Wild Banbury

Wild Banbury is a fascinating project that invites townspeople to engage with nature and make Banbury a greener, healthier and wilder place.
It’s three main sites – Spiceball Park, Hanwell Brook Wetlands and the Mineral Railway – are special places that offer natural and essential homes for wildlife in a fast-growing and busy urban area.
Wild Banbury is an ongoing partnership between Banbury Town Council, BBOWT (Berks, Bucks, Oxon Wildlife Trust) and local volunteers.
It began in 2015 in Spiceball Park and expanded into other areas as enthusiasm and the number of volunteers grew.
The project brings people together. BBOWT says it encourages social engagement, promotes active lifestyles, and stimulates the wellbeing that comes from close contact with the natural word.
Organisers say that improving the town for nature brings the benefits of a healthy natural world into everyone’s lives.
Wild Banbury is a valuable contribution to tackling climate change. Planting and maintaining trees, hedgerows and flowers aligns with Banbury Town Council’s stated commitment to reduce the town’s carbon footprint.


For more information on Wild Banbury please visit the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust website by clicking here.

Spiceball Park

Conservation volunteers have ensured that habitats and wildlife-spotting opportunities exist in the heart of Banbury. 

Park visitors can see kingfishers along the river and birds such as sparrowhawks and bullfinches in the woodland areas. Bees, butterflies and other pollinators can be found in the wildflower meadow and wetland scrape. Mammals including weasels occupy the long grass.
In 2015 a river survey discovered a wider variety of fish than was expected and this initiated the trimming back of riverside trees and bushes to allow more light into the water which encouraged an even greater variety of fish. Present day volunteers and park rangers continue to keep the riverbanks open.
Hanwell Brook Wetland

The Wetlands are the ideal place find birds, dragonflies, damselflies, frogs and toads.

This site has a rich assortment of habitats including pond, open wetland, reedbed, scrub, and old willow pollards which stand along the bank of the brook.
Volunteers manage the balance between trees, scrub and open ground to maximise opportunities for wildlife. This is achieved by coppicing and pollarding the willows, cutting back suckers, and controlling excess reed growth and brambles. Scything the open areas in autumn encourages a wonderful range of flowers to flourish such as bugle, meadowsweet and greater bird’s-foot trefoil.
The Mineral Railway Walk

This is the route of a former railway track that runs east to west across north Banbury. It transported ironstone from quarries beyond Wroxton to the main railway line but closed to trains in 1967.

The Beaumont Close section of the railway is an ideal place to spot butterflies, day moths, grasshoppers, crickets, and urban foxes. Green woodpeckers might be seen feasting on ants in one of the glades. Volunteers control the scrub and restore grass areas which encourages wildflowers and opens up the corridor to a wealth of amazing creatures.