The Friends of Raleigh Park

Subscriptions for 2019-20

The Friends subscriptions of 5 per person are now due for the year September 2020 to August 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)

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:

AGM Thursday 24 September at 7:30pm by Zoom Members will be sent joining details by email along with the agenda and Chairman's Report. Among other items, Adam Bows will describe his research project in the Park.

BBOWT volunteer dates. We normally join the Wild Oxford volunteers do conservation management clearing the overgrown fen but now postponed due to the virus. When normal activities resume, 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.


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).

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 or the Friends of Raleigh Park 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, a sparrowhawk and squirrels like to visit the bird feeder which subsequent to this clip has had the anti-squirrel measures improved:

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. There is a small standing stone in the hedge around 50m away which might have been another marker.

No Expressway Alliance

The AGM agreed to join the No Expressway Alliance (NEA Facebook page 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.

We are hosted by Havenswift which gives a half-price hosting discount to non-profit organisations.

25 Oct 2012