Cherwell District Wildlife Sites

A habitat mapping case study about sites of local importance in the Cherwell district.

The request

Cherwell District Council required:

  • a robust and transparent system for selecting sites of local importance in its area - referred to as District Wildlife Sites (DWS)
  • an updated evidence base
  • assessment of proposed sites

What we did 

We carried out a project for Cherwell District Council in 2013. The project was desk-based and used:

  • information from local groups and experts
  • our datasets
  • knowledge of rejected and denotified local wildlife sites (LWS)

We recommended selection criteria for Cherwell District Wildlife Sites. The criteria are based on existing LWS criteria but with lower thresholds and requirements. The criteria also assess the local importance of sites for recreation and community use, placing more emphasis on connectivity.

Stratfield Brake Cherwell District Wildlife Site
Stratfield Brake Cherwell District Wildlife Site

Our findings

The 2013 project identified 63 sites of potential district importance for wildlife. 

We completed a series of projects for Cherwell District Council between 2015 and 2023 to:

  • develop site selection criteria
  • carry out surveys
  • process sites through an independent selection panel

These projects have resulted in the selection of 32 Cherwell district wildlife sites. 

The future

As of now, 28 out of the 32 proposed sites have not undergone recent surveys. Among these sites, some require additional species data before the selection panel can process them. To address this, we have planned additional surveys for the year 2024.