The Friends of Raleigh Park

Subscriptions for 2019

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. 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.

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.

Dates for your calendar:

Boxing Day Walk. Saturday 26 December 2:30pm. Get a breath of fresh air after Christmas.

Brown Hairstreak Butterfly Egg Hunt. Saturday 19 January 2019 10:30am. This butterfly is very rare and lays eggs which may overwinter on the blackthorn stand by the gate at the Westminister Way entrance. Wear warm clothing and meet by the gate. Bring a magnifying glass to identify any eggs found. The butteflies were seen in the hedges around the Louis Memorial Fields this summer and eggs were spotted in the Park in the winter 2017-18. Some of the blackthorn stand was cut down this summer to provide new growth for the caterpillars.

Spring Adventure. Children's activities in the half term break in February, TBA.

Cattle in the Park

Cattle are currently out of the Raleigh Park until the spring. As 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 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.

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.

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.

AGM Mon 17 September 2018 at 7:30pm at the Pavilion, Arnolds Way.

The AGM was on Mon 17 September 2018 at the Pavilion, Arnolds Way. Nick Bowles of Butterfly Conservation was the speaker and there were reports on the butterfly surveys, nest boxes and Wild Oxford conservation progress.

No Expressway Alliance

The AGM agreed to join the No Expressway Alliance Facebook page www.facebook.com/NoExpresswayAlliance at the 2018 AGM. Friends may become individual members also.

25 Oct 2012
raleighpark@raleighpark.org.uk