ANCIENT woodland near Oxford has had to be closed due to the large number of people trying to visit the beauty spot this weekend.

Wytham Woods was shut to the public on Sunday with a note on its website yesterday stating the decision had been made with 'much regret'.

It added: "We are of course devastated to have to close at this time, but the health and wellbeing of our visitors and staff have to be our top priority.

"Having observed the numbers visiting yesterday, it is clear that social distancing guidelines cannot be maintained.

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"We hope that, alongside the rest of the country, the harder we work now, the sooner we will be able to resume normal life."

Wytham Woods is an ancient semi-natural woodland, which has been owned and maintained by Oxford University since 1942.

Its 1,000 acres are a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and are one of the most researched pieces of woodland in the world, with more than 500 species of plants, and 800 species of butterflies and moths.