RESIDENTS are hoping to nurture a “haven of peace and wildlife” in Headington by creating a group to help run and maintain one of its parks.

The Friends of Headington Hill Park could run events, fundraise to improve the area and comment on planning applications affecting the park.

They hope to replicate the success of the Friends of Bury Knowle Park and the newly-created Friends of South Park.

Park user Marie Power floated the idea last week on Headington Forum and has already received support from residents and councillors.

She said: “Headington Park is such a little gem for the communities of St Clement’s, Headington and Marston.

“It needs to be nurtured and looked after.

“I go there on a daily basis and it is one of Oxford’s best kept secrets. It is a haven of peace and wildlife.”

“I know that South Park has recently put a friends group together and I think Headington Hill Park needs to be befriended, so that is why I want to drum up a bit of interest.”

She said “quite a bit” of interest had already been shown and hoped the group would be formed early next year.

Mrs Power added: “I hope this will ensure that the park remains as a resource for the community, that it is well looked after, that it is biodiverse and that things are done for the benefit of the community – that we are there as long-term guardians of the park’s future.”

Asked what kind of ideas she hoped to implement, she said: “There is no toilet provision at the moment for a start.

“There are lots of individuals who use the park that do good things, and this would be a focus for coordinating those things and perhaps getting more bang for our buck.”

Headington Action chairman Patrick Coulter said: “We think it’s a great idea.

“South Park has just got a friends group set up and Headington Hill Park is now the only one in the area that does not have a friends group.

“It is a very popular park and needs to be looked after and given the support that a friends group will give.

“They bring the park on and work like a family looking after it.”

He said Headington Action would be willing to help the friends group financial to “get them going”.

Friends of Bury Knowle Park, which has been going for about five years, works with Oxford City Council parks department and police to improve the park.

Chairwoman Rosemary Belton said: “We do things like planting – last year we put in a tree for the Jubilee celebrations – and we keep an eye on things that affect the park, if there are developments or changes of use, and try and generally promote more things to happen in the park.

“It is important because we can challenge the parks department a bit and get them to allocate nice things for the park.

“It is also an opportunity to get charitable funding that the parks department cannot apply for but a friends group can.”

She said since the friends group had been involved the park had achieved a Green Flag Award, which recognises the UK’s green spaces.

s For more information or to get involved with the Friends of Headington Hill, contact Mrs Power on power_marie@