TWO lakes in Wolvercote which were left to a preservation group in a will are to be opened to the public.

The lakes, which sit close to the railway bridge in the village, have been left to the Oxford Preservation Trust by one of its supporters, Vivian Kirk.

Members of the trust want local people to enjoy the area and are developing plans to create a nature conservation site.

The public will have an early chance to visit the lakes over the Bank Holiday, when they will be opened on Monday, May 3, between 2pm and 4pm.

Trust staff will be on hand to explain conservation ideas and to describe early discoveries of the wildlife found in and around the lakes.

They will also seek local people’s views on how to ensure the best future use of the lakes.

Trust director Debbie Dance said: “We are delighted by our newest acquisition and hope lots of people will come and see the lakes on our open day.

“There is clearly a lot of work for us to do there but we are keen to maximise the conservation potential of the site and do hope that the locals will want to engage in the work that we are doing.”

Records show that a small house on stilts once stood on the site, which in times of flooding could only be reached by punt. No trace of the house exists today.

The lakes were originally known as ‘pleasure lakes’, with local people linking their creation to either the building of the Oxford Canal or the railway.

The water features were owned by the Kirk family for two generations before they were bequeathed to the trust.

Mr Kirk also bequeathed his home in Walton Well Road, Jericho, to Stadhampton-based Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary to try to secure its future.

He died six years ago but legal complications have meant the full extent of his generosity is only now becoming clear.

The four-bedroom Victorian house was sold for £452,000.

The preservation trust owns more than 800 acres of land in and around Oxford, including water meadows, woods and pastureland.

The trust is also encouraging access to the countryside around the city with a weekend of ‘Discovering Places’ walks and events over the May Bank Holiday.