The Friends of Raleigh Park

Subscriptions for 2018

The Friends subscriptions are now due. Please send a 5 cheque payable to The Friends of Raleigh Park to the Membership Secretary at 20 Raleigh Park Road Oxford OX2 9AZ or contact Stephen Parkinson (Chairman) 01865 724525 or David Brown (Secretary) raleighpark@raleighpark.org.uk or transfer to 20-65-18 a/c 93057402 with reference your e-mail.

We comply with the General Data Protection Regulation. The data we hold is your email address and subscription; this data has not and will never be shared with anyone.

Objectives

The objectives of the Friends of Raleigh Park are to protect, conserve and enhance the Park, which is a Local Wildlife Site, for the benefit of the community.

Description

Raleigh Park is located in the village of North Hinksey near Oxford and contains lightly managed fields with three ponds linked by a stream, very unusual alkaline bog areas, trees, grasses, marestail, stately marsh thistle and wild flowers. Ridges from medieval strip farming are visible parallel to Westminster Way. Buzzards, red kytes, roe deer, muntjac deer and foxes are frequent visitors while badgers, moles, song birds, rabbits and other rodents are resident.

Events

Tue 12 June 2:00 - 3:30pm: Butterfly survey.

This is a walk round the park to record the butterflies seen. Meet at the bench by the Raleigh Park Road entrance near OX2 9AZ. Spotted at the first survey were Speckled Wood 7, Holly Blue 3, Peacock 2, Orange Tip 2, Large White 2, Green-veined White 1, Small Tortoiseshell 1. (see the Butterfly Conservation page. )

Saturday 16th June starting 10:00am: Visit to Lye Valley nature reserve.

A guided tour of this alkaline fen habitat led by Dr Judith Webb. Wear waterproof boots or wellies. Meet at the entrance to Lye Valley off The Slade, opposite Slade Close. It is very close to the Girdlestone Road Bus Stop (route 4A, take the 09:08am bus from Laburnum Road). (see the Friends of Lye Valley page. )

Cattle in the Park

Cattle are currently in the field above Raleigh Park having been moved down into the park then moved back again. In previous years cattle grazed the Park all summer. They were there to reduce the rank grass and nettles and encourage the development of wild flowers. If left uncut the brambly thorny growth and trees will increase and the park will become entirely scrubby woodland.

If cattle are present give them a wide berth and do not make eye contact. It is advisable to keep dogs well under control and preferably out of sight of the cattle particularly towards dusk as they become frisky before bedding down for the night. If there are any issues please contact the Parks Dept parks@oxford.gov.uk or let me know raleighpark@raleighpark.org.uk; the farmer may be contacted on 07887 701 011.

Conservation Management

Judy Webb has completed an excellent report with a list of recommendations for future workparties in the Park.

Willows overgrowing the pond have been thinned, vegetation overgrowing the stream removed, a waterfall rebuilt and removal of Himalayan Balsam from boggy areas, parrot's feather from the pond and new bramble growth on the fen areas by the stream is ongoing. Yellow Rattle wild flower seeds have been collected and sown in late autumn to weaken the coarse grasses.

Wild Oxford in Raleigh Park

Oxford City Councils Countryside Team are working in partnership with the Friends of Raleigh Park and BBOWT to carry out works to improve the habitat and open up the views of the City from areas of the Park.

Roman road

There is what is believed to be the remains of the Roman road towards the ford which gives Oxford its name from the direction of Besselsleigh running parallel to the current road up Harcourt Hill. The outline of the raised metalled section with a ditch each side is clearly evident under the turf in winter or when the grass has been cut.

Mystery Obelisk

There is a small oblelisk near the pond. The sun is shining revealing the date 1753 in the picture (click on the picture to enlarge it) and placing plasticine in the depressions reveals more of the inscription, probably "the Conduit". Conduit House (marked Well House) had been constructed over a spring to supply Oxford with water in 1615-17 and is within a kilometer of the obelisk (marked Stones on the OS map). The obelisk presumably marked the location of a chamber holding water for an extension to a channel or vaulted gully diverting a spring to Conduit House.

A cutting and embankment constructed to smooth the slope of a track linking Harcourt Hill to the track between North Hinksey and Yarnells Hill is shown on the map of the land handed over to the City of Oxford in 1926 and its construction has covered this channel on the obelisk side or the embankment.

A curved depression leading towards Conduit House visible on the other side of the embankment from the obelisk supports this interpretation of the writing on the obelisk. There is a small standing stone in the hedge around 50m away which might have been another marker.

Last Talk: Emily Seccombe described the Oxford Swift City project.

The swift city project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and is working to raise awareness of swift conservation and encourage people to take practical actions to benefit swifts in Oxford.

Swifts are urban birds with a long cultural connection to Oxford and arrive back from their migration from April onwards, but are in serious decline in the UK. This may be due to a loss of nest spaces in urban areas - this is why they need the help of Oxford residents. The project is working to inspire and support people to survey for nesting and foraging swifts, and to protect and create nest spaces.

The Friends will be able to help record sightings of swifts nesting in their homes or foraging in the natural areas around Oxford, as well as take practical actions such as installing swift bricks or boxes - Clive Smith has already made some homes for discerning swifts for installation under the eaves of houses.

Some refreshments were provided to a good turnout of members.

Boxing Day Walk with refreshments 2017

Preparations for the walk.

The Boxing Day Walk was well attended this year. Participants were fortified with mince pies, home made Christmas cake and mulled wine then enjoyed a rather slippery walk round the park when objects of interest such as the badger sett and the Roman road were pointed out.

Radio Oxford 1st November 2017

Adam Bows representing The Friends of Raleigh Park, Julian Cooper Oxford Parks Dept. and Andy Gunn BBOWT were interviewed in the Park by Radio Oxford at breakfast time on 1st November.

AGM 2017

The Friends of Raleigh Park AGM was held on 14 September 2017 at the Pavilion, Lime Road.

Bob Cowley was the speaker. He outlined what has been achieved by the Friends of the Trap Grounds in the last 20 years, illustrated by a selection of excellent wildlife photos.

The Chairman outlined the progress made this year and introduced the BBOWT presentation.

Clive Smith put up nest boxes in the Park in the spring and Stephen Miller recorded the outcomes. The recording was done every 5-14 days through the nesting season following the BTO procedure. The nestboxes were well utilised by bluetits.

The excellent cakes provided were baked by Branches Young People's Support Service.

The AGM elected Adam Bows to the Committee. If you are interested in taking an active role in the Friends, please come forward. The Chair and Secretary will be happy to discuss what is involved. We can reassure you that we will not expect you to take on any committee roles immediately.

Previous talks

Talks in March 2017 were by Clive Smith and Andy Gunn (BBOWT).

Clive Smith: Bird Boxes and the BTO recording protocol (Clive Smith's slides) .

Andy Gunn: Wild Oxford and Raleigh Park (Andy Gunn's slides) .

The 2016 AGM was held in the Louis Memorial Pavilion. There was a presentation by Susan Cassetari and Jenny Miller (Forest School Leaders, North Hinksey Primary School) on Forest School Learning and Julian Cooper (Parks Dept) outlined his plans for Raleigh Park.

Prof Riki Therivel gave a fascinating talk in March 2016 on woodland management describing her work in turning a 10 acre field on Hinksey Hill into a woodlot and a wildflower meadow.

In September 2015 the noted local historian Malcolm Graham gave a well researched and very interesting presentation on the history of the Oxford water supply.

Previously Gerald Dawe gave a presentation on the botanical and other environmental changes in Raleigh Park since his survey in 1996.

25 Oct 2012
raleighpark@raleighpark.org.uk