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Oak Hill Park and Oak Hill Woods Local Nature Reserve Barnet

Summary

Oak Hill Woods date back to at least the C11th when they were owned by the church, and may have been the source of timber for building St Albans Abbey. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries church lands were sold in 1536-8 and incorporated into the Oak Hill Estate; it remained in private ownership until 1928. In 1930 East Barnet Council acquired the land and Oak Hill Park was opened in 1933, including the woodland, which was established as a Nature Reserve in 1997.

Basic Details

Previous / Other name:
Oak Hill Estate

Site location:
Church Hill Road/Parkside Gardens/Daneland/Vernon Crescent, East Barnet

Postcode:
EN4 8JS ( Google Map)

Type of site:
Public Park; Public Open Land

Date(s):
1933

Designer(s):

Listed structures:
None

Borough:
Barnet

Site ownership:
LB Barnet

Site management:
Park: Leisure and Youth Services, Green Spaces Division/Friends of Oak Hill Park. Woods: London Wildlife Trust

Open to public?
Yes

Opening times:
unrestricted

Special conditions:

Facilities:
Café, toilets, bowling green, pavilion, multi-sports courts, tennis courts, football pitches, golf course, playgrounds

Events:
East Barnet Festival

Public transport:
Tube: Cockfosters, Arnos Grove (Piccadilly) then walk. Rail: Oakleigh Park; New Barnet then bus. Bus 184, 125, 307, 382

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/05/2009
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.barnet.gov.uk; www.wildlondon.org.uk

Further Information

Grid ref:
TQ278951 (528020,194950)

Size in hectares:
45.51 (woods 5.5)

Green Flag:
No

On EH National Register :
No

EH grade:
None

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
No

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:
No

Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
No

In Conservation Area:
No

Tree Preservation Order:
Not known

Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Boro Importance I (woods)

Green Belt:
No

Metropolitan Open Land:
Yes

Special Policy Area:
Yes (part) Area of Special Archaeological Significance

Other LA designation:
Premier Park. Local Nature Reserve; Green Chain/Capital Ring/London Loop

Oak Hill Park and Oak Hill Woods Local Nature Reserve

Oak Hill Park, September 2000. Photo: S Williams

Click photo to enlarge.

Fuller information

Oak Hill Woods date back before the C11th when they were in the ownership of the church; it is possible that oak timber from here was used to construct monastic buildings in St Albans. After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536-8, the church lands were sold and incorporated into the Oak Hill Estate. The southern part of the present park is shown as fields on John Rocque's map of the area of 1754. The Baring family owned land here from the 1860s until 1928. Over time the estate came into public ownership and in 1930 East Barnet Council purchased land. In 1933 the then owner, the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, Viscount Hampden, opened Oak Hill Park for public recreation including the woodland.

Oak Hill Woods, which were declared a Local Nature Reserve by LB Barnet in 1997, contain many mature trees, such as pendunculate oak, hornbeam, ash and the Wild Service Tree, an indicator species of ancient woodlands. There are also trees planted in Victorian times, such as cedar of Lebanon, London Plane. The woods are maintained as a nature reserve and there are a number of marked tree trails running through it. The Pymmes Brook runs through the park bordered by willows, with a couple of small tributaries flowing down through the woods into the Brook. The southern section of the park has a number of recreational facilities. The bandstand, now missing its roof, is in a field surrounded by a curved hedge and row of pleached lime trees abutting the golf course and Oak Hill Woods.

Adjacent to the woods are the private grounds of Oak Hill Theological College, which was formerly part of the Oak Hill Estate and the location of the late C18th Oak Hill House, now used by the college. This was the home of the Young family in the 1860s who is thought to be responsible for planting many of the exotic trees on the estate.

Sources consulted:

LB Barnet leaflets; Jan Hewlett, Ian Yarham, David Curson, 'Nature Conservation in Barnet' (London Ecology Unit, 1997).

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