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Langley Mead has been the subject of an ongoing project to restore agricultural land back into the biodiverse landscape that once existed here. The aim is to create an area that provides a visually stimulating, attractive and educational environment for local people to visit and to enjoy, as well as habitats for a range of wild plants and animals to contribute to visual interest, amenity and environmental conservation.

The site is managed by the University to maximise the benefits for both wildlife and people.

The Langley Mead SANG extension is currently being delivered in phases, due for completion in 2026.

Langley Mead SANG plan

Langley Mead SANG extension plan



Future plans

Because of the rich potential revealed by its past, Langley Mead is the subject of an ecological restoration project that aims to "turn back the clock"; to restore and make publicly accessible just over 18 hectares of the lost wildlife-rich landscape that once existed here.

Wildflower seed-rich green hay was obtained in 2013 from nearby surviving wildflower meadows at a Coronation Meadow site known as "Moor Copse". This was kindly offered by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT). The green hay has replenished the pasture fields at Langley Mead with the plant species that are likely to have once lived here. Former arable areas with higher nutrient levels have also been sown with wildflower seed mixes.

A painstaking process of surveying vegetation, assessing soil conditions and nutrient testing had to take place, so that plant communities at the donor site could be matched with suitable conditions at Langley Mead, so that their seeds could be taken to the right place.

Seeding the future

Translocating green hay to Langley Mead on such a large scale required the help of farmers.  Our agricultural partners used modern farm machinery and the agricultural expertise necessary to collect and move tonnes of hay at a time. Without the help of these farmers working in partnership with the ecologists, the objectives of the restoration would have been much harder to achieve.

Tractor gathering hay

In addition to the restoration of species-rich grassland, a new woodland has been planted in the area of the lost ancient woodland once known as "Costrill’s Coppice", and ancient field boundaries have been reinstated. This has involved the planting of thousands of new trees and hundreds of metres of native species-rich hedgerow. The historic line of pollarded willows has been reinstated, and gaps have been planted up with young trees to provide the next generation.

Herd of black cows grazing

Looking after the land

Wildflowers and native grasses have returned in abundance to Langley Mead and appear in new places.

The team now mimics the traditional management practices of the ancient past to ensure that these species remain and proliferate. A ranger helps to look after the site, promote its use as an educational and amenity resource for local people, and manage the grazing herd that is needed to restore and sustain a diverse grassland.

Visitors can learn about how a traditional landscape is influenced by the effects of the seasons, and watch as wildflowers and native grasses grow, flower, set seed, are cut and then grazed off as part of the annual cycle of a traditional English hay meadow. This helps people to reconnect with the rhythm of the countryside and the natural environment. Email us with any questions or feedback. 

Management plan for Langley Mead