Home to the stunning common spotted and southern marsh orchids, Mowbray Fields is a tranquil nature reserve nestling in the heart of Didcot. On a summer’s day Mowbray Fields is perfect for family picnics and nature walks. The nature reserve and adjoining grassland are linked by the Sustrans national cycle network and public footpaths.
What to see
The wildflower meadow was sown in 2001 and has transformed the former grassland into a rich flowering meadow, providing a haven for a wide variety of invertebrates (over 200 species!), mammals and birds.
A raised causeway and viewing platform in the middle of the reserve let you get right up close to fascinating ecosystems including ponds, rough grassland, marsh and wet woodland. In the spring, look out for frogs spawning in the water.
Spring and early summer are also a good time to look for orchids, such as the common spotted and southern marsh orchids.
South Oxfordshire District Council bought the site in the 1980s and in 2000 it was designated a Local Nature Reserve; Earth Trust have been managing the reserve on behalf of the council ever since.
Much of the management revolves around maintaining a balance between open and covered areas – a mosaic of habitats. This includes coppicing the willow, cutting back the grassland and creating piles of deadwood.