National Character Area 109

Midvale Ridge - Key Characteristics

  • Low, irregular wooded limestone ridge giving way to a series of isolated steep-sided tabular hills in the east which rise from the surrounding clay vales.

  • Contrast between the moderately elevated limestone hills and ridges and the surrounding low-lying clay vales.

  • Drained mostly by small springs and streams which run into the Thames, Thame and Ock.

  • Well wooded – a third of the woodland is designated ancient woodland.

  • Mixed pastoral and arable landscape with large, geometric fields divided by hedges and regularly spaced hedgerow trees punctuated by blocks of woodland.

  • Fragmented but rare and important semi-natural habitats, including acid grassland, calcareous fens and flushes, wet woodland and calcareous grass heaths particularly around Frilford and Cothill.

  • Evidence of previous land use such as iron-age and Romano-British settlements and ridge and furrow through to old quarries still visible in the landscape.

  • Locally quarried limestone commonly used as building material for local houses.

  • Settlement pattern of nucleated villages on the hill tops and along the springline with low density of dispersed settlement.

  • Recreational opportunities include the Thames Path National Trail.