A POPULAR nature reserve where drivers were parking 'sporadically' has had its car park refurbished.

Oxford Direct Services has completed work at the Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve in the Chiltern Hills, near Lewknor.

The ODS Highways team helped redesign, resurface and improve drainage at the existing nature reserve car park and helped create a new, small car parking area.

It is intended to improve safety and order in an area that was being used for unauthorised, sporadic parking and improve the experience for those visiting the site.

Oliver Hearn, highways manager at ODS, said: “Our team’s experience working in heritage areas around Oxford, as well the expertise available within the wider ODS group on environmental and conservation issues placed us in an excellent position to carry out the Aston Rowant works, and other similar sensitive projects.”

Known for its rare flowers and wildlife, the Aston Rowant reserve is an area of outstanding natural beauty and a site of special scientific interest.

It hosts a nationally important habitat of chalk grassland, home to flowers including rare orchids and the Chiltern gentian.

Alistair Helliwell, national nature reserve area senior adviser, said it was important to find a contractor who understood the sensitivities of working in an area of scientific importance.

He added: "During both the planning and the work itself, we were able to engage with the team, seek their engineering advice and agree the best way forward.”