RSPB Otmoor Nature Reserve

RSPB Otmoor Nature Reserve
Otmoor Lane, Beckley

About Otmoor

Otmoor is a nature reserve just outside Oxford that spans a total of 262 acres. Otmoor is a haven for wildlife in the heart of Oxfordshire. The visitor trail leads you alongside an expansive floodplain grazing marsh, home to wading birds and wildfowl year-round. Hedgerows, bustling with warblers and songbirds, and the rustling reedbed adds to the immersive experience of being on the “moor”.

Otmoor is run by the RSPB, within the wider area of Otmoor, in Oxfordshire – halfway between Oxford and Bicester. It was established in 1997 and restored large areas of marshland. Otmoor is primarily wetland and increasingly so, an outstanding area for birds. In the winter it provides a home to large numbers of wildfowl and waders.

To discover what makes RSPB Otmoor such a special place for nature, start exploring today. The trails will take you through some of the best parts of the reserve, giving you a chance to get closer to all kinds of wildlife that call this place home. Wander along a trail in summer listening to the dragonflies darting past. Wrap up warm in winter and marvel at the flocks of wildfowl. Always keep an eye on the vast ever-changing skies that help to make Otmoor such a beautiful, wild site.

Getting there

By Car

From Oxford: Follow the ring road until the Green Road roundabout at Headington. From here take the minor road to Beckley. Follow the road through Barton and up the hill until you reach a T-junction. At this junction turn left then first right and follow the road into Beckley (*). Follow the road past the Abingdon Arms and keep left into Otmoor Lane which bends left just past the pond. Follow this road down to Otmoor. Right at the end of the road, there is a left turn which takes you into the RSPB car park.

From A34: Leave the A34 at the Islip turn (B4027) north-east of Kidlington. Follow this through Islip, crossing the River Cherwell, and past turnings to Noke on the left and Woodeaton on the right. Take the first turning on the left to Beckley, turning left as you reach the village. Swing right by the church and follow instructions from (*) above.

From A40 westbound: Leave the A40 at the Forest Hill turn (B4027) near Wheatley. Follow this road through Forest Hill and Stanton St. John, then past a staggered crossroads. Take the next right signposted to Beckley. When you reach the church follow the directions from (*) above.

By train

The nearest railway station is in the village of Islip and you can access the reserve via the Oxfordshire Way (2.1 mile walk).

By bus

Buses run infrequently between Oxford and the village of Beckley (just over a mile from the reserve).

By bike

Otmoor is connected to surrounding villages by bridleways, as well as local roads. Bike racks can be found in the reserve car park.

Reserve Access

Follow the visitor route sign at the entrance to the car park through the next gate where you will find a small information panel and leaflet dispenser. Both the panel and leaflets have a map showing the visitor route and viewing screens. There are now also trail marker posts at any junctions. The furthest reed-screen is about a 4.5km round trip (3 miles).

Part of the visitor route is a public bridleway and after wet weather can get badly churned up by horses. Wellingtons are essential and the going can be very heavy.

Note: Part of the moor remains in military use as a rifle range, and a significant part of Otmoor lies within a designated Danger Area (due to the rifle range) and is inaccessible when red flags are flying. Access to RSPB land is also limited, particularly while the reserve is under development.

More from The Oxford Magazine