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.

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Saturday, May 23, 2020

So far this spring, Nicola Devine has photographed seven varieties of odonata on the Trap Grounds -- damselflies: the Large Red, the Blue-Tailed, the Azure, and a rare female blue form of the Azure; and dragonflies: the Hairy, the Broad-Bodied Chaser, and the Downy Emerald. Her photo of the Downy Emerald (see below) is the first-ever record on the Trap Grounds, bringing our confirmed total of odonata to 21 (out of 33 known species in Oxfordshire).

Azure damselflies mating (21 May 2020, Nicola Devine)

Hairy Dragonfly (male), 14 May 2020 (Nicola Devine)

Broad-bodied Chaser (female), 20 May 2020 (Nicola Devine)

Downy Emerald dragonfly (23 May 2020, Nicola Devine)

Large Red damselfly, 20 April 2020 (Nicola Devine)

Blue-tailed damselfly (violacea form), 17 May 2020 (Nicola Devine)

Azure damselfly (female blue form) (Nicola Devine, 17 May 2020)

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Another Weasel! Or the same one that Nicola Devine photographed on 10 March, this time caught on camera in a different area of the Trap Grounds on 15 April.

Weasel, Trap Grounds, 15/04/2020 (Nicola Devine)

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Nicola Devine's intimate portrait of a Chiffchaff, encountered in the woodland on 9 April.

Chiffchaff, Trap Grounds, 09/04/2020 (Nicola Devine)

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Ben Atwell (aged 10) got this close up to a hungry Heron in the Trap Grounds on 22 March.

Trap Grounds, 22 March 2020 (Ben Atwell)

Saturday, March 21, 2020


Nicola Devine's extraordinary photo confirms the long-suspected presence of at least one Weasel on the Trap Grounds.

Weasel, Trap Grounds, 11 March 2020 ( Nicola Devine)

Caught on Nicola's camera: a magnificent Sparrowhawk, just minutes after mating in a tall tree on the Trap Grounds.

Sparrowhawk, Trap Grounds (Nicola Devine, 7 March 2020)


Nicola photographed this grisly-looking (and poisonous) False Morel (Gyromitra esculenta) on 20 March.

False Morel (Nicola Devine, Trap Grounds, 20 March 2020)

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Monday, March 2, 2020

Kingfishers are making a welcome return to the TG, after what seems like a long absence. A pair have been seen on several occasions in the past ten days. And three at once on one occasion.

Male kingfisher, Trap Grounds, 19 February 2020 (Nicola Devine)

Our resident birds are sprucing themselves up, ready for mating.

Robin, Trap Grounds (N. Devine, 1 March 2020)

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Signs of spring at the Trap Grounds today.

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

Friday, February 14, 2020

Nicola has been photographing patterns on the TG recently. Can anyone identify any of these lichens?

Linda Losito managed to identify this fungus as 'Witches' Butter' (Tremella mesenterica), previously recorded on Shotover and at Radley Lakes.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Buzzard up to no good

This handsome (but not entirely welcome) Buzzard, photographed by Nicola Devine, was hanging around the Trap Grounds for long periods on 29 and 30 January, to the dismay of the smaller birds.

Buzzard, Trap Grounds, 29 January 2020 (Nicola Devine)

Monday, January 27, 2020

Nicola Devine found this rare slime mould on the Trap Grounds on 25 January 2020. Only 5 previous records of Badhamia utricularis in Oxfordshire in the last 100 years, and only 2 records in the last 40 years, both around Shotover. Rufus the Frog Lane robin obligingly posed for the photo, to give an idea of the scale of the mould.

Badhamia utricularis (a slime mould), Trap Grounds 25.1.2020, Nicola Devine

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Clare Weiner writes: This morning a Jay did a fly-past for us, showing off its beautiful pink and blue feathers, then hopped about in the grass feeding. We also saw the first snowdrops flowering in a sheltered spot beside the boardwalk (many more to follow in other places), and the Coltsfoot in Polly’s Glade and the Butterbur near the Bird Hide are both starting to push up through the earth.

Jay (Clare Weiner, Trap Grounds, 18 January 2020)

First snowdrops of the year (Clare Weiner, Trap Grounds 18 January 2020)

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 Hedge 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)