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Size:

18.32 ha (45.27 acres)

Grid reference:

SP494119

Map reference:

Explorer 180

OS Landranger 164

Just a few kilometres from the centre of Oxford, Stratfield Brake is a peaceful oasis that’s perfect for getting close to nature throughout the seasons.

In a landscape with little accessible woodland, the woods are a joy to walk through and the wetland is great for birdwatching.

Features

  • Parking nearby
  • Public access
  • Grassland
  • Broadleaved woodland

How to get to Stratfield Brake

Stratfield Brake is an 18.3-hectare (45.3-acre) site close to the southern edge of the village of Kidlington and just 5km (3 miles) north of Oxford. The Oxford Canal forms its western boundary and a footbridge links with the canal towpath.

The entrance to Stratfield Brake Sports Ground (signposted as such) is off the northbound carriageway of the A4260. The car park is to the left.

The nearest train station is the new Oxford Parkway, 4.8km (3 miles) away.

Visit National Rail for more information.

The nearest bus stop is at Sainsbury’s, a short distance from the wood.

Visit Traveline or Oxford Bus Company for more information.

Facilities and access

There are four entrances to the site. The main entrance is next to the car park at Stratfield Brake Sports Ground, where a surfaced path leads into the wood.

There is a network of 2.5km (1.5 miles) surfaced and unsurfaced paths in Stratfield Brake, which are level and have no width restrictions but can get muddy in wet weather. An information board at the entrance gives details of the routes.

Though parts of Stratfield Brake can be wet in the winter, there are 1.4km (0.9 miles) of hard-surfaced paths which provide all-weather access for wheelchairs and buggies throughout the year.

Currently, access is restricted to the mature woodland area in response to the presence of acute oak decline which affects native oak trees, leading in some cases to their death. This poses no threat to humans or animals, but it may be spread through movement of bacteria picked up on visitors’ shoes and clothing or by vehicles. Therefore, on the advice of Forest Research, we have temporarily closed Stratfield Brake’s mature woodland area to the public.

We apologise for any inconvenience the closure causes. If you have any queries, please contact us on 01476 581135.

There is a small car park on site which has a height barrier. It can accommodate 15 cars (the larger car park near the pavilion is for sports centre users only).

The nearest public toilets are 2km (1.2 miles) away at Watts Way car park, just off Kidlington’s High Street. There is a small charge. Disabled facilities are free to RADAR key users.

Wildlife and habitats

Animals

Stratfield Brake is an oasis for wildlife, especially birds. 96 different bird species have been recorded here, including both woodland and wetland species. Look out for the large rook colonies that have made Stratfield Brake their home for many years.

The wetlands provide the perfect conditions for dragonflies and water birds, and the mature woodland is a habitat for fungi, mosses, insects and bats.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

Stratfield Brake’s 2.5-hectare (6-acre) block of mature woodland is dominated by oak - some suffering from Acute oak decline. The remaining 7.5 hectares (18.5 acres) is young woodland planted to commemorate the millennium. As the new woodland develops further, the bluebells from the mature woodland will start to populate it.

The managed grassland has encouraged traditional meadow plants to grow and you can spot gorgeous wild flowers, such as the early marsh orchid.

Look out for:

Habitats

Stratfield Brake has a mixture of habitats, including mature and young woodland, open water and wet grassland. The new wet grassland area is part of a local cluster of wetlands which enables species to move between sites, creating ideal conditions for dragonflies, damselflies and wetland birds.

Explore:

About Stratfield Brake

History

We bought Stratfield Brake in 1997 as part of our ‘Woods on your Doorstep’ (WOYD) campaign, which marked the new millennium.

At the time, trees were planted with the help of local volunteers across around 6ha (15 acres) of land. Another 1.5ha (3.7 acres) were planted in 2012 during our Jubilee Woods campaign which celebrated the Queen’s 60th year on the throne.

This wetland area has since been extended and improved, with a mosaic of lakes, ditches, shallows and islands. The wetland area was designed for us by the Environment Agency. It was officially opened in June 2005 by the BBC Countryfile presenter Adam Henson.

Conservation and threats

The oaks here are suffering from a condition called Acute oak decline (AOD) and access to the mature woodland area is excluded, under advice from Forest Research. This exclusion limits possible spread of the condition via people, but it also allows the mature oaks to be used as a study area by scientists carrying out research into AOD.

Things to do in Stratfield Brake

Walking

Explore the network of paths at Stratfield Brake. One short loop of surfaced path leads to a bird-watching area overlooking the wetland, while other paths lead through the wood.

Download the site leaflet.

There are plenty of canal walks to extend your visit - visit the Canal and River Trust for more information.

Stratfield Brake - Management plan

Download

Stratfield Brake Management Plan

PDF  (145 KB)