horn plantain (1823 Baxter)
Greater bellflower (1890)
Broad-leaved cudweed (1927 Druce)
Nodding bur-marigold (Sibthorp)
Broad-leaved ragwort (1886)
Heath groundsel (1974)
Cotton thistle (1884)
Yellow star-thistle (1886)
Rough hawk’s beard
Beaked hawk’s beard
Hieracium unbellatum agg.
Marsh arrowgrass (1926 Druce)
Star of Bethlehem
Hyacinthoides non scripta
Sharp flowered rush
Greater woodrush (1974)
x Festulolium loliaceum
Rat’s tail fescue (1886)
Hard poa (1886)
Annual meadow grass
Rough meadow grass
Smooth meadow grass
Wood meadow grass
Floating sweet grass
Phleum pratense spp pratense
P. pratense ssp bertolonii
Flat-sedge (1831 Baxter )
Flase fox sedge
Grey sedge (1886)
White helleborine (1886)
Autumn layd’s tresses (1833)
Frog orchid (Sibthorp)
Anthoceros punctatus (W Baxter)
*Riccardia sinuata (19th century, Baxter)
*Fossombronia pusilla (Sibthorp)
*Lophozia incisa (1819 Baxter)
* Lepidozia reptans (1948 E W Jones)
* L. setacea (19th century, Sibthorp)
*Solenstoma creulata (1821 Baxter)
*Nardia scalaris (1940s E W Jones)
*C. connivens (1819 Baxter)
*Diplophyllum albicans (Baxter)
*Scapania nemorea (1819 Baxter)
*Radula complanata (Sibthorp)
*P. commune (lost in about 1861)
*Pogonatum nanum (Sibthorp)
*P. aloides (Sibthorp)
*P. subulatum (Sibthorp)
*D. cerviculata (Sibthorp)
D. tauricum (=strictum)
*F. exilis (1940s E W Jones)
*Encalypta vulgaris (Sibthorp)
*T. subulata (Sibthorp)
P. starkeana ssp. conica
Schistidium (=Grimmia) apocarpum
*Racomitrium canescens (extinct by 1856 - Sibthorp)
*Physcomitrium pyriforme (1940s E W Jones)
*Splachnum ampullaceum (1819)
*B. pseudotriquetrum (Sibthorp)
*B. affine (Baxter)
*Rhodobryum roseum (Sibthorp)
Pohlia carnea (=deliculata)
*P. wahlenbergii (1858)
*M. cuspidatum (Sibthorp)
Plagiomnium (=Mnium) undulatum
Rhizomnium (=Mnium) punctatum
*A. palustre (1884)
*Philonotis fontana (Sibthorp)
Thamnobryum (=Thanmium) alopecurum
*Cryphaea heteromalia (Baxter)
*Leucodon sciruoides (Sibthorp)
*Orthotrichum anomalum (Sibthorp)
*O. striatum (Baxter)
Homalothecium (=Camptothecium) sericeum
Rhyncostegium (=Eurhynchium) confertum
*E. pumilum (1940s E W Jones)
*R. loreus (Sibthorp)
*Species not recorded since 1980.
Moss monenclature after Smith, A J E (1978) The Moss Flora of Britain and Ireland C U P
Liverwort nomenclature after Watson E V (1968) British Mosses and Liverworts C U P
LIST OF LICHENS
LIST OF FUNGI
False dath cap
Common funnel cap
Tawny funnel cap
Clustered tough shank
Goat moth wax cap
Larch wax cap
Meadow wax cap
Scarlet wax cap
Blackening wax cap
Conical wax cap
Yellow wax cap
Snowy wax cap
Parrot wax cap
Hrose hair fungus
Fairy ring champignon
Woolly milk cap
Saffron milk cap
Slimy milk cap
Ugly milk cap
Coconut scented milk cap
Grey milk cap
Rufous milk cap
Oak milk cap
Watery milk cap
Milk white russula
Common yellow russula
Bare toothed russula
Blackish purpose russula
Shaggy ink cap
Common ink cap
Glistening ink cap
Red cracked boletus
Orange birch bolete
Brown birch bolete
Many zoned polypore
Silver leaf fungus
Ear pick fungus
White coral fungus
Grey coral fungus
Yellow brain fungus
Common white helvella
Scarlet elf cup
Orange peel fungus
Candle snuff fungus
Dead man’s fingers
Coral spot fungus
Scarlet caterpillar fungus
STATUS OF SPECIES NOW LOST FROM SHOTOVER
Status at Shotover
Locally or regionally scarce
Status at Shotover
Locally or regionally
Status at Shotover
Locally or regionally
Status at Shotover
Status at Shotover
Hypericum androgeanum Locally rare
Status at Shotover
Pedicularis palustris Regionally rare
Schedule 8 WLCA (1981)
Status at Shotover
Nationally extinct ?
