Oxford University Parks occupy about 70 acres of land and can be accessed from Parks Road or Marston. Punting along the stretch of the River Cherwell that runs through University Parks to Magdalen Bridge, is a popular activity in the summer. There is also a delightful walk over the Cherwell via High Bridge (also known as Rainbow Bridge built in 1923-4 as a relief project for the unemployed) that takes you through a lovely natural area, to Marston Ferry Road, thence to the Plain and into Oxford city.
University Parks successfully combine the functions of an arboretum with the provision of sport facilities for the university. There are more than 60 different genera of trees to be seen as well as 200 different specimens, under-planted by about half a million spring bulbs. The large expanse of grass was maintained by sheep and cattle until the introduction of mechanical mowing in 1937.
During the First World War, aeroplane hangars and a soldiers’ camp were built in the Parks, and in the Second World War the Parks were ‘dug for victory’ to provide 80 allotments.
Cricket, tennis and football are played in the Parks.
The Parks are open daily except Christmas Eve.
007 Rainbow Bridge, University Parks