AS an amateur naturalist growing up in Wantage I thought I knew all the nature reserves in southern Oxfordshire.

But it wasn't until a news story brought it to my attention that I first visited Cothill Pit.

In 2014, locals in and around Cothill, just north of Marcham, were up in arms over a plan to build 14 "Finnish-style" log cabins on a green meadow just south of the reserve which is beloved of dog walkers and frequently used to access the reserve.

The company eventually withdrew its planning application and a few months later I popped along myself and discovered some of the hidden secrets of Cothill Pit and the charming little meadow next to it.

It turned out to be a haven for bluebells and other wildflowers, deer, rabbits and one of my favourite insects, the great green bush cricket.

The meadow would be a picturesque spot to have a log cabin holiday home, but I think it's probably even better without.