Wytham Woods Bequest (1942)

Keepers’ Hill Car Park, Wytham OX2 8QQ

Wytham Woods, formerly part of the Wytham Abbey Estate, were given to the University of Oxford by Deed of Covenant in 1942 by Raymond and Hope ffennell in memory of their beloved daughter Hazel who had died in 1939. The covenant stipulated that the woodland, to be known as the “Woods of Hazel”, was to be maintained and used for education and scientific research. Its 1000 acres are a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and are one of the most researched pieces of woodland in the world, exceptionally rich in flora and fauna, with over 500 species of plants, a wealth of woodland habitats, and 800 species of butterflies and moths.

For more details of Raymond, Hope, and Hazel ffennell, for whom a Blue Plaque was unveiled at Hill End Centre nearby on 20 August 2016, see their page on this website.

The plaque, which is set on a plinth made of solid oak, was unveiled by Simon Ffennell, great nephew of Raymond ffennell, on 7 October 2017 in celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the ffennell Bequest to the University of Oxford. The introductory speakers were Dr Nick Brown, Chair of the Wytham Woods Committee, and Cllr Reg Waite, Chair of the Vale of White Horse District Council.  Professor Chris Perrins, EGI, Department of Zoology, spoke on “75 years of Science” and Mr Mervyn Hughes on “The ffennell family”. 

Unveiling ceremony:

NB Visitors are welcome to visit Wytham Woods but a permit must be obtained in advance.  Follow the “Walking Permit Application” link here on the Wytham Woods website.


Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board


were given in 1942
to the University of Oxford for
education, research and recreation
by Raymond and Hope ffennell
in memory of their daughter

University of Oxford

© Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board


Email: oxfordshireblueplaques@gmail.com