The Friends of Raleigh Park

Subscriptions for 2020-21

The Friends subscriptions of 5 per person are now due for the year 2020 - 2021. Please preferably make a standing order to 20-65-18 a/c 93057402 to Friends of Raleigh Park with reference your name or send a cheque to the Membership Secretary at 20 Raleigh Park Road Oxford OX2 9AZ or contact Stephen Parkinson (Chairman) 01865 724525 or David Brown (Secretary) [email protected]

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 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.

Dates for your calendar:

Workparty volunteer dates. We join the Wild Oxford volunteers doing conservation management clearing the overgrown fen. A socially distanced task is planned next Monday, 26th April at 10:00am. This will involve pruning last years shoots from a number of willow and alder stumps growing in the fen which we don't want to get out of control, shading and dehydrating the fen. We will meet on the fen near the pond at 10:00am. The task will be led by Adam Bows and Richard Newton and will be covered by BBOWT insurance as usual. Wear outdoor clothing and sturdy boots or wellies. It would be helpful if you could bring a tool such as loppers. See the BBOWT page to check for updates; contact [email protected] to be placed on their mailing list.


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.


Works to rewet the fen downstream of the pond have been successful and should benefit the wild flowers and wildlife.

The Oxford Theatre Guild filmed the Forest of Arden scenes in Shakespeare's "As you like it" in the Park in summer 2020.

The Chairman and the City among many others have responded in full to a planning application for the building of houses next to and in the catchment area of Raleigh Park in a position below the level of the main sewer. The position of the proposed development can be seen on the Google Earth flyover of Raleigh Park.


Natural England have granted the badger vaccination licence for Raleigh park to the Oxfordshire Badger Group (OBG).

OBG is taking part in a 'badger found dead' study with the Animal and Plant Agency. They will be collecting dead badgers, mainly from the roadside. If you see any dead badgers please email the location to [email protected]

AGM Thursday 24 September 2020 (by Zoom)

The Chairman's Report and a report on Wild Oxford were given by Stephen Parkinson. Adam Bows reported on the increase in wild flowers this year. and Carol Kramer reported the success of spreading ox-eye daisy seed and planting wildflowers such as wild liquorice raised from seed.

Clive Smith gave the nest box report.

The work of the Oxford Badger Group on badger vaccination was received from Barbara Witkowski. Julian Cooper reported that there would be no badger cull on City land.

A full report from the Freshwater Habitats Trust was received from Eleanor Mayhew. The range of mammals and birds at various sites including the Park was identified by their environmental DNA signatures.

An application for funding for accessibility improvements by Adam Bows with Michael Woods (Parks Support Officer) providing the information and planning required to TOE (Trust for Oxfordshire?s Environment) was unsuccessful. Julian Cooper indicated that the City had materials to construct paths and boardwalks to the pond and round the fen and a dipping platform with disabled access at the pond.

David Brown and Stephen Parkinson reported on the Viewport Signage project. The spires visible from the viewpoint in the Park have been identified and signage similar to that on other Wild Oxford Sites costed. Crowdsourcing is envisaged as a way to raise a portion of the funding required.

Adam Bows described his research project in the Park.

Judy Webb

Congratulations to the indefatigable Judy Webb for her inclusion in the Woman's Hour Power List. A just recognition of all her work for wildlife, wetlands and Wild Oxford.


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).

Cattle in the Park

Cattle are currently in Raleigh Park having moved from the next field. 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 until now as in previous years he received complaints from dog owners.

When 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 [email protected] or the Friends of Raleigh Park [email protected] For any urgent enquiries please contact the Parks duty officer 07768238906


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.

Be aware of health and safety if pond-dipping; we are expecting to install a platform in due course.

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. Song birds like to visit the bird feeder; watch the feeding birds scatter as a sparrowhawk arrives:

Tree Planting

Disease resistant elm trees have been planted with help from Butterfly Conservation.

HabitatMap HabitatMap
Tree Planting Feb 2020
Butterfly Survey

Egg hunting Jan 2020
Egg hunting Jan 2020
You may have noticed some tags attached to blackthorn branches, these mark the eggs of the brown hairsreak butterfly located by volunteers lead by Steve Wooliams of Butterfly Conservation. The brown hairstreak has undergone a substantial decline due to hedgerow removal and annual flailing, which removes eggs.

Butterfly surveys normally start in the spring when the butterflies start emerging from their chrysalises, currently lots of striking orange-tips are about. We hope to resume our leisurely walk when the virus emergency permits noting the butterfly species we encounter.

We also would look at the flora and insects. Thanks to Ian Marriott for the wonderful flora and insect photos.

Conservation Management

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. 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.

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.