Barracks Lane Meadow

A small (0.6ha) SLINC in the north western corner of Cowley Marsh Park. Barracks Lane Meadow is a mix of tall grasses and ant hills.

How to get there

The post code for the meadow is OX4 2AS.

Cycle and pedestrian access is from Reliance Way or Barracks Lane.

Parking is available at Cowley Marsh Park, Marsh Road. 


From old maps this tiny site is the last part of ancient Cowley Common. It would have been rough grazed, then transformed to a mowing regime for the sports field for Cowley Bus Station, which reserved the original species.

Boundary Brook from which the Meadow gets its name, was the original boundary for the Parliamentary Borough of Oxford. The brook starts in Headington before flowing by the nearby golf course and then along the edge of Cowley Marsh Park and the meadow.

More information about Boundary Brook is available on the Headington website.

Things to do


It is currently not possible to fly model aircraft or drones (both with and without camera for filming purposes) within  Oxford City Council’s public open spaces, including parks and nature reserves.

As these spaces are open to the public and experience high visitor numbers throughout the year, flying model aircraft and drones are not permitted for safety reasons.


We offer regular volunteering opportunities or working parties across Oxford. If you would like to find out more, visit our Volunteering page.


The grassland is mostly dominated by tall dense tufted hair grass Deschampsia cespitosa tussocks that are important invertebrate refuges.

Work continues to reduce their over dominance which could suppress the original floral diversity, eliminating other species and limiting flowering of plants that are nectar and pollen sources for insects.

The site is also home to some rare species; spiny rest-harrow and dropwort and rust fungus.

With wetter weather St George's Mushroom can be seen, supporting the knowledge that the site has not been ploughed.

Being an old meadow the site is also supporting:

  • Upright brome
  • Downy & meadow oat grass
  • Quaking grass
  • Spring sedge crested hair grass  
  • Heath grass 

We have also reported sightings of:

  • Common Frog
  • Brown Hairstreak
  • Cinnabar
  • Varieties of fungi
  • True-fly and bugs
  • Yellow Ant Hoverfly
  • Yellow Meadow Ant

To support these habitats and species, follow a meadow cutting regime twice a year, to simulate the rough grazing from cattle, which would have occurred hundreds of years ago.

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