About the Trap Grounds

The Trap Grounds Town Green & Local Wildlife Site in north Oxford lies immediately south of the Frenchay Road canal bridge (nearest postcode OX2 6TF). An information board on the towpath marks the entrance to three acres of reed bed and seven acres of woodland, grassland, stream, and ponds. The site (open to visitors 24/7) is owned by Oxford City Council and managed for conservation, recreation, and education by the Friends of the Trap Grounds, a group of local volunteers. For more information about current events and activities, the history and wildlife status of the site, and our campaign to save it as a Town Green, visit You can also contact the Secretary via the website.

If you are not an authorised poster and would like to submit a photo for consideration for posting on this blog then please e-mail: cmrobinson DOT oxford AT gmail DOT com

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Access to the Trap Grounds from the canal towpath is still denied while the resurfacing work continues. But Nicola has taken some lovely photos of Reed Buntings in the wildlife corridor immediately to the north of our site.

Reed Bunting, Waterways wildlife corridor, 30.12.19 (Nicola Devine)

Friday, January 3, 2020


Winter Heliotrope in flower

Clare Weiner writes: We spotted Winter Heliotrope flowering beside the path to the Bird Hide from the Boardwalk today - the first signs of flowers in the Trap Grounds this year! This plant, which grows in damp meadows and woodland, can be confused with the Butterbur, which also grows in profusion on the TG in a similar location. The Winter Heliotrope's purple/mauve flowers (they have a vanilla scent) grow on a long stalk, and are surrounded by the distinctly rounded leaves. By contrast, the Butterbur flowers appear before the leaves, in a tight, slightly cone-shaped cluster on a short thick stalk, and are unscented, white tinged with purple.

Winter Heliotrope (Clare Weiner, 1 January 2020)


Resurfacing work on the towpath has restricted our access to the Trap Grounds for nearly 8 weeks, but Nicola managed to get in via the back entrance today and was pleased to be greeted by Rufus, the Frog Lane robin, and by a member of 'The Welcoming Committee' consisting of House Sparrows who shelter in the brambles at the east end of Frog Lane.

Sparrow, Frog Lane, New Year's Day 2020 (Nicola Devine)

Rufus, the Frog Lane robin, New Year's Day 2020 (Nicola Devine)

Monday, November 11, 2019

It's been a miserable month of rain and more rain. But at least the fungi like the damp conditions. Nicola photographed a clump of Straight Coral Fungus (Ramaria stricta) on 9 November and described it as 'like gothic spires on a hillside'. 

                     Straight Coral Fungus (Ramaria stricta), Nicola Devine, TGs, 9.11.19

And a beautiful Amethyst Deceiver (Laccaria amethystine) on the same day.


Monday, October 14, 2019

After three gloomy weeks of torrential rain, last month's golden autumnal sunshine seems like a distant dream. But here, as a reminder of those bygone days, are Nicola's photos of a Jay, a Grey Wagtail, and a Chiffchaff. (The level of the Mill Stream has risen by at least one metre since the Grey Wagtail was skipping along it in the mud.)

Jay (Nicola Devine, Trap Grounds, 14 Sept 2019)

Chiffchaff (Nicola Devine, Trap Grounds, 14 Sept 2019)
Grey Wagtail (Nicola Devine, Trap Grounds, 14 Sept 2019)

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Tuesday 1 October 2019

Clare Weiner writes: Like many parents at this time of year, Ethel, the Trap Grounds swan, is preparing her offspring for independent adult life. She leaves the two cygnets alone on the water for increasing lengths of time, and will soon be teaching them to fly. Their wing feathers are well developed and (see photo) are white rather than the grey of younger days. By December she will have to actively drive away the cygnets she has cared for so well. Usually the male swan does this, but Ethel has been on her own since Ernest failed to return (or failed to be returned) after his removal to a swan sanctuary in July. We wish them all well and hope she will find a new mate.

Ethel's cygnets, Oxford Canal, 1 October 2019 (Clare Weiner)

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

30th September

I was lucky enough to stumble across one of the Kingfishers sitting on the perch on Tim's Pond recently. The light wasn't great and he didn't linger enough but I managed to get off a photo or two.