For an approximate location map, click here.

"Shotover" for the purposes of this description may be seen as the entire geological entity east of Oxford and bounded by the Wheatley/Horspath/Cowley road, Magdalen Wood, the Eastern Bypass and A40. Of particular interest is the Country Park (and SSSI) encompassing the Brasenose Wood, Slade Camp, Magdalen Wood (east) and Shotover Hill (southern slopes); but varied habitat occurs elsewhere, notably the parkland of the Shotover Estate, the fields on the lower slopes of the hill and the C.S.Lewis Reserve (BBOWT). The area is covered by OS Explorer 180. A book specific to this areas, and jointly published by OOS and Shotover Wildlife, is now out of print but still available from local libraries (The Birds of Shotover by Whitehead,T., Wright, I. & Gosler, A.: 2003).


The main car park is at the western end of Shotover Plain (SP564063) reached via Old Road, Headington; and there is a permissory path starting adjacent to the Thornhill Park & Ride (SP564074) (bus 400). There are many public access points to the hill and other useful bus routes include 103/104 (not Sunday) running along the south and east; 280 and U1 (along the north and east); and 9 and 10 (west).

Access to the C.S.Lewis Reserve is from Lewis Close, Risinghurst.

The Country Park and Brasenose Wood and the C.S.Lewis Reserve have full public access, but other areas are privately owned and access is by public rights of way only.

Shotover Hill (southern slopes), (SP565058): habitat is varied with heath, scrub and acid grassland; additionally, numerous springs provide areas of acid marshland; there are numerous hedges, some very ancient.

Brasenose Wood (SP560053): has been maintained as oak woodland with hazel coppice for hundreds of years.

Magdalen Wood (east) (SP558058): is a small unmanaged oak woodland.

C.S.Lewis Reserve (SP560066): an old brick working with a small shaded lake and mixed woodland on steep ground.

Shotover Estate (SP582064): largely parkland, with copses and a substantial ornamental lake.

Resident: All three British woodpeckers occur here, Green Woodpeckers and Great Spotted Woodpeckers in substantial numbers; Little and Tawny Owls; Sparrowhawks, Red Kites, Buzzards and Kestrels; Marsh Tits and (now rare) Willow Tits (try Brasenose Wood); Nuthatches.

Winter: Winter thrushes and winter finches; Goldcrests.

Summer: Blackcaps, Garden Warblers, Whitethroats and other warblers, including Lesser Whitethroats (try the hedges near Brasenose Wood); Spotted Flycatchers (try near the Lake), Cuckoos.

Spring/Autumn: With varied habitat almost anything is possible. In recent years, observations have included Wood Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Turtle Dove, Nightingale, Wheatear and flocks of Meadow Pipits.

Waterperry Gardens, Bernwood Forest, Otmoor.

Toni Whitehead and Ivan Wright