Signal Elm Field

A field with a spectacular view and the source of inspiration for a very famous poet

The English poet and cultural critic Matthew Arnold saw the veteran oak tree when he was out walking. The tree inspired him and was immortalised in his poem ‘Thyrsis’, written in 1865.

Runs it not here, the track by Childsworth Farm,

Up past the wood, to where the elm-tree crowns

The hill behind whose ridge the sunset flames?

The signal-elm, that looks on Ilsley Downs,

The Vale, the three lone weirs, the youthful Thames?

The field was bought by public subscription in 2009 from All Souls College due to the literary associations with the extensive view of Oxford's dreaming spires from the field.