Rycote Meadow Conservation Project

A butterfly on a flower

Rycote Meadow, bordered by the Cuttle Brook on its eastern side and by Oxford Road on the south, is a rare remnant of precious floodplain meadow, home to a rich variety of plant species and the animals that depend upon them. A number of conservationists and conservation bodies such as the River Thame Conservation Trust, Wild Oxfordshire, the Cuttle Brook Local Nature Reserve and the RSPB have commented on the importance of the site.

Thame Green Living have been working with Thame Town Council and Cuttle Brook Conservation Volunteers to help protect the site for the future.

Initial work included the enhancement of the important area of hedging along the western side of the Meadow to provide even more protection for wildlife – birds and the invertebrates on which they feed principally – interspersed with trees of a modest size to contribute more habitat and variety. The hedging and trees are all native species indigenous to Oxfordshire.

In June 2024 Cuttle Brook Conservation Volunteers created a new wetland scrape within the meadow to maintain a more aquatic nature conducive to smaller creatures and plants. This is not a pond as such and will not directly link to the Cuttle Brook itself.

The next part of the project will be the construction of a footpath to give a new public access from Oxford Road to the rear of the site. This will be made ready to link to the Thame Meadows Estate and footpath access to the River Thame beyond.

When opened, the path will enable local people to enjoy this tranquil natural space, which will remain, however, primarily a conservation area for wildlife, protected by a fence designed to prevent disturbance of birds, aquatic life and the delicate eco-system on which they depend.  Advice on conservation work has been received from the River Thame Conservation Trust and Wild Oxfordshire, and it builds upon the extensive experience of CBCV, who manage the Cuttle Brook Local Nature Reserve close by.   Rycote Meadow will be managed by CBCV in future and become an extension of the local nature reserve. 

The project will continue over the summer, with the hope that it will be open to the public some point during September 2024.

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    With funding from

    This project has been supported by the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment with funding from Section 106 funds and the Community Infrastructure Levy, as well as by Section 106 funds generated from the Thame Meadows development on Oxford Road, Thame.

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