Warneford MeadowWhat is Warneford Meadow? Basically - an important Oxford Meadow which needs protection.
Warneford Meadow is one of the few remaining natural spaces in Oxford. The Meadow is a tranquil 18 acre grassland close to the heart of the city. Situated on the boundary between East Oxford and Headington, England. The meadow adjoins the Boundary Brook wildlife corridor to the east, and provides a significant habitat for birds and animals.
Warneford Meadow was originally purchased in 1918, by the Warneford Hospital.The grassland was intended to be kept as a natural space, and used for the psychological benefit of the local community. The Warneford Orchard, home to a number of rare apple tree species, sits on the Meadow's northern border, between the Meadow and the Warneford Hospital.
For many years the hospital ran a farm, in part for the rehabilitation of patients. This included the Meadow and an apple orchard which was planted alongside it. By the 1960s, the Meadow was still grazed by a herd of dairy cows. Later, a local farmer paid to harvest the hay from the Meadow each year. The orchard has been allowed to run wild, yet it still produces an annual crop of many different varieties of apple.
Meanwhile, people from the neighbourhood used the Meadow as a place for recreation and enjoyment. By 2002, a number of paths across the Meadow had been confirmed as public rights of way.
Why has the Meadow been under threat?
In 2006, applications were made for outline planning permission for a high density development on the Meadow and other sites in the Warneford Hospital grounds. These were turned down and, before further plans could be submitted, a local resident applied to register the Meadow as a Town Green. Town Green status would mean that the Meadow could never be developed and would therefore be saved for future generations.
Objections were made by the NHS - who own the land - and a lengthy enquiry followed. Then the Inspector, Mr Vivian Chapman QC, recommended to Oxfordshire County Council that Warneford Meadow should indeed be registered as a new green.
Warneford Meadow - Town Green
The Meadow was registered as a town green on 6th April 2009. You can see the registration documents by clicking here: TG Registration Docs (pdf, 374 K).
Below: A 360 degree panorama of the Warneford Meadow. Here is a higher resolution version for download Warneford Meadow Panorama (Medium) (jpg, 432 K) (taken 11am, June 12th 2007)