Lye Valley Nature Reserve

Lye Valley is an important 4.5ha site, that has been credited with SSSI status due to its rare fenland and rare plants including the grass of Parnassus.

How to get there

The main postcode is OX3 7HP, although Lye Valley can be accessed by the main pathways in the surrounding area.

Access to the site is best by foot or cycle.

There are no car parking facilities on site.  


The Lye Brook, from which Lye Valley took its name, was once the centre of a large boggy area known by various names including 'Hogley Bog' and ‘Bullingdon Bog. It is a very rare environment:  a wet area, fed by lime-rich springs along the valley walls, It is home to many unusual plants that are adapted to this environment. 

Things to do

The North and South Fens provide opportunities to walk, sit and relax or to get hands-on and help protect the rare habitats. 

A boardwalk that snakes through the valley has improved access for all visitors.


We offer regular volunteering opportunities or working parties across Oxford. If you would like to find out more, visit our Volunteering page.

The Friends of Lye Valley welcome any volunteers who would like to work on restoring the habitats, removing alien species and helping to improve the watercourses within the Valley.

Wild Oxford Project

A partnership project between BBOWT and Oxford City Council with the aim of improving the three rare fenlands within Oxford. The project supports weekend volunteer sessions, as well as improving accessibility and education.  

The existing boardwalk has been extended and new interpretation boards have all been installed.


Lye Valley is a mix of: 

  • fen - best example of calcareous valley fen in Southern England 
  • woodland - with Willows, Blackthorn and Hawthorn
  • six ponds - all situated near to each other
  • reedbed
  • Lye Valley Brook - which dissects the north and south fens
  • natural springs 

The Friends of Lye Valley have undertaken numerous studies and surveys of the valley. For a detailed list visit the Friends of Lye Valley website.

Highlights include:

  • grass of Parnassus
  • southern marsh orchid
  • bog bean
  • marsh lousewort
  • yellow starry feather-moss
  • pale liverwort
  • brown hairstreak
  • solitary bee
  • glow worm 
  • crane fly 
  • scarlet tiger moth
Membership bodies

Rate this page