The Reserve.
Grid Ref. SP856263
Stewkley Wildlife Reserve is situated to the east of the village of Stewkley which is approximately 5 miles west of Leighton Buzzard. The geology is Chalky Till, overlying fine loam over clayey soils with slowly permeable subsoils - soil association (ASHLEY 572q). The altitude is 140M and the fields have a very slight southerly aspect with shallow ridge and furrow in evidence.

There is a Biological Notification Site 82N10 ( a green lane called Garners Lane) immediately to the north of one of the fields (Jackdaw Field) and 82N03 (a churchyard) to the west. The fields are surrounded by a mix of arable, pasture, short mown recreation fields and green lanes.

Surveyed in June 2005 by Matthew Dodds of Aylesbury Vale District Council's Green Spaces Dept. two of the fields, the more southerly one and Jackdaw Field abutting Garners Lane, were accorded County Wildlife Site status in 2005 due primarily to their botanical richness.
The fields were deemed interesting because they are very homogeneous in character most closely resembling National Vegetative Classification (NVC) M.G.5 Crested Dogtail (Cynosurus cristatus) - Lesser Knapweed (Centaurea nigra) grassland. There are also occasional patches within the fields more closely resembling MG6 Rye Grass (Lolium perenne) - Cynosurus cristatus grassland, and MG1 Oat grass (Arrhenatherum elatius) grassland which is probably due to slightly different localised conditions or management.

The more southerly field has shallow ridge and furrow running from east to west. The grasses in the sward consists largely of Red Fescue (Festuca rubra) Common Bent (Agrostis Capillaris), Crested Dog's-tail (Cynosurus cristatus), Sweet Vernal grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum), Yorkshire Fog (Holcus lanatus), Cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata), Meadow Barley (Hordeum secalinum), Smooth Meadow Grass (Poa pratensis) and Rough Meadow Grass (Poa trivialis), with occasional patches of Yellow Oat-grass (Trisetum flavescens). In the furrows species such as Tufted Hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa), Meadow Foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis) and Creeping Bent (Agrostis stolonifera) are more prevalent because of the wetter conditions.
The flowers are relatively abundant but not yet to the extent of top quality MG5 and some members of this community are under represented e.g. Lesser Knapweed. This is probably due to the developing nature of the grassland under this management regime i.e. it has not been managed as a hay crop with aftermath grazing for as long as some examples of this community (it was allotments until 1967). There is a surprisingly large amount of pignut (Conopodium majus) together with abundant Meadow Vetchling (Lathyus pratensis) Lady's Bedstraw ( Galium verum), Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) and Bird's-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus). Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris) is frequent and occasional to rare species of note include Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) Greater Bird's Foot Trefoil (Lotus pendunculatus), Field Woodrush (Luzula campestris), Cowslips (Primular veris) Cuckoo flower (Cardamine pratensis), Bulbous Buttercup (Ranunculus bulbosus), Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens), Lesser Stitchwort (Stellaria graminea) and Lesser Knapweed.

The more northerly field (Jackdaw) has an almost identical species list but differs slightly in composition. There is a slightly lower portion of flowers in the sword and a slightly lower number of species. However, there is a larger population of Lesser Knapweed and Cuckooflower. Jackdaw field has been a hay-meadow for many decades. These two fields were designated County Wildlife Sites (now called Local Wildlife Sites) in 2005. The other field, part of New Churchfurlong to the east of these two fields did not have the richness of flora to qualify for designation though with continued sympathetic and appropriate management it is hoped to achieve L.W.S. standard in time.
Since the survey of 2004 and qualification as C.W.S. improvements have been made under guidance from Aylesbury Vale District Council's Green Spaces Dept. including the widespread introduction of the native annual Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor) from a local source, to all three fields. The parasitic action of this plant upon the roots of other plants has resulted in a reduced vigour of the grasses to the benefit of the flowering species. Other species introduced from local sources or native seed stock include Bugle (Ajuga reptans), Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris), Devils-bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis), Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis), Sneezewort (Achillea millefolium) and Hoary Plantain (Plantago media). In 2008 patches of the fern Adders Tongue (Ophioglossum vulgatum) were discovered growing in all three fields. It is classified as a rare plant in Bucks. A total of over 60 species of plants have been recorded in the sword.
The hedgerows are predominately of hawthorn, buckthorn and elm, the latter reflecting the tree that dominated the hedgerows until Dutch Elm Disease eradicated the mature specimens in the early 1970s. A more diverse hedgerow on the western side of the southern field was planted as a boundary to the sports field in 1991 and contains over twenty-five different native trees and shrubs. During the autumn of 2007 and 2008 ninety-eight trees were planted around the field edges, mostly oak grown from acorn of Stewkley parish stock but also including hornbeam, field-maple, ash and alder. In January 2009 a hundred yards of new hedge was planted along the southern fenced boundary of the Old Church furlong field and contains over 500 plants of English stock with ten species represented, hawthorn, blackthorn, buckthorn hazel, guelder rose, field rose, dog rose, privet and dogwood.

Between April 2008 and March 2009 about two dozen bird nest-boxes have been made and erected on the mature trees in the wildlife reserve and three boxes as bat roosts positioned on a tree in the copse of New Churchfurlong. Two Composts composed of strawey horse manure have been created in the N.E. and S.W. corners of Jackdaw field to encourage the resident grass snakes to use them as nesting sites in which to incubate their eggs. Bird species recorded in the reserve include yellowhammers, linnet, green-finch, bullfinch, whitethroat, wren, song thrush, kestrel. green woodpecker, barn owl, little owl, various tits, redwing, and fieldfare. Butterflies that can expected to be seen during the appropriate season include large numbers of meadow brown, plus ringlet, gatekeeper, brimstone, small skipper, common blue and marbled white.

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