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Wed, 24 Jul


Dean Common nature reserve

Evening nature walk & campfire gathering at Dean Common

Join our Countryside and Reserves Manager, Toby Swift, for an evening nature walk at this Local Wildlife Site.

Evening nature walk & campfire gathering at Dean Common
Evening nature walk & campfire gathering at Dean Common

Time & Location

24 Jul 2024, 19:00 – 22:00

Dean Common nature reserve, Spelsbury, Chipping Norton OX7 3JU, UK

About the event

Join our Countryside and Reserves manager Toby Swift for an evening walk at Dean Common, one of our more remote and very rural ‘hidden gems’, and see how we’ve helped nature reclaim this old sand quarry.

Dean Common was our very first nature reserve, the result of a collaboration with our partners at Oxfordshire District Council back in 1997. Like many of the best nature reserves in the modern landscape, Dean Common is an exhausted quarry. After sand extraction ended at the site, the quarry was partially restored in some areas with appropriate scrub and tree planting and left to rewild through natural succession in others. The low nutrient subsoil left behind in disused quarries results in interesting and specialist plants and invertebrates, particularly in the early stages of colonisation and successional change.

Today, nearly 25 years on, the nature reserve is a remote gem with a rich and maturing mosaic of habitats including young woodland, dense scrub, open grassland and a series of seasonal and permanent ponds. The low nutrient subsoils that are left behind after the fertile topsoil and the underlying gravels are removed create the conditions for a diverse range of pioneer plants and animals - some of them rare habitat specialists - to rapidly colonise the bare ground. Dean Common is a great place to encounter amphibians: it has a thriving great crested newt population and is one of the best spawning sites in the historic Wychwood area for the now not-so-common toad. It's also home to unusual plants like the bee orchid and the flamboyant viper’s bugloss, and its largest pond is frequented by kingfishers and little grebes.

In March 2024, Dean Common was awarded Local Wildlife Site status by the Oxfordshire LWS Project, a long running initiative hosted by the Thames Valley Environmental Centre and BBOWT. There are a little over 350 LWS in Oxfordshire. LWS status is important as it identifies high value sites for wildlife that are often biologically on a par with the more familiar Site of Special Scientific Interest designation. 

And afterwards as the sun goes down and the light fades, gather for a while around the campfire and enjoy a cuppa and a chat.


On the B4026 Charlbury to Chipping Norton road, at Spelsbury turn west on the Chadlington road. After about a mile, take a left turn onto Grove Lane. There will be a WFT marker on the corner directing you to the event. The track is rough, but continue along until you reach the carpark.


If you cancel your place less than 48 hours before the event or course we cannot offer a refund. If we have to cancel an event or course that you have booked we will offer a full refund.

We aim to make our events and course as inclusive as possible but some outdoor spaces can present access difficulties. If you have any special requirements, please contact before booking.

As a registered charity, we are a non-profit making organisation.  All the proceeds from our events go to restoring nature in the Wychwood Forest area.


  • Dean Common walk ticket

    +£0.15 service fee



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