Even before OPT began in November 1927, the founding trustees acquired nearly 100 acres between Old Marston and the River Cherwell. Great Oxford man, Colonel Raymond William ffennell of Wytham Abbey, bought them for the Trust and passed them to OPT in 1929 for £10,450.
At the time there were no road links across the Cherwell and Summertown was reached by a foot ferry. The only way by road was via Magdalen Bridge and the High. When Oxfordshire County Council wanted to build a road to relieve the traffic pressure on the historic streets of the City, Oxford Preservation Trust happily sold 4 acres in 1973 with their blessing to allow the construction of the Marston Ferry Road. Today, the OPT fields divided by the Marston Ferry Road are managed as arable land by the tenant, bringing rural character to Old Marston.
In 2012 OPT planted six English oaks on Marston Ferry Road to commemorate Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee. One of the trees was formally planted by Philip Pullman on Sunday, 25 November, exactly 75 years to the time and date since the hornbeams in Sunderland Avenue were planted by the Trust to mark the coronation of King George VI. The Trust has planted trees throughout Oxford, particularly in Marston and New Marston, often in memory of people who died in WWII.
In 1982, two riverside pasture fields from the original acquisition were sold to Wolfson College and are connected to the College by a bridge.
The fields at the end of Mill Lane are also owned by OPT and have ancient ridge and furrow. Over the past 15 years the small field by the drive to the Vicky Arms has been used as a simple recreation ground and is managed by the Old Marston Parish Council. The field on the other side of Mill Lane is managed as permanent pasture. You are welcome to walk through both.