The Lower Windrush Valley Project (LWVP) is supported by Oxfordshire County Council, West Oxfordshire District Council, Smiths (Bletchington) and the Environment Agency. The Project helps to manage two nature reserves restored from gravel workings and works with local landowners and communities to improve access, biodiversity and landscape in the valley. The reserve has a variety of habitats: lakes with gently sloping banks, extensive gravel beaches and shallow areas that attract ducks and waders; islands that provide refuges and safe nesting sites and reed beds that attract smaller birds.

Rushy Common Nature Reserve was created following mineral extraction. Access to its bird hide is controlled – a key can be purchased – but the lake can also be viewed from the car park and from the footpath to Tar Lakes, a more open amenity area, through the screening shrubs. Rushy Common and Tar Lakes are found to the south east of Witney, on Cogges Lane, a single track road that runs from Cogges to Stanton Harcourt. The car park at Rushy Common has space for roughly 20 cars and is open at all times. A height barrier restricts vehicles over 2.1 metres. There are two parking spaces designated for use by disabled visitors.

Access to Standlake Common Nature Reserve, southwest of Standlake, is on foot via the Windrush Path from Standlake or Newbridge.  As well as similar habitat to Rushy Common, there is also a traditional hay meadow, grazed by sheep after the hay is cut in late summer. Boundary hedgerows and willow and hawthorn scrub provide cover for small birds and mammals. More than 150 bird species have been recorded, many of them successful breeding records. Public access is not permitted on the reserve itself but the whole site can be viewed from its two hides, for which keys may be purchased.

Location

Postcode: OX29 5AN

Latitude / Longitude: 51.7640445, -1.4495879

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