Where can I find wild garlic (Allium ursinum) in Oxford?
Wild garlic‘s a difficult one. This bit of Oxfordshire doesn’t quite have the right soil and landscape for it, so there’s nowhere locally with the full woodland-carpet of garlic that you can find elsewhere in the country. There are a few patches, but nowhere in Oxford where I’d be comfortable with harvesting a lot (I usually get batches from friends in Gloucestershire, Dorset and Hampshire).
1) There’s some near Jarn Mound in Boar’s Hill. Most is within the nature reserve, so perhaps good for tasting a leaf or two, but definitely not for picking. Approximately here… https://zoom.earth/#51.716587,-1.294016,17z,map. If you’re lucky enough to find any on non-nature-reserve land, it might be good for a few handfuls, but still not enough for a proper harvest.
2) There’s a big clump in Headington, but mostly alongside a footpath so I’m not sure how clean/useable it is. It’s about here… https://zoom.earth/#51.767534,-1.212444,16z,map – there are clumps alongside the footpath that runs north from the Ruskin College buildings to the ring-road (I’ve not been up there for a year or two, but I presume it’s still there).
3) There was quite a bit in Woodeaton Wood, but it’s a few miles north of Oxford. In 2016 there were some fairly big patches on the southern edge of this woodland – https://zoom.earth/#51.795319,-1.21489,16z,map .
4) I’ve not visited it myself, but people have recommended the woodlands near Ramsbury (about 12 miles north-west of Oxford). The name is apparently derived from ‘ramsons’, an old name for wild garlic, and it was historically a centre for wild-garlic production. It’s a bit of a drive or bike-ride, but I’ve been told there’s still a lot in the woods.
Wherever you go, please be careful of taking too much – there’s not a lot of it around, so we need to be extra careful about leaving enough for it to survive and reseed.
And please do let me know if you know of any local patches that you’re happy to share – or just add it to the map.