Winter 2021-22

Indoor meetings are held on the first Friday of each month from October to May in the Methodist Church, Witney. Please use the rear entrance from Woolgate (Waitrose) car park in Witan Way.

A printable version of the programme can be downloaded here.

The meetings in March, April and May 2022 will be in in the Lower Hall of the Methodist Church, Witney

Talks and outdoor meetings are free to members and £3 for visitors.

In the event of further Covid restrictions on indoor meetings the talks will be given by Zoom and connection details emailed to members.

If you intend to come to an indoor meeting please respect current Covid-19 guidance and do not come if you have any symptoms. We would prefer you to wear face coverings. Some windows and doors in the hall will be open to ensure good ventilation – please wrap up warm!

For more information on outdoor meetings, to indicate that you will be coming, or to book if required, please email or use the form on the Contact Us page.

Friday 1 October 2021 7:15 for 7:30 pm
Indoor Meeting
Grassland Fungi
Peter Creed
Peter is an expert naturalist and has written a variety of guides including ones on finding fungi, orchids, mosses, butterflies etc. in the Berkshire Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire areas. He has his own natural history publishing company (Pisces Publications) and is an excellent photographer. He is leading the Club’s fungus foray on Sunday 31st October.
Sunday 3 October 2021 10:30 am
Geology Walk
Dry Sandford Pit, Cothill, OX13 6JW
Leader: Lesley Dunlop
Dry Sandford is a geological SSSI displaying sand and limestone sequences laid down in a warm shallow sea about 160 million years ago.  1920s and 1930s quarrying for sand and limestone exposed the sequences of sedimentary rocks seen today.  There are often many fossilised remains to be found in the main quarry face. Due to the varying nature of the bedrock it also provides excellent habitat variation for present day flora and fauna. The walk will take us around the site with an opportunity to look at the different features.
Parking is limited; car share if possible
Map reference: SU467997
Please let Jonathan Noel know if you are coming at or use the contact us form.
Sunday 31 October 2021 10:30 am
Fungus Foray
Jarn Mound, Boars Hill, Oxford
Leader: Peter Creed
Parking is along Berkeley Road Boars Hill (the site is also sometimes referred to as being in Foxcombe Hill) Oxford. Sat nav OX1 5ET. From Witney go via Cumnor and then the B4017. Take the first left turn after Wootton called Fox Lane and then after just under a mile turn left into Berkekley Road.
Map reference: SP493020
Please let Jonathan Noel know if you are coming at or use the contact us form.
Friday 5 November 2021 7:15 for 7:30 pm
Indoor Meeting
Dr Tim King
Seething Soils
The local value of yellow meadow ants as engineers, farmers and conservationists
Dr Tim King is a Grassland Ecologist and an author with wide-ranging biological interests. Tim will tell us how yellow meadow ants act as ecological engineers and their importance as soil animals for plant and species richness and distribution patterns. Tim has studied the ant-hills at Aston Rowant NNR Watlington and hopefully he will be able to lead the club on a walk there next summer. 
Tim has written a popular science book ‘Could an ant ride a bicycle?’. In 2013 he made a 5 minute appearance on The One Show helping George McGavin (entomologist) explain the ecology of ant-hills on the Porton ranges at Salisbury Plain. 
Sunday 7 November 2021 10:00 am
Visit to Gibbets Close Farm
The Wychwood Forest Trust has recently acquired the Gibbets Close Farm site, on the east side of Witney. It is currently agricultural grazing land which has been benignly treated by hay-cropping followed by grazing for several decades. It has plenty of maturing trees in hedgerows and is close to Eynsham Hall woodland, so there should be a good local seed source and hence, it could be an ideal candidate for natural regeneration and rewilding.
Leader: Neil Clennell
Map reference SP368098
To find the site, head north out of Witney up Oxford Hill. Just after the traffic lights there is a turning left into a yard – almost opposite the cemetery. Sat Nav reference is OX29 6UT. The entrance to Gibbets Close Farm is the second entrance once you have driven through the traffic lights. There is a 5 bar gate which will be open for access by 10am.
There is limited parking in the yard so please car share if at all possible.
There is some rough ground, uneven in places, so suitable footwear is recommended as it’s likely to be wet.
If you would like to come along, please email Julia Reid:
Friday 3 December 2021 7:15 for 7:30 pm
Indoor Meeting
Andy Warren
Ethiopia – endemic birds and wildlife in the Horn of Africa
Andy Warren is an accomplished wildlife photographer and has given talks on birds and wildlife from many parts of the world.
Andy is also an experienced ecologist, tree surgeon and arboriculturist. From 1982 he was actively involved in managing nature and the landscape working for conservation organizations, local authorities and industry. He established Cotswold Wildlife Surveys in 2005 and provides ecological surveys and reports. 
Monday 6 December 2021 2:00 pm
Tour of the Entomology Department
Natural History Museum Oxford
The tour typically includes viewing examples of British insects as well as learning about the collections and 19th Century collectors. The tour leader will also discuss the historical value of collections and data using examples of extinct/rare insects from the Dale collection. He will also refer to modern uses of collections including biodiversity research and DNA coding.

