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) email@example.com or transfer to 20-65-18 a/c 93057402 with reference your e-mail. 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.
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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.
The work of the Friends has been described in articles in the Sprout local magazine: Sprout article Dec 2018 and Sprout article Oct 2019 (Stephen Parkinson).
Raleigh Park is located in the village of North Hinksey near Oxford ( Location map ) It 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 kites, roe deer, muntjac deer and foxes are frequent visitors while badgers, moles, song birds, rabbits and other rodents and bats are resident. A sparrowhawk and squirrels like to visit the bird feeder along with the song birds:
AGMThis year's AGM was on Thursday 12 September 2019 at the Pavilion, Arnolds Way.
Wild Oxford (Andy Gunn)
Chairman's AGM Report (Stephen Parkinson)
Wildflowers (Carol Kramer, Adam Bows)
Nestboxes (Clive Smith/Stephen Miller)
Butterfly AGM Report (Barbara Witkowski)
Butterfly surveys (Barbara Witkowski)
Badger Vaccination (Barbara Witkowski)
Freshwater Habitats Trust (Eleanor Mayhew)
Accessibility improvements (Michael Woods/Julian Cooper/Adam Bows)
There were around 20 Friends present who enjoyed the presentations and a glass of wine.
Butterfly surveys start in the spring when the butterflies start emerging. We do a leisurely walk round the park taking about 45 mins if the weather is suitable noting the butterfly species we encounter also looking at flora and the insects. Thanks to Ian Marriott for the wonderful photos.
BBOWT volunteer dates. Join the Wild Oxford volunteers do conservation management, currently clearing the overgrown fen at 10am Sat 15 February. Wear outdoor clothing and sturdy boots or wellies. Tools are provided along with a hot drink and biscuits. See the BBOWT page to check for updates.
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. We have received a Letter of Commendation from the Oxford Preservation Trust in recognition of these works which are the subject of an ongoing scientific study.
Judy Webb has completed excellent reports 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 and Greater Reed Mace 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.
David Mould of Milestone Environmental Ltd has submitted a proposal for a scoping study for a hydrology monitoring survey which includes 10 monitoring dipping wells, 3 of which would be automated and the other 7 monitored by the Friends and BBOWT, which provides good opportunity for Citizen Science and engaging the Friends in supporting the Park. The cost is £12k.
Cattle are currently out of the Raleigh Park until the spring. 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. The farmer has left them out of the Park this year as in previous years he received complaints from dog owners.
If cattle are present give them a wide berth. They do not like dogs so 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or let me know email@example.com; the farmer may be contacted on 07887 701 011.
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.
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.
The AGM agreed to join the No Expressway Alliance (NEA Facebook page www.facebook.com/NoExpresswayAlliance) at the 2018 AGM. Friends may become individual members also. Public consultations should take place in 2020; the NEA requests the public sign a petition and send a letter to Grant Shapps while the wildlife trusts request you sign a letter to the Prime Minister.