Last night's evening talk at the Banbury Ornithological Society was all about our local amphibians, presented by Rod D'Ayala, one of our local "Herp" experts and enthusiasts, and co-ordinator of Ox-ARG. Oxfordshire still has good populations of our commoner amphibians and reptiles. The great-crested newt, a protected species, is actually quite widespread and doing well (though I have to admit I have not yet seen one locally myself.....but will now start looking!).
Sadly though the adder looks likely to have died out in Oxfordshire in very recent times. Rod does not know of any recent authentic records. Historical records are mostly from the south of the county, where there is more extensive heathland and woodland. So if you see a snake in the Banbury area you can be pretty sure it is a grass snake. That is a real shame but a situation unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. If you want to see an adder best to try Cannock Chase, Wyre Forest or Forest of Dean. If you haven't ever seen one do try, they are exciting to observe and very attractive.