Small but sweet, Heyford Meadow is nestled by the River Thames between Littlemore and Sandford Upon Thames in Oxford. With it’s semi circular boardwalk, it’s a perfect little walk to do with toddlers.
Neglected for many years, The Oxford Preservation Trust have worked hard to remove over 250 tonnes of waste and transform Heyford Meadow into a mini wildlife haven and tranquil spot for locals to enjoy.
With everywhere so muddy at the moment, the semi circular boardwalk that stretches around was ideal for a late afternoon January winter visit this week. It’s would be perfect for a pushchair but there’s a grassy patch to cross first which might catch you out unless you have sturdy wheels.
The boardwalk stretches all the way down to the river with a handy bench if you just want to sit and soak up the sounds of nature or have a toddler snack stop. It’s not far off the ground so you can step down and get right to the waters edge (obviously keep a close eye on young kids).
There are a number of information boards too and a willow screened area so that you can peer through and watch the wildlife without scaring it off.
I visited in January but will definitely return to see the wildflowers. The OPT website describes that careful management of the grasslands are see the return on rare meadow flowers including the Snake’s Head Fritillary which 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. At Heyford Meadow, Snake’s Head Fritillaries bloom alongside the boardwalk and have chequered purple and pink bell-like flowers hanging from thin stems and narrow leaves at the base of the plant.
Heyford Meadow Parking & Facilities
There’s no car park so if you can come by public transport, cycling or walking that would be best. I accessed Heyford Meadow from Broadhurst Gardens which is a cul de sac but decided to park on Heyford Hill Lane to be considerate of local residents.
Finding Heyford Meadow
On entering Broadhurst Gardens, the road slopes down and then off to the right. There’s pedestrian access from the second mini turning on the left, just after no.9. You can’t immediately see the meadows but you’ll see a grassy area with a few pieces of playground equipment and from there you should spot a gate that leads you through to the meadow.
Heyford Meadow is managed by a dedicated group of volunteers. If you enjoy visit and would like to help then why not go along to a work party. These take place on the third Thursday of every month (usuall) from 9:30am to 1pm. No previous experience is needed but do wear stout shoes or wellies and old clothes. Contact details and more information for volunteering with Oxford Preservation Trust.