VISITORS to a popular country park have been asked to help shape its future.

More than 90 people attended the first Shotover Park Users Forum organised by Oxford City Council to discuss its future and help form a management plan.

It is the first stage of an initiative that could see the creation of new volunteer groups or a park watch scheme.

Managers hope to recruit volunteers to educate others and protect the park’s natural habitat.

The park, on the eastern side of the city, is a designated site of special scientific interest due to its rare acid grassland and remnants of the ancient Bernwood Forest.

The council’s consultation on tough new dog control orders that will affect city parks has attracted concern from animal charities and The Kennel Club, and is among issues being discussed.

James Dixon, Shotover’s horticultural manager, said: “The forum was extremely well attended, with approximately 90 people including representatives from residents, councillors, conservationists, wildlife enthusiasts and general visitors to the country park.

“The main objectives were to bring together all interested parties so we can work on a management plan for Shotover Country Park, including how we work with and involve volunteers, gauge feelings for a user and friends group and how we manage the site on a day-to-day basis.”

The 100-hectare common was once part of the Royal Forest of Shotover and has been managed by the city council since the 1970s.

Mr Dixon added: “Natural England were also involved in the meeting and will be working with the city council in the future.

“A 3D model of Shotover was also taken to the meeting allowing people to add their comments and suggestions for improvements.”

A second meeting is planned for March.

For more information call 01865 252240 or visit