Ponds at Little Wittenham Woods are within a protected area managed by Oxfordshire charity Earth Trust.
The ponds and woodland are a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) as they support an important large population of Great Crested Newts Triturus cristatus. Although Great Crested Newts are found all across the Thames region, usually outside of the built up urban and suburban areas, the population at Little Wittenham was at one time one of the largest in the Thames. Ongoing research and monitoring into the Great Crested Newt population also makes this site special.
Of the four ponds within Little Wittenham Woods one was historically stocked with fish. Through the Flagship Ponds project, in partnership with Earth Trust, we have contributed funding and expertise, working with specialist contractors and volunteers to drain down the large pond, electro-fish, remove and then re-home the fish, most of which were non-native Carp. This will now provide fish-free habitat which is essential for most amphibians and provide additional breeding ponds for this protected species.
The site has also been used for training PondNet volunteers; amphibian survey techniques sessions were held in 2016 and 2017 which provided local volunteers with the skills to undertake their own surveys for Frogs, Toads and Great Crested Newts. The People, Ponds and Water project also funded equipment for Earth Trust – nets, trays and ID guides will be useful for volunteers when monitoring this important site into the future.
Accessibility: Some Flagship Pond sites are accessible to the public, and some are not. If in doubt, consult maps for rights of way, look online for site information, or contact the site manager, and follow any instructions on site. It is up to you to check whether you require permission to visit and access the ponds on a site.
Site owners/managers: Earth Trust