Open green space is essential for our health and wellbeing, and we are delighted that more people than ever are now out and about enjoying OPT land. With our commitment to the green agenda, OPT have no car parks, so why not take a cycle ride or a long walk. Help us to keep our environment, our wildlife and you safe by considering a visit outside likely peak times. All our green spaces are open.
Hinksey Meadows lies between the Seacourt Stream and the Bulstake Stream. It is a traditional floodplain meadow, regularly flooding in both winter and summer. Flood water comes from surface water in the streams which is augmented by considerable underground water movement.
Hinksey Meadow has probably been a hay meadow for much of the last thousand years and when OPT purchased the meadow in 1997, its boundaries were much the same as in 1870 (Ordance Survey, 1st edition).
The Willow Walk, along the south-east boundary, was developed by the Harcourt Estate around 1880 and was opened to the public in the 1920s as a route from North Hinksey to what is now the Osney Mead Industrial Estate.
Hinksey Meadow is managed traditionally with a hay cut each July followed by aftermath grazing by cattle, this has improved the vegetation creating a more species-rich meadow, particularly in flowers. Hinksey Meadow has a population of Snake's Head Fritillary. The Snake’s Head Fritillary is Oxfordshire’s County flower and is characteristic of traditionally managed flood meadows. They are 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 this year of 376, (up from 289 in 2019) and vegetative plants 363 (up from 134 in 2019). The count in 2023 gave numbers in line with recent results with 307 flowers and 351 vegetative plants. Non-flowering adult plants (vegetative plants) are part of the fritillary life cycle and these develop for 3-8 years, increasing in leaf number. To learn more about the Snake's Head Fritillary and it's lifecycle click this link.
Hinksey Meadows are at risk from the Oxford flood alleviation scheme (OFAS). Click here to find out more.