View of Warneford Meadow, Oxford

Friends of Warneford Meadow, Oxford

Recent News and Events

The information below is a largely unedited collection of posts to the FoWM website main page in the period 2012 to 2015.

The transformation of the Meadow and Orchard has begun.

As promised, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust has now started to put into action a comprehensive ecological management plan for the Meadow and Orchard. The plan was commissioned last year while the final legal hurdles were cleared so the Trust could take over ownership of the site.

FoWM has been assured that “the Trust has ring fenced appropriate resources to protect the Meadow for the benefit of its patients, staff and local residents”.

The Orchard has been cleared and the apple trees have been pruned along with other trees on the Meadow.

Orchard Clearance February 2015

We look forward to further improvements in the coming months.

Meadow ownership transferred to NHS Trust

“We are delighted that with our new responsibility for the Meadow’s future upkeep, we can now look at further developing our ecological management plan with patients and partners including the Friends of Warneford Meadow, to use the Meadow for therapeutic interventions for our patients and to benefit our community.”

Stuart Bell CBE, chief executive at OHFT

Friends of the Warneford Meadow welcome the news this month that the land title for the Meadow has been officially transferred from the Department of Health to Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust (OHFT), which manages the nearby Warneford Hospital.

It has been a long wait since the Meadow was registered as a town green and we are now delighted and relieved that ownership of this valuable green space has finally been settled. We are particularly pleased with what the new owners are promising. We look forward to working with the Trust to help return the Meadow to its former state and maintain the site for the enjoyment of the wider neighbourhood.

There are plans to deal straight away with the overgrown paths in the Orchard and to give the Meadow a much needed September cut.

Mini Apple Day 27th October

Many thanks to all who turned out to make our alternative Apple Day work. The weather was fine, quite a few people came along and good amount of apple pressing happened.

Particular thanks, as always, to Rupert Griffin for providing the apple press, deep expertise and tireless hard work.

The Meadow gets an Autumn cut

The Meadow after cut Sept 2013

Warneford Meadow is really beginning to look cared for. A second top cut, completed in early September, will help to get Meadow in excellent shape for next year.

Ragwort Pull - July 2013

Ragwort Pull July 2013

If we are to get the Meadow back into a condition capable of producing a clean hay crop, we have to keep the site clear of ragwort. This intrusive weed is quite attractive and does help to support bees and butterflies, but it is poisonous to horses. It renders any hay crop completely unsaleable.

So many thanks are due to the volunteers you gave up a Saturday morning recently to uproot and remove ragwort from the Meadow. We'll be working hard to prevent this weed from establishing itself again.

.WM first cut for many years

Warneford Meadow gets its first top cut for years

The Meadow finally got its first top cut for years on 1st May. The top/southern part of the Meadow was cut; the very wet areas on each side half way down had to be left; the bottom/northern area was cut, but a wide swathe alongside the brook was deliberately left untouched, as was the whole area through the narrow gap beside the nursing home. This first top cut will leave room for fresh growth during the summer which will need a further cut in August/September, depending on what kind of summer we have. It will be a year to two before we see the site really beginning to look like a meadow again – or producing hay of a quality that can be sold. Nevertheless, seeing the Meadow freshly cut does give a hint of what it will look like after receiving a bit of care.

Tractor cutting WM May 2013

Bramble Clearance

Another successful session!

Many thanks to all who came along on 6th April and helped with the bramble clearance or began work on pruning the apple trees in the upper part of the Orchard.

As a first step towards restoring the Meadow, it is planned for the grass to be topped during early April and cut again in September. This work will be undertaken by an outside contractor working for FoWM, but there will be other tasks that can be done by volunteers. Look out for news of the next work party.

Warneford Meadow in the Media

This item about the first brambles clearance session appeared in the Oxford Mail and Times recently.

There is also an article about the Meadow and FoWM in the March 2013 edition of The Countryman magazine.

Meadow Sale - Latest News - April 2013

We have heard that the Department of Health are considering retaining Warneford Meadow and transferring ownership to the local NHS Trust. The Meadow has been taken off the market while this new move is considered.

We understand that, if the NHS Trust were to take over the Meadow, they intend to continue the licence with FoWM allowing us to manage the site.

The Trust have informed us that they 'now acknowledge that it would be of benefit to the Trust and to the local community as a whole, if the Meadow was to remain as an amenity for patients and the local community in the ownership of the NHS.'

FoWM would very much welcome a period of stability, during which the Meadow can be brought to - and maintained at - a level of upkeep that will allow hospital patients and members of the local community to enjoy it to the full.

See the NHS Trust statement in this Oxford Times article.

Background

In August 2011, the Department of Health announced that it plans to sell the Meadow. Since then, FoWM has focused on trying to ensure that it is acquired by a benign owner sharing FoWM’s aims – possibly FoWM itself, or an existing local body with land management expertise. However, it is still unclear how it will be sold and, of course, how much the Department expects to raise from the sale.

Whether FoWM or another local body buys the Meadow, we expect have to raise much of the purchase money, so we will soon be asking local residents again to give generously as they did before. Meanwhile we estimate that we shall need around £3000 in the short term – to pay a contractor to do selective mowing and other work on the Meadow. But in due course we’ll also need help with fund-raising activities and donations of substantially larger amounts.

A full account of the story so far is contained in the latest FoWM update, which can be viewed by clicking here (pdf, 2248 K)

In preparation for our forthcoming fundraising campaign, FoWM is reviewing ways to keep our supporters informed about what is happening. We shall be regularly updating the information on the FoWM website, so please check here for the latest information. We also want to tidy up and expand our email list. Please pass the message on to anyone you think would be interested in supporting our bid to purchase and manage Warneford Meadow - and please encourage them to visit the website and join our mailing list via the link that appears at the bottom of every page.

Warneford Sale in the news

Click here to read news of the sale reported in the Oxford Times. FoWM are disappointed that the OT article claims that the original unsuccessful planning application for the site was for 300 homes. In fact, the application was for a student village of 2000 units .

Apple Day 2012 – cancelled owing to lack of apples

The apple crop across the country was severely affected by the weather this year – and the Warneford Orchard was no exception. The exceptionally wet spring seems to have been to blame for a very meagre harvest. It was with much regret therefore that we decided to cancel Apple Day 2012. It was a particularly disappointing decision to have to make after the previous year’s event which was so successful and popular. We must hope for things to be back to normal in 2013.

Department of Health to sell Warneford Meadow

Friends of Warneford Meadow heard in August 2011 from the Department of Health that they had decided to dispose of the Meadow and that advisers had been appointed to assist in the sale process.

Having regard to the Government’s proposals in the Localism Bill for Community Right to Buy, the Department said that they will give Friends of Warneford Meadow the opportunity to confirm whether they would wish to make a bid. A bid to purchase the Meadow could be made by FoWM alone or in conjunction with other groups.

Friends of Warneford Meadow welcomes the sale, which shows that the Department recognise that there is no prospect of building on the Meadow now it is registered as a Town Green. We look forward to working with the Department and their agents, and with the City Council and with other bodies concerned to protect Oxford’s environment, to ensure that the Meadow is conserved and enhanced for future generations to enjoy.

For full details of the sale and FoWM's response, see the 2012 Annual Report (link above).

All profits for the preservation and management of Warneford Meadow

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).