New group helps rare species survive in Oxfordshire

Volunteers have formed a new group to preserve rare wildlife habitats in the Chilterns.

Kingwood Common in Nettlebed near Henley is home to important heathland and grassland habitats. The new volunteer group is focusing on clearing unwanted scrub and invasive plants in order to help rare and threatened plants thrive in these areas.

The Chiltern Society has formed a partnership with Nettlebed and District Commons Conservators to combine forces with the existing Commons volunteers to continue to restore the open glade habitats across the common. Twenty-four volunteers began clearing bracken, brambles and self-seeded saplings earlier this month and are meeting for a second session on Saturday (18 November).

Gavin Johnson, Head of Conservation and Development at the Chiltern Society, said: “Kingwood Common’s network of lowland heathland and grassland habits support a range of rare species which are not found in other habitats. Plants such as bell heather, heath bedstraw and heath milkwort are rare nationally, but particularly so in Oxfordshire”.

“The common is an important site for biodiversity and heritage and a wonderful natural asset.”

The group is supported by the Trust for Oxfordshire Environment with funding from Grundon Waste Management Ltd. for tools and equipment for the new volunteer group.

The project is ongoing and will meet to carry out practical conservation work regularly throughout the year. If you would like to get involved please contact group leader Matthew Davis at or Gavin Johnson at the Chiltern Society on 01494 771250.