OPT buys a new piece of land at Harcourt Hill and fills in another piece of the jigsaw
We are delighted to announce the purchase of a new green space for Oxford with fabulous views looking out to the dreaming spires. This ten-acre field at Harcourt Hill to the west of Oxford went on the open market and was bought against opposition from other interested purchasers. OPT were particularly keen to acquire it as it is close to the site of the 17th century Conduit House on Harcourt Hill which OPT now manage for English Heritage, and sits beside OPT’s existing 20-acre meadow which was bought in 2016 with the help of OPTs members, supporters and local residents.
This opportunity follows the recent earlier purchase of two-acre Larkins Lane Field in Old Headington which was bought after a local appeal as OPT’s way to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Debbie Dance, OPT Director says. “We are so delighted by the new Harcourt Hill land. It arguably has a better view of the dreaming spires than any of our existing land, so that you feel you can almost reach out and touch the towers and spires. We can’t wait to show it off to everyone.”
The purchase of these two fields this year has cost half a million pounds and OPT’s own contribution has been made possible by the sale of a small field at Barton. These four and a half acres were bought by OPT in the early 1930s to secure the views across from Old Headington. At the time Barton was still a rural hamlet and the ring road was only just being built. Today, with the development of the original Barton estate, and then Barton Park, now added to by changes to the Green Belt, which OPT opposed, and the proposed Bayswater Brook, the land will be surrounded on all sides. The land can no longer keep its rural character or share its views, so that OPT, after long and careful thought, has agreed to it becoming part of the wider development where it can be better managed. Covenants will control its use, ensure it has public benefit, and that no buildings can be built upon it.
Debbie Dance adds “Over time this area has changed in a way that our forebears would no longer recognise. We are pleased that we have been able to find a different future for this field, and remain faithful to our origins by securing an important green space which can benefit many more people.
On 25 November OPT will plant an English Oak at Larkins Lane as part of the Queens Green Canopy project.
Photo credit - Chris Andrews Publications