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Lye Valley News

Midweek work sessions

These sessions for Members of Friends of Lye Valley are on Wednesdays 9–11am
All tools supplied. Outdoor clothing and sturdy boots needed

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Geo-conservation and geology tours at Rock Edge quarry (parallel to York Road)

Sunday 5 May 2019, 2–4pm

Come and help clear smothering vegetation from this important rock exposure. All tools provided. Free tours by expert geologists to explain the fascinating 160-million-year-old Jurassic Coral reef and its typical fossils: “if you want to see something as good you have to go to the Dolomites.” Organised by Oxford Geology Trust and Friends of Lye valley. No on-site parking, although there is limited residential parking for up to two hours. Buses through Headington towards Cowley & Wood Farm stop near the entrance to Nuffield Orthopaedic Hospital and on nearby Titup Hall Drive

More about Rock Edge

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Lye Valley article in 'Limited Edition'

The Lye Valley stars in this Oxford Times ‘Limited Edition’ article by Wendy Tobitt of BBOWT

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Appeal dismissed

The appeal against a second planning application (refused on 12 December 2017) to build four houses on land west of 75 Town Furze (which is directly above the Lye Valley South Fen) has been dismissed

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Local Plan Preferred Options Document

The Friends of Lye Valley response can be seen here

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Lye Valley granted new protective status

The Lye Valley's extraordinary hydrological and geomorphological features – its “Living Geology” – has been recognised by its new protective designation as Local Geology Site by the Oxfordshire Geology Trust:

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Judy Webb awarded Certificate of Honour

Dr Judy Webb, FOLV Chair, has been awarded the prestigious Certificate of Honour in recognition of her immense voluntary contribution to wildlife, the environment and green spaces in Oxford.

Judy receiving certificate

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Local Geology site proposal for Lye Valley

Oxfordshire Geology Trust have proposed the Lye Valley be designated a Local Geology Site in recognition of its extraordinary qualities: see application

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Open Day held on 25 June 2017

Information and photographs on website of Judy Webb

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Vision for the Lye Valley

The FOLV's Vision is to conserve and/or restore the whole of the Lye Valley as a natural continuous green area of land with a mosaic of different wet and dry habitats

See separate page

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Development of Warren Meadow

The development at Warren Meadow is to go ahead:
see separate page

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Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)

Join the Wild Oxford Project in Lye Valley
Outdoor clothing and sturdy boots needed.
Please contact Andy Gunn on andygunn@bbowt.org.uk
or 01865 775476 Ext. 237 or 07834 975162 for details of location.

All sessions run from 10am–3pm but feel free to come and go as you like on the day. Tasks to suit everyone.

Hot drinks and cake/biscuits are provided at all sessions, but please bring lunch if you plan to stay all day.

  • Future sessions to be announced
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Older news from the Friends of Lye Valley
can be found here

Oxford Times 1 September 2016

Left: Article from Oxford Times of 1 September 2016 about green spaces in Headington and the Local Plan



The Grass of Parnassus

The fragile and rare Grass of Parnassus, first named by Matthias de L’Obel in 1570 when he found it growing in Hogley Bog (i.e. the Lye Valley), flowered again at the end of August 2014, hidden amid squelchy pools cloudy with tufa. 

Dr Judy Webb has captured the stages of the buds’ unfolding in a series of pictures, from the male stage with anthers folded over stigma and the false nectary staminodes clear, through anthers bending out and opening one at a time stage, to the female stage where the anthers are gone, the ovary turns pink, and the stigmas are now uncovered and receptive to pollen on top of the ovary. Then follows the new seed pod. Characteristically one heart-shaped leaf encircles the stem

It was first noted in this wetland in 1640, but has probably been here since the last Ice Age. The Lye Valley is the most southerly place that the grass is found in England.

Oxford Mail, 30 August 2014:
Ice Age flower is still quite at home in balmy Headington

Grass of Parnassus thumbnail



“Flowers ’n’ Bees” stroll round Rock Edge on 17 July 2016

Passing round insects 17 July 2016 Dr Judy Webb showed us some of the varieties of bee attracted by the wild flower meadow, and a parasitic wasp

Judy Webb's tour of the Lye Valley 6 July 2016: Oxford Mail report
Walk, July 2016

January 2016

Frost transforms the Lye Valley

Pithy elder stems will make homes
for red mason bees

Oxford City Council repairs the boardwalk

Volunteers bash old blackthorn to encourage
regrowth for rare hairstreak butterflies

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Did You Know?

Proportionately there are more rare plants in the Lye Valley than in any other city site – at 20 species this is a third of the 61 species on the County Rare Plants Register found within all the nature sites in and around Oxford that are managed by Oxford City Council.

See our Chair, Dr Judy Webb’s, detailed report on the state of the Lye Valley for the Wild Oxford Project.  It’s the ONLY fen (alkaline bog) to show such fast return to its former glory in Oxfordshire.  Formerly there were 10 really good alkaline fens.  Of these, 8 are being lost to natural succession to wet woodland through lack of management. Only Cothill fen and the Lye Valley fen are actually improving, due to having management. The Lye Valley fen – thanks to its volunteers, Oxford City Council, BBOWT, Oxford Conservation Volunteers – and not forgetting the Friends of Lye Valley – is getting better and better!  But it still needs our help and protection.

Read all about it!

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Oxford City Council consultation on Draft Corporate Biodiversity Strategy 2015–2020
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Annual General Meetings

The Annual General Meetings of the Friends of Lye Valley are held at St Francis Church Hall, Hollow Way in August. The agreed minutes of each AGM can be seen below.

2013 AGM   •    2014 AGM   •    2015 AGM   •    2016 AGM

Friends of Lye Valley, 2013–2017