Oxford University Parks

Oxford, United Kingdom

Oxford University Parks

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The Oxford University Parks, commonly referred to locally as the University Parks, or just The Parks, is a large parkland area slightly northeast of the city centre in Oxford, England. The park is bounded to the east by the River Cherwell, though a small plot of land called Mesopotamia sits between the upper and lower levels of the river. To the north of the parks is Norham Gardens and Lady Margaret Hall, to the west the Parks Road, and the Science Area on South Parks Road to the south. The park is open to the public during the day, and has gardens, large sports fields, and exotic plants. It includes a cricket ground used by Oxford University Cricket Club.

Part of the land on which the Parks is located had been used for recreation for a long time, and it formed part of the University Walks said to have been used by Charles II to walk his dog in 1685. The land originally belonged to Merton College, and in 1853/1854, the University of Oxford purchased 20 acres (8.1 ha) from Merton College to build the parks. Over an eleven-year period a total of 91 acres (37 ha) of land was eventually acquired. A portion of this land (4 acres) was set aside for the University Museum which was built between 1855 and 1860. Between 1912 and early 1950s, a further portion was used to build the Science Area, so the current site measures around 74 acres (30 ha).

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