Nature Reserves

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Raleigh Park, OxfordStreet MapGoogle MapPhotos

Raleigh Park
Managed by:Oxford City Council
OS grid reference:Westminster Way Entrance: SP 500 046, Harcourt Hill entrance: SP 492 050, Raleigh Road entrance: SP 490 053
Nearest postcode:Westminster Way Entrance: OX1 5AA, Harcourt Hill entrance: OX2 9AS, Raleigh Road entrance:OX2 9AZ
Usual work:Fencing

Raleigh Park consists of approximately 27 acres of land in North Hinksey that was once part of the estates owned by the Harcourt family before it was sold to Raymond Ffennel in 1924 and later donated to the City of Oxford as a park. OCV have replaced fences at the site in order to allow it to continue to be grazed by cattle, thus proving a natural way to keep invasive scrub from invading the grassland and to encourage the biodiversity of wild flora and fauna at the site.

Flora and Fauna

Raleigh Park contains a pond plus a mixture of woodland, marsh and grassland. The wetter areas of the site are dominated with equisetum arvense, commonly referred to as horsetail. In spring the horsetail produces brown asparagus-like shoots that have cones at the tips that provide spores. Later thin green branched stems appear and remain until winter. Common spotted orchid, rest harrow and the yellow rattle are among the flora to be found in the grassland. Frogs spawn in the pond at Raleigh Park, whilst roe deer are also often seen at the site.

Conservation Management

In order to preserve the important grassland and prevent encroachment from the woodland and scrub the site is grazed by cattle. OCV have assisted with this important task by erecting fencing in order to enable management of the areas to be grazed.


There are three entrances to Raleigh Park; Westminster Way, Harcourt Hill and Raleigh Road.

Directions for Westminster Way: The best entrance is the one off Westminster Way, which is just after the junction from the A34 and before the bend that heads up Harcourt Hill.

Directions for Harcourt Hill entrance: From Westminister Way continue South-West along Harcourt Hill. As the road rises steeply ignore the field gateway on the right and continue to a larger gateway near a building also on the right, just before the junction with Vernon Avenue.

Directions for Raleigh Road entrance: From Westminster Way, go up Raleigh Road and the ground rises steeply. Just before the junction with Sweetman's Road there is a narrow alleyway on the left leading through between some houses.