Woodstock water meadows

The water meadows were granted to the town in a charter of King Henry VI dated 24 May 1453 and are a unique feature in the heart of the town, providing a valuable habitat for birds, small mammals, and plants from small aquatic species to mature trees. Covering 5.5 hectares of land on the flood plain of the River Glyme the water meadows are easily accessible to the public as an area of quiet tranquillity.

The water meadows are bounded on the north by the mill stream which carries most of the water through and under the main A44 road and in to the Blenheim Lake by the seven arches bridge. The south side is bounded by the more modest flows of the residual Glyme river. The water meadows are frequently flooded in winter although drier areas have been set aside for managed grazing. The area is home to a large number of pollarded willows, white poplar and more recently planted species.

In May 2014 the Wychwood Project wrote a management plan for Woodstock Town Council. In 2015, in conjunction with the Evenlode Catchment Partnership, we secured funding to restore a section of the River Glyme upstream from Woodstock water meadows and to undertake a range of conservation activities on the meadow themselves. On 1st June 2016 the Wychwood Project was awarded a conservation contract from Woodstock Town Council to manage many aspects of the meadows. During the first 3 months of our management of the Water Meadows we: hosted an open day with information about the flora, butterflies and wildlife in the water; have undertaken the first in a series of bird surveys; hosted a walk/talk with the Natural History Society of Woodstock; we have maintained the paths to provide good access for the public
and recruited volunteers to help with the remove of the non-native Himalayan Balsam. The meadows are grazed by Dexter cattle to help control the Himalayan Balsam cows