Status (not recorded since 1980)
National rarity (RDB 3)
National rarity (RDB3)
National rarity (RDB1)
National rarity (RDB3)
A. niveata RDB3
National rarity (RDB3)
A. alkenella RDB3
National rarity (RDB3)
On tree trunks
On tree trunks
On tree trunks
On tree trunks#
Red backed shrike
Scoliocentra scutellaris RD3
Dichetophora obliterata Notable
Mitogramma germari RDB3
Spanochaeta dorsalis Notable
Category definitions and criteria
These categories are based on degree of threat, and not on degree of
. Taxa in danger of extinction and whose survival is unlikely
if the causal factors continue operating.
Included are taxa whose numbers have been reduced to a critical level
or whose habitats have been so dramatically reduced that they re
deemed to be in immediate danger of extinction. Also included are
taxa that are believed to be extinct. Criteria.
Species which are known as only a single population within
one 10 km square of the National Grid.
Species which only occur in habitats known to be especially
Species which have shown a rapid and continuous decline over the
last twenty years and now exist in five or fewer 10 km squares.
Species which are believed extinct but which if rediscovered would
Taxa believed likely to move into the Endangered
category in the near future if the causal factors continue operating.
Included are taxa of which most or all of the populations are decreasing
because of over-exploitation, extensive destruction of
habitat or other environmental disturbance; taxa with populations that
are still abundant but are under threat from series adverse factors
throughout their range. Criteria
Species declining throughout their range.
Species in vulnerable habitats.
Species whose populations are low.
Taxa with small populations that are not at present
endangered or Vulnerable, but are at risk.
These taxa are usually localised within restricted geographical areas or
habitats or are thinly scattered over a more extensive range.
This category also includes taxa which are believed to be rare but are
too recently discovered or recognised to be certain of placing
(designated 3*). Criteria
Species which exist in only fifteen or fewer 10 km squares.
OUT OF DANGER
categories, but which are now considered relatively secure because
effective conservation measures have been taken or the previous
threat to their survival has been removed.
Taxa which are not known to occur naturally outside Britain.
Taxa within this category may also be in any of Categories 1 - 4.
Taxa which were formerly native to Britain but have not been recorded
since 1900. (This definition is slightly modified for the Lepidoptera.)
Notable species occur in 16-100 10 km2 in Britain
OXFORD CITY COUNCIL
made under Section 41 of the Countryside Act 1968, by the Oxford City Council with respect to
Shotover Country Park in the County of Oxfordshire.
Throughout these byelaws the expression “the Council” means the Oxford City Council
and the expression “the park” means the country park at Shotover in the County of
Oxfordshire as shown on the plan attached to these Byelaws.
No person shall in the park without reasonable excuse
climb any wall or fence on or enclosing the park, or any barrier, railing, post or
remove or displace any barrier, railing, post or seat, or any part of any erection or
ornament, or any implement provided for use in the laying out or maintenance of
No person shall affix or cause to be affixed any advertisement, bill, placard or notice
upon any building, wall, fence, gate, door, pillar, post, tree, rock or stone on or enclosing
No person shall light a fire in the park, or place or throw or let fall a lighted match
or any other thing so as to be likely to cause a fire.
