A NEW group is working hard to maintain ancient woodland at the heart of an Oxford estate.

Wood Farm residents have formed the Friends of Magdalen Woods West group in order to spruce up their local nature reserve.

Chairman Roger Jenking, who lives in Joan Lawrence Place, said: “We want people to get the idea that the woods can be used as a community asset.

“We hope to encourage its use and increase the pleasure people get from it.

“I have been using the woods myself for around 30 years. People use the woods to get to work and to walk their dogs. Children run around the wood as well.

“It is generally used very well and there is very little vandalism going on in the woods.”

Mr Jenking, 64, hopes the group will copy the success of other such groups around the city such as the Friends of Bury Knowle Park or Friends of Warneford Meadow.

Last week the group organised its first event when nearly 30 people went out planting bulbs around Atkyns Road.

They were there with members of Oxford City Council’s community response team and local businesses have agreed to help water the new plants.

Mark Lygo, who represents the area on the city council, was out this week helping residents tidy the area up.

He said: “I am really pleased that the whole community is engaged in this.

“We are getting the schools involved in litter-picking in the woods and we have put a couple of bird-boxes up. I think a lot of people will get involved in this.”

The ancient woodland is owned by the city council which has been supporting the group.

It stretches from Atkyns Road all the way to the Eastern Bypass and is just over 10 hectares in size.