Warneford Meadow is an unspoiled oasis of calm and rurality in the built-up area of east Oxford. It comprises seven hectares of grassland and an orchard planted in the 1940s, hidden behind the houses of Hill Top Road and the Warneford and Churchill Hospitals, and bounded on the east by Boundary Brook and Southfield Golf Course. Public footpaths follow its edges and there’s a well-used path across the middle.
Get to it from Hill Top Road, from Roosevelt Drive by the nursing home, or across the brook from the Churchill site.
The Meadow was bought by Warneford Hospital in 1918 to protect it from development and provide food and therapeutic outdoor recreation for patients. The hospital farm closed in the 1960s, but the Meadow was grazed or a hay crop taken until the 1980s.
Local people have long used the Meadow for recreation – walking, blackberry picking, and children’s games. In recent years, it was neglected by its owners, the NHS, and began to run wild. It has developed a varied ecology typical of unmanaged grassland, and is home to a wide variety of birds and other creatures, but its diversity is threatened by advancing scrub.
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