Oxwich nature reserve


Oxwich nature reserve

This reserve includes several different types of habitat in a relatively compact area. There are sand dunes, saltmarsh, freshwater lakes and limestone cliffs. A result of this variety is that 600 species of plant have been recorded on the reserve, including wych elm, stinking helleborine, dune gentian and rock whitebeam. The woodlands on the limestone slopes are dominated by ash and oak. Orchids flower in the dune slacks in spring and early summer.

Birds to look out for include Cetti’s warbler, reed warbler and sedge warbler. Bittern, an elusive bird, has returned to Oxwich after a long absence. In winter, wildfowl such as teal and gadwall can be seen at Oxwich. Rare insects here include Cepero’s groundhopper (similar to a grasshopper), hairy dragonfly and the “beachcomber” beetle Nebria complanata, which forages along the high-tide mark.

The area is designated a National Nature Reserve and managed by Natural Resources Wales.

According to Prof Hywel Wyn Owen, Oxwich is an Old English (or Anglo-Saxon) name meaning “ox farm”, a farm which specialised in rearing oxen. The name is first recorded 1176. There is an Oxwick in Norfolk.

With thanks to Prof Hywel Wyn Owen, of the Welsh Place-Name Society

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Oxwich reserve on NRW website

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