|Quarrendon Leas is an area of fields and riverside meadows next to the River Thame, with hedgerows, trees and watercourses.|
The meadows (‘leas’) that we see today include some areas that have been grazed by sheep since Tudor times, while the river flood plain historically has provided rich grazing land for cattle. The fields, hedgerows and watercourses today provide habitats for a variety of species.
Birds include the skylark, song thrush, linnet, yellowhammer, green woodpecker, buzzard and red kite. Along the river if you're lucky you may glimpse a kingfisher, or a cormorant perched in a tree. Fieldfares and redwings can be seen in winter.
Water voles have been seen along the river and great crested newts in the moat.
Rare black poplar trees grow along the edges of the watercourses. The tall perennial Good King Henry plant is quite plentiful on the site. This green leafy plant, related to spinach, used to be grown in cottage gardens for hundreds of years as a vegetable but is now much less common.
The Trust is planning to upgrade the site as an ecological habitat, building on its historic land use.
Yellowhammer (credit Tim Felce)