Tuckmill Meadows

Nestled between Shrivenham and Watchfield villages lies a community reserve rich in natural and human history. Spanning 15 acres, Tuckmill Meadows combines lush floodplain meadows, reedbeds, woodlands and a flowing stream – habitats that have drawn settlement and agriculture here for millennia.

Designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), today this peaceful refuge bursts with over 300 plant species, rare insects, elusive otters and myriad birds. Community efforts by Friends of Tuckmill, supported by Earth Trust experts, focus on safeguarding these fragile ecosystems so people and wildlife alike can enjoy this little corner of Oxfordshire countryside bordering the historic River Cole.

What to see

Tuckmill Meadows delights in every season. Spring heralds cowslips through the meadows while summer brings dragonflies dancing and southern marsh orchids in bloom. Peer into reedbeds for warblers or spot badgers snuffling along trails at dusk. Where Ratcoombe Brook crosses, stepping stones provide clues to bygone residents – pause here awhile to drink in wildlife and rich heritage.

History

Centuries of farming and milling along the River Cole shaped Tuckmill Meadows, creating fertile floodplains. The habitats resulting from this long human imprint nurture an abundance of species today, many uncommon regionally. Since becoming a protected SSSI in 1975 and then entering community stewardship, the focus continues: conserve precious ecosystems and honour the enduring connection between nature and people in this place.

Caring for this special place   

Leased by Vale of White Horse District Council, Friends of Tuckmill and Earth Trust ensure sensitive management benefiting both biodiversity and public access. Regular volunteer workdays help maintain footpaths, remove invasive plants, and complete tasks like meadow mowing. Ongoing efforts also include ecological surveys, species monitoring, educational events and collaboration with partner organisations to continually enhance ecosystem health.