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5441099Swift Valley Nature Reserve
DateFriday 1st January 2016 to Tuesday 31st December 2019
DescriptionThis reserve is a grassland with a pronounced ridge and furrow character. There are hedgerows, woodland and wetland adjacent to the River Swift and a disused canal. The reserve's traditional pasture, small woods, hedges and landscaped wetlands offer substantial diversity. The adjoining River Swift, two pools, marshy floodplain and the bordering disused arm of the Oxford Canal add further interest. Almost completely covered in ancient ridge and furrow plough markings, the land has since been left unploughed and has a long history as grazing pasture. Its calcareous clay soils, with sandy deposits, support species-poor, coarse grassland with red fescue and Yorkshire-fog making up the principle grasses. More pleasing flowers grow here, such as meadow crane's-bill, musk mallow and goat's-beard. Oak is most abundant in the recently extended woodland, where snowdrop and daffodil have been introduced, offering pretty springtime displays. Wetter areas support woodland of alder and willow. Ash and willow add height to the predominantly hawthorn hedgerows, with occasional turkey oak along the redundant canal. The wetland habitats of the reserve are ideal for many dragonfly and damselfly species, with small red-eyed damselfly choosing Swift Valley - its first county site - in 2004. Nationally scarce soldier and longhorn beetles have even been recorded. Butterflies are also plentiful in the grassland, especially browns and skippers. Small copper and holly blue appear, while small tortoiseshell, peacock and red admiral benefit from all the nettles. The chimneysweeper moth breeds here, laying its eggs on the pignut where fat caterpillars later emerge. Rabbits and grey squirrel are numerous, with indications of red fox and mole. The rough grasslands hide a multitude of mice, voles and shrews, whose high pitched squeaking can often be heard.
Time(s)Mon-Sun dawn-dusk
LocationSwift Valley Nature Reserve
Telephone No.02476 302912
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Swift Valley Nature Reserve
Old Brownsover Lane
CV21 1HU
Telephone No.02476 302912
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