Green Spaces

University Parks

University Parks is a Grade II-listed space covering approximately 70 acres in the centre of Oxford, which are easily accessible to residents, students and visitors and frequently host charity and other events. 

This unique space is maintained and managed by the University Parks team, who are also responsible for the day-to-day management and development of all other green spaces around and between buildings across the University’s functional estate.

In addition, the team provides horticultural, arboricultural and landscaping services to colleges and other clients outside the University on a commercial basis.  In total, the team manages over 200 sites, including college quads and public spaces such as Radcliffe Square.

Also within the Parks team’s remit:

  • Organising and coordinating events in University Parks, from fund-raising runs to Gifford’s Circus
  • Collecting and recycling the rubbish left by visitors
  • Processing garden waste into compost – around 400 tonnes per year
  • Managing its own nursery and plant collection
  • Looking after over 3,500 trees across the University estate

Wytham Woods

The 1,000 acres of Wytham Woods, three miles east of the city centre, have been part of the University since 1942 when they were bequeathed under terms that require them to be used for education and research, that their natural beauty is maintained and that they are accessible to the people of Oxford.

Today, the Woods are used extensively by around 60 different researchers each year, in main from Zoology, Geography and Plant Sciences departments. Research projects are often long-term and provide new and invaluable data used across the world. They also attract significant media interest, providing the Woods with frequent national coverage.  All research projects conducted within the woods require a Research Application Form. This can be downloaded here

Maintaining the Woods also involves forestry management.  This work provides much of the Wood’s modest income through timber sales, the rest from research fees and government grants for conservation work and public access.

Public accessibility is a key element of the life of the Woods and comprises a free permit scheme for walkers (there are 6500 permit holders), a schools outreach  programme, guided walks, and talks to natural history groups.