Recently my friends and I have discovered a hidden gem in Oxford: University Parks. This expanse of green grass, woodsy alcoves, and a meandering river is the perfect place for a study break in the midst of reading literary criticism and writing essays. The weather here has actually been surprisingly nice thus far, so we’ve spent plenty of beautiful afternoons strolling on these paths. I’ve taken so many photos of this gorgeous place– I’ll try to restrain myself from including dozens of them in this post!
Uni Parks was created in the nineteenth century when the land was initially purchased from Merton College. Back then it was used by grazing sheep and cattle as much as by people leisurely walking. Today there are still some animals to be found munching on grass, mostly on small farms that border the Parks’ land. One day my friends and I stumbled upon a farm with several horses and we now visit several times a week when we need to step away from the books. (We named this white horse Marshmallow!!)
I was pleasantly surprised and very relieved to realize how much green space exists in Oxford. I’m from a fairly rural area back in the States and before coming here I was worried that Oxford would be solely an urban area with very little nature in it. Fortunately, that’s definitely not the case! Uni Parks is only one of many green spaces in the city, but it’s by far the best one I’ve encountered. Walking through nature paths like this is like the ultimate reset button for me: all of my stress goes away as soon as I see those adorable horses and smell the fallen leaves on the ground. There’s nothing like some time outside to make everything inside feel better!
If you’re ever in the Oxford area, I highly recommend giving Uni Parks a try! It’s free, fun, and a lovely way to spend the afternoon.
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Do you go to parks often? Which ones are your favorite? What would you have named that lovely white horse instead of Marshmallow? Let me know in the comments section below!