A wetland wildlife haven
Nestled amongst the houses in east Abingdon, Abbey Fishponds is a small nature reserve loved by locals and teeming with wetland wildlife. This tiny, tucked away green space is leased by the Vale of White Horse District Council and the Earth Trust took over management in July 2014. The reserve is around 7ha in size and despite being completely enclosed by housing, is a haven for wildlife, walkers and local explorers.
One feature of the reserve is the embankment; it was first thought this was a medieval dam built to create a fishpond for Abingdon Abbey – hence the name. Recent archaeological work suggests this is unlikely and that it is more likely to be the remains of a Roman causeway. The site is known locally as 'daisy bank'.
As a wetland, water is one of the primary features of the site. As well as the brook that bisects the site, there are ponds, seasonal pools, and wet grassland. Other habitats include reedbeds, sedge beds, sycamore woodland, fen and scrub.
Abbey Fishponds can be found at OX14 3UB (grid reference SU512987). There are two footpaths crossing the reserve; the four access points are shown on the map. The main entrance is off Radley Road. It is possible to walk from the reserve to Thrupp Lake.
Even somewhere as small and enclosed as Abbey Fishponds can be home to a whole host of species. The species list from 2012 includes over 450 plants, mammals, birds, invertebrates and amphibians...
There were 50 species of bird recorded on site, including kingfisher, cuckoo, mistle thrush, coal tit, linnet, yellowhammer, and reed bunting.
Abbey Fishponds is home to eight species of mammal, including two different bats (common and soprano pipistrelle). There are also water voles present though you need to be especially quiet if you want to spot one! If you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse, this informative video will help you tell the different between a water vole and a rat.
As well as bugs, beetles, bees and more, there are 21 species of butterfly including small skipper, Essex skipper, brimstone, green-veined white, holly blue, comma, dark green fritillary, speckled wood, and meadow brown; and 11 species of dragonfly including large red damselfly, banded demoiselle, brown hawker, and southern hawker.
Common frogs and smooth newts can be found on site.
Over 200 species of flowering plants have be recorded, including: hawthorn, meadowsweet, fen bedstraw, goat willow, brooklime, Yorkshire fog, meadow foxtail, common spotted orchid, southern marsh orchid, water forget-me-not, watermint, and yellow iris.
The site has a dedicated volunteer group, led by Volunteer Warden Marjorie White, who help to manage and maintain the site. Work parties are held on the first Saturday of every month. Please get in touch to find out more: email@example.com or 01865 407792, or see the volunteering pages.