The tour will last approximately one hour. You may then wish to enjoy the museum collections in your own time after the tour.
Please note that face coverings will be required at all times whilst in the department.
Meet at the main entrance to the Museum of Natural History, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PW at 1:50 pm.  
Parking is always difficult in Oxford, so Park and Ride is recommended. The bus stops in George Street from which it is a 10/15 minute walk to the Museum.
Numbers limited and booking is essential
Email (07703 552309) or use the Contact Us form
Friday 14 January 2022 7:15 for 7:30 pm
Regrettably, Members’ Night has been cancelled. It will be replaced with a Zoom talk at the same time:
Dr Ian Bedford
The Trouble Without Wasps
Dr Ian Bedford is a research entomologist who ran the Entomology Department at the John Innes centre in Norwich until his retirement. He will tell us why wasps are of an immense value and the trouble we’d be in without them. More details are here.
Zoom connection details will be emailed to members.
Sunday 16 January 2022
CANCELLED due to Covid
Visit to
Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge
Joint with Oxford RSPB group
Possibility of travelling by coach from Burford. Coach will pick up at 8.30 at the lay-by just before the Burford roundabout; fare approximately £20.
Pay by cash or cheque on the day.
Those who wish to self-drive meet in Slimbridge car park at 10am.
Entry charges apply for non-WWT members.
Members should contact Reg Cox directly to book. 01865 761402 (
Friday 4 February 2022 7:15 for 7:30 pm
This talk will be given via Zoom.
Details will be emailed to members.
John Tyler
The Forgotten River
The wildlife and history of the River Thame from source to mouth.
John Tyler is well-known to the club and an expert on glowworms!
Thursday 17 February 2022 6:00 pm
CANCELLED due to COVID restrictions
Visit to Oxford University Herbaria
Details TBC
Numbers limited and booking essential
Email or use the Contact Us form
Friday 4 March 2022 7:15 for 7:30 pm
Annual General Meeting
followed by
Philip Mugridge
Galapagos – our voyage aboard the Beagle
Sunday 27 March 2022 10:30 am
Circular Walk through Whitehill Wood near Stonesfield to see mosses, lichens and spring flowers including Yellow Star of Bethlehem
Leader: Peter Creed
Park by side of road at Ashford Bridge
Map ref: SP386155
Friday 1 April 2022 7:15 for 7:30 pm
Indoor Meeting
Jessica Turner
The Canary Islands, Part 2. Looking at the plants of the islands of Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and La Palma
Jessica Turner studied botany at Cambridge and has been involved in a variety of botanical surveys for the National Trust and a local wildlife trust. Plants, together with birds and butterflies, and other aspects of natural history are her passion. She loves sharing her enthusiasms and, since 2007, travels with Naturetrek as a tour guide. Jessica has given several fascinating and informative talks to the Field Club in recent years.
Sunday 10 April 2022 10:30 am
Greenham Common
Leader: Neil Clennell
Neil Clennell from the Wychwood Forest Trust will lead a walk around Greenham Common where we will look specifically for reptiles, particularly adders. Other wildlife should also be seen.
As weather is unpredictable, please bring suitable clothing and sensible footwear in case of adders. Depending on rainfall, the ground may be slippery and muddy. There are also brambles, which are easy to trip over.
Please let Jonathan ( or Julia ( know if you would like to come along, or use the Contact Us form.
Sunday 1 May 2022
4:00 am
Dawn Chorus Walk
A slow walk of two to three miles to hear the birds wake up and start singing. We hope to hear or see 40 to 50 species.
Leader: Adrian State
Meet at car park at top of lane leading to Minster Lovell ruins; wrap up well – it can be very cold early in the morning!
Map reference: SP322113

For events May to October 2022 see the Summer 2022 page.