A PANORAMIC view which inspired poetry about Oxford’s "dreaming spires" has become obscured by foliage.

Trees reach from the ground surround Jarn Mound in Boars Hill, interrupting views of the skyline - and conservationists fear it will be impossible to restore the original outlook. 

Philip Stewart has lived in Boars Hill for 40 years and is a member of Oxford Preservation Trust which owns the mound.

The 77-year-old said: "The view from the top is hidden by trees all around.

"Boars Hill was completely bare 150 years ago.

"People started building houses and putting up walls and Jarn Mound was constructed in order to be able to see over.

"It's a terrible shame - it's a great pity Boars Hill wasn't turned into a national park when it was still bare.

"It would be wonderful if we could restore the view but it is hopeless - the trees are anything from 50 to 300 yards away in people's gardens - nothing can be done."

Jarn Mound was built by archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans in 1931 to preserve the view of Oxford.

The 15-metre-high vantage point has since become suffocated by spindling branches and bramble-burdened hedgerows.

And a stone table which sits in the middle of the mound and used to point out landmarks has been wrecked by vandals who burnt it.

Oxford Preservation Trust has owned the land since 1929 along with other sites in Boars Hill – an area which inspired Victorian poet Matthew Arnold to write his famous words about "that sweet city with her dreaming spires."

The gardens which surround the mound are being restored by volunteer group Abingdon Green Gym, which has started looking after the neglected space.

Group member James White, a retired businessman, said: "There are about half a dozen lovely stone benches that were covered with lichen and moss.

"There are lots of steps leading into gullies which we cleared as well, decades of the stuff.

"There were trees growing where they shouldn't be so we chopped those up - it's a big start.

"On the mound you can't see the spires of Oxford because it's obstructed by trees in the garden and trees further away in farmers' fields.

"It's highly unlikely we could restore the view to Oxford - we are focusing on restoring the garden.”

The group, which has been running for about 12 years, consists of dozens of volunteers who dedicate their Saturday mornings to breathing life back into nature sites.

Mr White, who lives in Abingdon, described it as "heavy work” as they don't use any power tools.

Rachel Sanderson, land officer at Oxford Preservation Trust, said: "We are very grateful for their help.

"We raised some funds to improve the garden because it's been neglected."

She hoped one day they could tackle the ambitious task of recovering the view from the mound itself, but said it was a "large restoration project which would need a lot of money."