from Didcot’s oaks and other notable trees | Link
Documenting most of the trees on the site. Not sure of the date.
Didcot is one of Oxfordshire’s designated growth towns. Valley Park is a proposed westward extension of Didcot with the A4130 at its northern boundary and the majority of its construction in open farmland to the north of the Didcot Road, with a smaller part south of the Didcot Road. (Although most of Didcot is in South Oxfordshire district, Valley Park is in the Harwell parish of Vale of White Horse district.) As described in Planning Application P14/V2873/O, approved on 28 July 2021, Valley Park is to be “a residential development of up to 4,254 dwellings, mixed use local centres, primary schools, sports pitches, community and leisure facilities, special needs school, open space and extensive green infrastructure, hard and soft landscaping, attenuation areas [temporarily storing storm water], diversions to public rights of way, pedestrian and vehicular access and associated works”.
NORTH The northern section of Valley Park can be accessed from Harwell via Cow Lane (Oxfordshire footpath 243/1). This continues all the way to the A4130, giving an alternative access from the north. There is also footpath access to Cow Lane from Great Western Park via footpaths 243/23 and 243/25 which start to the north-west of Boundary Park, near the western end of Raven Road. Note that there is no permitted access to any farmland except on footpaths – posted notices by the landowner remind visitors to keep out of particular fields.
NORTH (WESTERN FIELDS) There is another footpath (Oxfordshire 243/3) that can be accessed from the A4130 just east of New Farm, however some locations where there should be stiles are almost impassable over barbed wire fences. This footpath used to go to Harwell via Barrow Road, but although the Harwell end of the footpath 243/3 is still in place, the complete route between the A4130 and Harwell is severed by the A34. This northern section of (what remains of) the footpath gives access to fields which are proposed to form the main part of Valley Park’s northern neighbourhood. Noticing that the fields were in use by others including dog walkers, and not seeing any prohibition notices, the following photos will form a lasting record of what the Valley Park area was like before development into homes where approximately 10,000 people will live. The timeless agricultural landscapes dotted with mature oak trees will never be the same again.
SOUTH This part of the future Valley Park is currently difficult to access. The area is privately-owned farmland, and the photographs on this page were only obtained after seeing that in places there are no fences or prohibition notices and the field margins appeared to be in regular use by dog-walkers.