The Human Sundial
Celebrating our local flora and fauna
Our mosaic human sundial celebrates our community’s centuries old relationship with the river, and the diverse wildlife it supports.
The mosaic was designed and created by local artist Josie Webber. The mosaic features more than 20 native plants and animals nominated for inclusion by local people. The mosaic also incorporates pottery fragments found in local gardens and allotments, including fragments of clay pipes.
How to tell the time
To tell the time, stand on the central board by the line marking the appropriate month. The position of your shadow on the marker stones reveals the time.
Please note the sundial has been aligned to British Summer Time, as that is when we have most visitors – and sunshine – on site.
You can find out more about the flora and fauna it features in our resources section
Osney Lock Hydro: Unlocking the power of our river
The creation of the sundial was part of a larger project celebrating our centuries-old relationship with the river in West Oxford.
We were thrilled to be awarded a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £9,900 to support a a series of community-based arts projects that celebrated the links between the local history of energy generation in West Oxford, and the local and global environment.
Supported through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project kicked off in 2019 with a river-inspired ‘Midsummer Meander – a river- themed arts trail across West Oxford. People from across the community joined together to celebrate our centuries-old connection with the river. The trail also featured art works created by local school- children.
The arts project was delivered in partnership with local charity Low Carbon West Oxford.
At its launch, Mim Saxl, Lead Programme Manager at Low Carbon West Oxford, said “The project will give local people the chance to learn about the ecology of our river. Our local streams and river are home to a whole host of species of fish, as well as otters, kingfishers, herons and more. We are really looking forward to working with the local community to discover its hidden depths!”
The second phase of the project took inspiration from these native species to create a human sundial featuring local plants and animals.
We were thrilled to have been awarded this grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. As we face the growing threat of climate change, the project gives us the opportunity to explore the interconnectedness between our industrial and natural heritage. The hydro shows that it is possible to harness the power of nature, in a way that can also enhance the ecology around us.
It took 14 years, over £700,000 and thousands of hours of volunteer time, but in May 2015 the first community-owned hydro scheme on the Thames started to generate green electricity.