hinksey meadow

North Hinksey

North Hinksey is a village of about 4,500 inhabitants on the western side of Oxford city . The A34, constructed in the 1920s, runs through the ancient village, separating it from the fields and meadows to the East like Hinksey Meadows. The village has had many names in the past 10 centuries, including Hengestesige, possibly meaning ‘stallion’s isle’. Hinksey Meadow and the North Hinksey Fields were purchased by OPT to ensure that North Hinskey village retains its rural charm and character. Both sites run along the Hinksey stream and are situated north-east of the village.

Hinksey Meadow

OPT purchased Hinksey Meadow in 1997. This traditional floodplain meadow lies between the Seacourt Stream and the Bulstake Stream and regularly floods in both winter and summer. It was probably a hay meadow for much of the last thousand years and is now managed traditionally with a hay cut each July, followed by cattle grazing. The meadow is species-rich, especially in flowers such as the snake’s head fritillary. The snake's head fritillary, with its chequered bell-like flowers, is Oxfordshire’s County flower and is characteristic of traditionally managed flood meadows. It is nationally scarce and only a few sites in the UK are considered to hold wild populations. 

An annual fritillary count records the population and in 2021 we were pleased to report record numbers of 376, (up from 289 in 2019) and vegetative plants 363 (up from 134 in 2019). The count in 2023 recorded 307 flowers and 351 vegetative plants. In 2024, 215 fritillary flowers and 399 vegetative were counted (614 altogether). Non-flowering adult plants (vegetative plants) are part of the fritillary life cycle and these develop for 3-8 years, increasing in leaf number . The fritillary flowers between mid-April and early May. 

Hinksey Meadow is under threat from the proposed Flood Alleviation Scheme. OPT is not opposing the scheme but has appointed experts to put their case to the independent inspector relating, in particular, to the damage to Hinksey Meadows and the loss of rare MG4a grassland, and raising the issue of why alternative routes were not properly considered.  

Hinksey Meadow is open to the public. When walking through these fields, please ensure dogs are kept under control and within sight especially when livestock is present.

 snakeshead fritillaries

North Hinksey Fields and the ‘Oxen Ford’

OPT owns three fields to the south of Willow Walk between the Seacourt and Bulstake streams, purchased in 1978 from the Pirie and Van Heynigen families, to preserve the rural atmosphere of North Hinksey.

The ‘Oxen Ford’, thought to be the origin of the name of our wonderful city, is to be found on the footpath which runs behind The Fishes Pub . One of the fields is home to a colony of Creeping Marshwort (Apium repens), an endangered species introduced here in 1996 by local conservationists using plants from nearby Port Meadow where it was in danger of being lost.

North Hinksey Field has public access on the footpath from the back of the Fishes pub along the causeway.