Historic Otmoor

Hi All. I am very interested in Otmoor. I remember going there with my father as a young boy in the mid 1960s, all I remember is long grass and sedges and listening to Grasshopper warblers. The RSPB has done a fantastic job of recreating the marshland. I know historically this was a large inland grazing marsh. Please can you tell me before the marsh was enclosed and drained was there standing - lakes or pools as we see today during the Summer. I know the area once always flooded in the winter. I also know the area was drained in the mid 19th century, but are there any historic photographs of this wonderful area. If there are I would truly love to see them. Kind Regards Peter.
  • I have seen the accounts of some of the bird species that used you to occur on Otmoor and guess it was larger and wetter than today with a mixture of very wet meadows and large areas of pure fen, hence one of the villages lying to the north called Fencott. I spent the day here yesterday, mainly looking for Brown Hairstreaks to photograph on the Roman road, but the few that were seen were high up in the Ashes. Once the red flag came down, I crossed the moor by way of the Roman road. I guess in the 19th century you could actually walk along the road, which today is covered with scrub. Perhaps the only dry-shod way across Otmoor during those far off days. Peter  

  • As a young birder in the 1970s this was my local patch. It was mostly large arable fields with a marshy area and sometimes some standing water in the middle. I was out there one day when I didn't notice the red flags going up and much to my horror heard several rifle rounds passing overhead! I took cover in terror behind a solitary tree. When the threat of the motorway loomed large, along with many others, I bought a metre square of Alice's field to save this special place. I have yet to visit it in 40 years but it looks like the RSPB has done a wonderful job.