Christ Church Meadow

Entertainment & Arts

Europe, United Kingdom, Oxfordshire

Christ Church Meadow is a famous flood-meadow, and popular walking and picnic spot in Oxford, England. Roughly triangular in shape it is bounded by the River Thames (the stretch through Oxford being known as the Isis), the River Cherwell, and Christ Church. It provides access to many of the college boat houses which are on an island at the confluence of the two rivers. The lower sections of the meadow, close to the Thames, are grazed by cattle, while the upper sections have sports fields. Christ Church Meadow is owned by Christ Church, and is thus the private property of the college, however access is allowed during the day. Access starts very early to allow rowers to go to the boathouses. Eights Week and Torpids, Oxford University's two main rowing events, and Christ Church Regatta are held on the Thames here. In past times, ornamental wooden barges were moored on the river here to store boats and house spectators. However these have all now been replaced by boathouses. James Sadler made the first ascent in a balloon by an Englishman from the Meadow on 4 October 1784. The balloon rose to a height of around 3,600 feet and landed six miles away near the village of Wood Eaton near Islip to the north-east of Oxford. A plaque notes the event. The Meadow was also the location where the medieval royal pretender, John Deydras, claimed to have been persuaded by the devil to impersonate Edward II in 1318. Postwar development planned for central Oxford included a relief road passing through the meadow and joining the district of St Ebbe's. The proposal was defeated after vigorous opposition.