WEST Oxford was this weekend treated to a community arts project celebrating the links between the local community and its nearby river.

The 'Midsummer meander' saw more than 20 pieces of work placed around a 'window wanderland', which included venues in Botley Road, Bridge Street, South Street and Abbey Road, on Saturday and Sunday.

Funded by a wider £9,900 National Lottery Heritage Fund grant, the trail kicked off a year-long set of river-themed activities in the area.

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The community was invited to contribute to the free event – enjoyed by around 300 people – which featured a 'plastic waste river life' work made by students at West Oxford Community Primary School with local artist Groovy Su.

Those were displayed at Osney Island's Osney Lock Hydro - the first community owned hydro on the Thames, that started generating electricity in 2015.

Saskya Huggins, director of the member-owned venue, said: “Our community has been harnessing the power of the river for centuries.

Oxford Mail:

"In medieval times, there were up to a dozen watermills situated on this stretch of the river. The 19th Century saw Oxford’s first electric power station built in West Oxford, burning coal to turn river water into steam to drive the turbines.

"Now we are using the power of the water to generate electricity.”

The arts project was delivered in partnership with local charity Low Carbon West Oxford.

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Mim Saxl, Lead Programme Manager at the environmental organisation, added: “The project gave local people the chance to learn about the ecology of our river.

"Our local streams and river are home to a whole host of species of fish, as well as otters, kingfishers, herons and more.

"We are really looking forward to working with the local community to discover its hidden depths."

Oxford Mail:

Other work included a series of 'ENOUGH' installations to echo the original red letters used during the 2007 floods, including one made from plastic collected from the local river, on display at Tumbling Bay Cafe and a river-themed graffiti board at West Oxford Community Association.

The lottery money is for a wider project called 'Osney Lock Hydro: Unlocking The Power of Our River', which aims to 'celebrate the links between the local history of energy generation in West Oxford, and the local and global environment'.

Oxford Mail:

The project's second phase will take inspiration from local species, to create a human sundial featuring local plants and animals, which will be installed in the summer of 2020.

The lock already incorporates a fish pass, making the section of the river freely passable to fish for the first time in 200 years.

Mrs Huggins said the venue was 'thrilled' with the grant and that it provided a chance "to explore interconnectedness between our industrial and natural heritage."