Ecology of the Triangle

March 2024 - Biodiversity Reports

The Biodiversity Reports can be viewed: here.


May 2023: Preliminary Ecological Appraisal Report

Future Nature WTC is Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust’s wholly-owned Ecological Consultancy.  It provides a comprehensive range of professional ecological and environmental services to clients including local authorities, commercial companies, utility and infrastructure providers and homeowners.

Future Network WTC carried out a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal on the Triangle for Friends of Stratfield Brake.  Here are some of the main findings:

  • Overall, the site supports habitats of elevated ecological value including dense / hawthorn scrub.
  • The adjacent woodland is of a high quality, and is considered to afford with the Priority Habitat designation [NERC], whilst several ancient woodland indicator species are present within the ground flora.
  • Such habitats confer a range of opportunities for protected and notable species, in particular for foraging, commuting and roosting bats, breeding birds, invertebrates and minor potential for amphibians, reptiles, badger and hedgehog. 

  • Any change in land use which increases human activity and reduces habitat area would have the potential to increase habitat fragmentation in the area, plus disturbance to habitats of elevated value and to notable / protected species which may use the site.
  • The site is situated within a number of SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) Impact Risk Zones, which are used to ‘to assess planning applications for likely impacts on SSSIs/SACs/SPAs & Ramsar sites (England)’. In particular the south west corner of the site is situated within a zone associated with Pixey and Yarnton Meads SSSI (which is also designated as Oxford Meadows Special Area of Conservation SAC).
  • The peripheral habitats primarily comprise dense scrub at the boundaries and an area of younger hawthorn scrub at the northern end of the site [where OUFC wants to put the publicly accessible space]. These habitats provide good opportunities for fauna and are of elevated ecological value in the site context, but also when considering they provide connectivity with offsite habitats in the local area. Accordingly they are considered to be of moderate value at the local level, and would be sensitive to any losses and / or disturbance (such as from littering, which already occurs at points close to the main roads) arising from a change in land use.
  • The adjacent offsite woodland is considered to be of elevated ecological value, and accords with the Priority Habitat ‘Lowland Mixed Deciduous Woodland’ designation….. The ground flora is relatively diverse and several indicators of ancient woodland are present including wood sedge, pendulous sedge, goldilocks buttercup and bluebell, whilst historic OS mapping indicates this area of woodland (and the wider Stratfield Brake Woodland Trust Reserve to the west) to have been present since at least 1898. Further detailed survey work would be required to confirm the likelihood of the habitat comprising ancient woodland. In any case, in line with current guidance, the habitat is considered to be of elevated ecological value up to the National Level. Any change in land use would have the potential to adversely impact on this habitat through increased recreational pressure, increase nutrient input from dog fouling and from other disturbance such as littering (already present within scrub near to the road), accidental damage, increased air- or water-borne pollutants and lighting (see fauna headings below).

We are very grateful to the donor who generously funded the cost of this report.


How can a stadium complex increase biodiversity on the Triangle?

Oxford United's stadium proposal would be required to increase biodiversity on the Triangle by 10%.  However, the documents published on the club's website do not include any assessment of the current level of biodiversity on the Triangle, nor give details of how it would be increased.  Proposed measures put forward by the club include implausible projects such as: unsuitable 'enhancements' to the woodland (which bizarrely include landscaped gardens); moveable planters; green roofs; and a publicly accessible green space which is unikely to provide any benefit to wildlife because of the high footfall.