Natural England - Aston Rowant NNR

Aston Rowant NNR

Aston Rowant NNR sits on the steep west-facing scarp of the Chilterns.

Adult and child at Aston Rowant NNR © Paul Keene

Where: Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire border. Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve sits on the north western scarp of the Chiltern Hills, within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

Main habitats: Flower-rich chalk grassland, Beech woodland, Juniper Scrub. Area: 159 Ha

Other Designations: The majority of this National Nature Reserve is also SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and SAC (Special Area of Conservation).

Why visit: Aston Rowant NNR is a visitor friendly site, and welcomes people of all ages from the local community and further afield, all year round. The reserve appeals to all the senses; from the visual spectacle of colourful butterflies, majestic red kites and stunning views, to the scent of wild herbs and the sound of bird song.

The reserve has something to offer for a range of visitors, including those seeking a family day out, educational school visit, a bracing walk or a peaceful day wildlife watching. Visitors looking to follow guided trails can enjoy the Talking Trail, starting in the beech woods, or the Nature Discovery Trail opposite the Cowleaze Wood Car Park.

Aston Rowant is a good example of what a National Nature Reserve should be, offering a good network of footpaths and information for visitors alongside spectacular biodiversity and a rich history. There are plenty of opportunities for you to find out more and get involved with making Aston Rowant NNR such a special place for people and wildlife.

Star Species: Birds, bugs and blooms are in abundance here at Aston Rowant NNR! The reserve is managed for key species and for biodiversity. Research and monitoring has long been important on the reserve and there is a very active volunteer team surveying the wildlife along with several long term research projects being carried out by professionals on the site.

Access: Aston Rowant NNR is an open access site, allowing visitors to choose their own routes around the site. We do however recommend keeping to the paths to avoid disturbance of wildlife and ask that you remember the Countryside Code, especially taking your litter home and leaving gates as you find them.The site is open to the public all year round free of charge.

Other nearby attractions and facilities: Aston Rowant NNR is located in the Chilterns AONB so there is a vast range of attractions nearby. If you are planning a visit to Aston Rowant NNR why not stay a little longer and discover what else there is to see and do in the area. The Choose the Chilterns Websiteexternal link makes it easy to find other local attractions, along with places to buy local produce for a picnic and places to stay if you are visiting from further afield.

Neighbouring sites of particular interest include Chinnor Hill, managed by BBOWT, Watlington Hill, managed by the National Trust, and Cowleaze Wood managed by the Forestry Commission.

Dog walking

Dog walking is allowed at Aston Rowant NNR but we do ask that visitors follow our “Responsible Dog Walkers Code:”

  • You must keep your dog on a short lead in fields where there are livestock. (Sheep and ponies.) These areas change throughout the year but are clearly labelled, look out for the green signs on gates. The animals are checked daily; please let us know if you witness any incident between a dog and livestock.

  • In all other parts of the site please keep your dog on lead or walking to heel to avoid disturbing wildlife, especially nesting birds.

  • Please don’t let your dog disturb other visitors, not everyone is confident around dogs.

  • Please clean up after your dog to avoid the spread of disease and nutrient enrichment of the soil. A bin can be found at the Cowleaze Wood car park.

Further information

For more information about the reserve please call 01844 351833.