1,000 year-old lane could become city heritage site

The Oxford Times: Local history group member the Very Rev Robert Grimley in Cuckoo Lane Picture: OX64853 Richard Cave Buy this photo Local history group member the Very Rev Robert Grimley in Cuckoo Lane Picture: OX64853 Richard Cave

HISTORY fans in Headington have welcomed the inclusion of an ancient footpath on to a new city council shortlist of potential heritage sites.

Cuckoo Lane, thought to be more than 1,000 years old, stretches from St Clement’s to Old Headington and was originally a shortcut for Headington residents who were travelling on foot to Oxford.

Veronica Hurst, chairwoman of community group Friends of Old Headington, said members would be “thrilled” if the lane gained heritage status.

She said: “It is one of the few lanes that has remained almost completely unchanged since it was first made.

“You can even find it on maps from 1769.

“Interestingly, going down it is more or less like walking through a narrow tunnel and it is very low-lying.

“That is because the owner wanted to use it for his own walks but not see other people on his land while he was out.”

Currently the path is partly covered by the Old Headington and Headington Hill conservation areas – but being listed as a heritage site could protect the remaining section, near Woodlands Road.

Robert Grimley, a retired Dean of Bristol, has lived in Headington for 12 years and said he enjoys walking the route into Oxford.

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The 70-year-old said: “In these days when we are concerned about both the growth of road traffic and pollution, it is good to have a way of walking into the city that is not on a main road.

“I am concerned about keeping the character of the area and and, of course, that of Oxford.

“I use the path because it is a very pleasant route to take and shows a number of different stages of the development of the area along the way.”

City council official Robert Sweet said that while the site is not currently in trial areas being considered as heritage sites, Cuckoo Lane would be considered for future applications.

Another possible site that may be considered in the area is All Saints Church, in Lime Walk, Headington.

The church, which was designed by English architect Sir Arthur Blomfield, was built in 1910.

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