Matthew Arnold Field and Reserve

Matthew Arnold Field

Dedicated to the memory of the poet Matthew Arnold, this field and wood at the end of Jarn Way is an important part of the adjoining Jarn Mound complex. 

A plaque at the top of the field states: “This land named Matthew Arnold Field, being a principal foreground of the poet’s vision in Thyrsis and the Scholar Gipsy, was bought for the Oxford Preservation Trust through public subscription from both sides of the Atlantic.”

Situated on the west side of Boars Hill, on a clear day there are views from Matthew Arnold Field across the Vale of the White Horse to the Berkshire Downs to the southwest.  However, much of the view originally seen from the site is now obscured by trees.  

The field, which is grazed by a horse, is a sea of yellow buttercups in summer, and the circular footpath through the wood is popular with walkers.   

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Matthew Arnold Field

Matthew Arnold Reserve


This secondary mixed deciduous woodland, which lies on the western side of Boars Hill as the ground slopes down towards Wootton, includes areas of wet woodland. The top of the wood is on dry, sandy soils and oak, cherry and birch grow. Lower down wet flushes seep through a spring line to form waterlogged areas of peat, formed over the centuries. Here there are willow and ash and a more diverse species community typical of wet woodland surround the pools. The wood supports a diverse flora which reflects the different hydrological and geological conditions, which are unusual in this part of Oxfordshire. Works to rejuvenate this woodland are ongoing, increasing the water content of the soil.