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Oaken Grove

Oaken Grove is an ancient beech wood and, like many in the Chilterns, is carpetted with bluebells every spring. However, what makes this wood special is a surprising annual migration that takes place through the wood.

Between February and April every year thousands of frogs and toads migrate through Oaken Grove from the surrounding area to a lake on the other side of the Henley-Marlow road. Frogs and toads are most active at dawn and dusk, especially on warm, damp nights. As the evening rush hour is at dusk in the spring, volunteers from the Henley Wildlife Group collect the animals from a special fence in the wood and take them across the road to safety to reduce the number killed by passing traffic. The toad migration through Oaken Grove is one of the largest assisted migrations in the country.

Common toad - image from RSPB website

Frogs and toads spend most of the year in terrestrial habitats (ie in woods, hedges, under logs) only requiring water to breed. Toads usually return to breed in their natal pond, which is why toad migrations are found across the country each spring.

The adults start their return migration in April and the froglets and toadlets move from the lake to the woods in July and August when dusk and dawn are in the middle of the night and traffic is lighter on the road.

Oaken Grove has another hidden secret - parts of the horror film Sleepy Hollow were filmed here at a temporary set.

Oaken Grove is a private wood and there is no public access, though the bluebells can be enjoyed from the road.

Access

Oaken Grove is a private wood and there is no public access, though the bluebells can be enjoyed from the road.

Grid Reference

SU765855

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