Field Event Reports

12 March 2016 - Trap Gounds Town Green, Oxford

Leader: Alan Allport, Friends of the Trap Grounds

Alan Allport guided the group around the Trap Grounds

A group of 13 members (mostly arriving by bus from Abingdon) met outside the Archor Pub at 11.00am, where we were met by our guide, Alan Allport. Before moving off, Alan gave us background to the history of the site and the problems they had obtaining Town Green status. He was also asked where the name 'Trap Grounds' came from; while there are several theories, the truth has been lost in the mists of time.

We first walked along the towpath beside the Oxford Canal, our first stop being in the adjacent woodland to view the extensive reedbeds, breeding grounds for various warblers in the summer.

We returned to the towpath and walked up to the the main entrance to the site – the 'Grounds' are totally open to the public, with many hundreds of locals visiting in the year for a peaceful walk, to exercise dogs and for children to explore (various school parties have visited the site). On entering the site, we first walked up the relatively new boardwalk, installed in 2010 and funded by various organizations. The boardwalk is constructed of planks of recycled plastic, which have a lifespan four times longer than wood, are nonslip and do not attract moss. From here we had a better view of the reedbed and open water in front – unfortunately we did not see the kingfishers that regularly hawk the area. Fortunately, we did see a pair of treecreepers, investigating the bark of a dead tree that is apparently their favourite haunt.

Our next stop was the so-called Tim's Pond (named for the local contractor who dug it out using a 3-ton digger), which had a bird-hide screen on its bank. It is worth noting here that the majority of the water bodies had been created or cleared using relatively heavy equipment, plus the manpower of a large band of volunteers, with only the natural Mill Stream running from the north to south side of the site. It was also interesting that the spoil was not removed from the site (as happened on Barton Fields), but was used to create raised areas and banks, thus creating new habitats. We backtracked through the woodland to the Kingfisher Pool, on the far side of which a bank had been built in the hope of attracting the local kingfishers to nest – apparently the previous year they had investigated the site and hopes were high for 2016.

The western side of the site was more open in places, with various small meadows, which in the summer are a blaze of colour and attract many butterflies and other insects. When we reached the western edge, beside the railway line, the extent of the 'rubble' base of the site was most apparent as it covered the surface where numerous sycamore tree and saplings had been removed to increase light penetration.

This effectively completed our visit and we worked our way back to the towpath. Thanks were
conveyed to Alan for his informative and stimulating tour, whereupon he dashed off to organize the
afternoon workparty.

For a far more complete background to the Trap Grounds visit their website

Graham Bateman

Attendees:
Michael Bloom, Chris & Bridget Biggs, Vivienne Summers, Nigel & Caroline Gregory, Dudley &Penny Isles, Felicity & Mike Jenkins, Sally Ainslie, Martin Buckland, Jane Bye, Graham Bateman.

Michael Bloom's Gallery

Images from the Trap grounds visit A photo from the Trap Grounds visit A photo from the Trap Grounds visit A photo from the Trap Grounds visitA photo from the Trap Grounds visit A photo from the Trap Grounds visit

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