RESIDENTS are celebrating after their park became the first city site officially recognised by the Wildlife Trust.

Raleigh Park, between Botley and North Hinksey, has been made a Local Wildlife Site by the trust.

It means the 27-acre park, home to roe and muntjac deer, kestrels, badgers and songbirds, will be protected to save its rare or threatened species.

Over the past three years the 12 members of the Friends of Raleigh Park have cut back brambles, cleared the park’s paths and three ponds and rebuilt its waterfall.

Chairwoman of the Friends of Raleigh Park Jenny Barker said: “We are really pleased. It is exciting because it is not that well used.

“In some ways that is good but the more people who use it the more people can do to preserve it. It is not a park but a wildlife park.”

The 27 acres of parkland are managed by Oxford City Council and maintained by the Friends, who meet there every Sunday from 2pm to 4pm.

Their next project is to repair the sides of the pond and lay bricks and stones underneath to keep it full of water.

They hope to start that work next month.

City councillor Mark Lygo, board member for parks, sports and events, said: “This is a great achievement for all involved in maintaining this popular park.”

The park was chosen as part of the Oxfordshire Local Wildlife Sites Project.

The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust and Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre manages the project.

  • To join the Friends group, people are asked to call the city council on 01865 249811.