The Friends of The Trap Grounds

News / Renewed Threat to the Trap Grounds

Posted on 6th May, 2012

A small minority of local residents are campaigning for the City Council to create an entrance into the Trap Grounds woodland from the end of Navigation Way. The Friends of the Trap Grounds are opposed to the proposal for the following reasons.

The Trap Grounds is a very small and vulnerable site. The number of visitors has increased dramatically since we began our regular maintenance work, and in the opinion of our environmental advisers the site has now reached the limit of what it can sustain in terms of visitor numbers without serious damage to the wildlife populations, in particular rare resident species such as Water Vole, Glow Worm, and Water Rail (not to mention the visiting Otter). (Click on ‘Wildlife’ above for a full list of all the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and plants of the Trap Grounds.) …… The woodland and scrubland area was accorded Town Green status in the House of Lords on the basis of its recreational use for the enjoyment of wildlife, not for use as a thoroughfare. If the proposed gate is installed, the woodland will inevitably be used as a short cut to the Summertown shops, the numbers of casual visitors will greatly increase, and the whole purpose of the Town Green designation will be invalidated. …… An additional entrance from the south will lead to fly-tipping and the dumping of green waste; encourage access by young people on bicycles and skateboards; increase the likelihood of anti-social activities such as drug dealing and all-night ‘raves’; and lead to pressure to open up a tarmac path across the site to link the Waterways estate with St Philip and St James Primary School. ……  For anyone seriously interested in observing wildlife on the Trap Grounds, there is perfectly good access along Frog Lane, reached by a pleasant three- or four-minute walk northwards along the canal towpath from Aristotle Lane. …… For people who want to take their children to let off steam, or exercise their dogs, there are three alternative sites very close by: Aristotle Lane Recreation Ground, Port Meadow, and Burgess Field. If the city council has money to spend on local recreation facilities, the cash would be better spent on improving the Aristotle Lane recreation ground. …… There is no need for vehicular access from Navigation Way, because maintenance machinery can be brought on to the site via Frog Lane (as demonstrated by our deployment of a one-ton digger and a one-ton crusher without difficulty) …… We are accused by a small minority of local residents of wanting to manage the Trap Grounds as a private nature reserve. But we have worked hard in the past ten years to improve access by creating paths and glades, and installing a boardwalk for wheelchair users and young families. We regularly organise appropriate activities such as our annual May Morning Birdsong Walk, and Bats and Glow-Worms Expeditions – not to mention the weekly meetings of the After-School Environment Club; but the woodland is a very small and sensitive area (only four acres in all), and it cannot sustain the disturbance that would be created by large numbers of casual users.

We appeal to everyone who cares about the survival of this rare patch of wilderness and its wildlife population to vote against the proposal currently being promoted by the committee of the St Margaret’s Area Society. To join the Friends of the Trap Grounds and help to fund our work, please click on the link to ‘The Friends’ (above).