This byelaw shall not prevent the lighting or use of a properly constructed
camping stove or cooker in any area set aside for the purpose, in such a manner
as not to cause danger of or damage by fire.
No person shall ride or drive a mechanically propelled vehicle or a pedal cycle in
any part of the park where there is no right of way for vehicles.
This byelaw shall not extend to any invalid carriages which may legally be driven
on a highway.
If the Council has set apart a space in the park for use by vehicles of any class,
this byelaw shall not prevent the riding or driving of vehicles of that class in the
space so set apart, or on the direct route between it and the entrance to the park.
Where the Council indicate by a notice conspicuously exhibited on or alongside any
gate in the park that leaving that gate open is prohibited, no person having opened that
gate shall leave it open.
No person shall without the consent of the Council erect a tent or use any vehicle,
including a caravan, or any other structure for the purpose of camping in the park
except on any area which may be set apart and indicated by notice as a place where
camping is permitted.
No person shall carry or discharge any firearm or air weapon in the park.
No person shall cause or suffer a dog belonging to him or in his charge to enter or
remain in the park, unless such dog be and continue to be under proper control, and be
effectually restrained from causing annoyance to any person, and from worrying or
disturbing any animal.
No person shall without lawful excuse or authority in the park kill, molest or
intentiaonally disturb any animal, bird or fish or engage in hunting, shooting or the
setting of traps or nets or the laying of snares.
No person shall, turn out or permit any animal to graze in the park without the Council’s
No person shall in the park sell, or offer or expose for sale, or let or hire, or offer or
expose for letting to hire any commodity or article without the Council’s consent.
No person shall foul or pollute or obstruct the flow of any drain or water-course, or open,
shut or otherwise interfere with any sluicegate or similar apparatus in the park.
No person shall in the park remove or displace any soil or turf or cut, maim, remove or
displace the whole or part of any tree, shrub, plant or flower.
No person shall without the permission of the Council fly a powered model aircraft
above the park.
No person shall ride a horse in the park except on a road or bridleway or on an area,
path, track or route set aside by the Council for the riding of horses.
No person shall in the park intentionally obstruct or disturb a ranger or other officer of
the Council in the proper execution of his duty, or any person or servant of any person
employed by the Council in the proper execution of any work in connection with the
laying out or maintenance of the land.
An act necessary to the proper execution of his duty in the park by an officer of
the Council, or by any person or servant of any person employed by the Council,
shall not be deemed an offence against these byelaws.
Nothing in or done under any of the provisions of these byelaws shall in any
respect prejudice or injuriously affect any public right of way through the park or
the rights of any person acting legally by virtue of some estate, right, or interest
in, over, or affecting the park or any part thereof.
Every person who shall offend against any of these byelaws shall be liable on summary
conviction to a fine not exceeding £100.
SHOTOVER CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE - TERMS OF REFERENCE
To define the areas having particular interests;
to investigate and describe flora and fauna of the area (see (i) above);
to advise on the management of woodlands and grasslands bearing in mind the existing
and future use of such areas and the needs for conservation;
to advise on remedial work necessary to specific features, e.g. osier beds, ochre pits
to advise on tree planting to ensure the continuity of the landscape;
to explore the possibility of creating an Interpretative Centre at low cost using existing
to be involved in the supervision of volunteer groups carrying out specific projects;
to monitor the effect of the existing uses on vegetational and animal life, and
to advise on the pattern and intensity of use for recreational activities.
RECREATION AND AMENITIES (SHOTOVER CONSULTATIVE) SUB-COMMITTEE
to receive and adopt the minutes (previously circulated and now appended) of the
Recreation and Amenities (Shotover Consultative) Sub-Committee held on 24th
that the following paragraph be added to the Terms of Reference of the Sub-Committee
“(x) that an Annual Tour of Shotover be held and the Chief Leisure Services Officer
submit details of the work programme for Shotover to the Sub-Committee each year”
and that a note be added to the Management Plan to this effect.