Oxford Stories

Excerpt from “Oxford” by Tom Lovatt-Williams

I see the coloured lilacs flame
In many an ancient Oxford lane
And bright laburnum holds its bloom
Suspended golden in the noon,
The placid lawns I often tread
Are stained and carpeted with red…

These lines from Lovatt-Williams’ poem ‘Oxford’ capture perfectly the beauty of this city over the last few weeks.  Lockdown has definitely made me far more appreciative of the  way nature is changing around us here in Oxford as we take our ‘daily exercise’.  And now with online learning underway across the world, here in Oxford a number of children are learning the story of their city.  Oxford has an extraordinarily rich history with so many avenues to explore. Of course there are many famous children’s authors from Oxford to explore too, including Lewis Carroll, J.R.R.Tolkein, C.S. Lewis and Phillip Pulman.

One Oxford school has put together this website Oxford What’s Your Story? to help children explore and get to know their everyday surroundings during lockdown.  Some wonderful resources can be found there. I’m reading one of their recommendations to the children at the moment – Oxford By a Very Oxford Cat.  The cat takes the readers on an engaging and informative adventure around the city with details about the city itself, the university and the stories that have come from here.  It’s an imaginative introduction to one of the most famous cities in the world full of dry British wit.

Here are a few Oxford gems below for primary aged children:




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Getting to Know Wild Flowers

Open Your Eyes!

To shop, and school, to work and play,
The busy people pass all day;
They hurry, hurry, to and fro,
And hardly notice as they go
The wayside flowers, known so well,
Whose names so few of them can tell.

They never think of fairy-folk
Who may be hiding for a joke!

O, if these people understood
What’s to be found by field and wood;
What fairy secrets are made plain
By any footpath, road, or lane—
They’d go with open eyes, and look,
(As you will, when you’ve read this book)
And then at least they’d learn to see
How pretty common things can be!

— Cicely Mary Barker


With hardly a shop or school to go to, one of the silver linings for us during lockdown has been time to walk or run most days.  Without the rush of normal life, we have had time to appreciate the wild flowers growing along nearby pavements, paths and in meadows and woodlands. Continue reading