FRIENDS OF WARNEFORD MEADOW
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.
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.
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 .
Meadow Audio Walk Available
To help remind friends and supporters of the history of Warneford Meadow and its value to the neighbourhood, we have for sale copies of Mari Prichard’s ‘audio walk’ around the Meadow. This comprises a CD containing a sound evocation of the Meadow with readings and recollections. The CD content works as a stand-alone programme or, if copied onto an MP3 player and used with the accompanying map, guides the listener on a walk round the Meadow and through the Orchard. The audio walk costs £3.99 and can be ordered by using the form here: Audio Walk Order Form (doc, 32 K)
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.
FoWM Annual General Meeting
The FoWM AGM was held on Thursday 10th May at Southfield Golf Club. A brief report of the occasion can be read here: 2012 AGM Minutes (pdf, 94 K)
Read the FoWM 2011-12 Annual Report here: FoWM Annual Report 2012 (pdf, 109 K).
The FoWM Vision for the future of the Meadow can be found here: Warneford Meadow: The Future (pdf, 110 K).
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).
Beyond Magdalen Bridge: the Growth of East Oxford
By Graeme SalmonFirst published by the Oxford Meadow Press; re-published by the East Oxford Archaeology & History Project, November 2010.
FoWM Steering Group member Graeme Salmon is the author of Beyond Magdalen Bridge, a short account of the growth and development of the area of East Oxford including Warneford Meadow. At the AGM, Graeme introduced his book and described some of the fascinating history of our neighbourhood. More information about the book, including how to purchase a copy, can be found here: Beyond Magdalen Bridge Prospectus (pdf, 71 K).
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).
What is Warneford Meadow?
Warneford Meadow is an 18 acre area of untouched and undeveloped open land behind Warneford Hospital between Headington and the Cowley Road.
In the early years of the last century, the Meadow was bought by the Warneford Asylum – as it was then called – to prevent the land falling into the hands of a speculative builder and thus retain a healthy environment for the patients.
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.
You can download and read the Inspector's Report by clicking on the link below.
You can phone, email or write.
FOWM Joint Co-ordinator: Andrew Carter, 35 Hill Top Road, Oxford OX4 1PD. 01865-426955
email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or contact any other member of the Board who are
Andrew Carter, Chris Dunabin, David Sutton, Graeme Salmon, Anne Copley, Andrew Wilkinson, Kate Whitworth-Jones, Joy Hendry, Paul Deluce and Sietske Boeles.