• Oxfordshire Museum

Oxfordshire Museum, Woodstock

Big, scary dinosaurs are perennially popular with young and old alike and, as we continue to learn about them through the fossil record, the fascination with these long extinct creatures is constantly refreshed.

No doubt this is one of the reasons why the Dinosaur Garden at the Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock has been such a success. Not only has it attracted generous funding of £325,000 from Viridor Credits through the Landfill Communities Fund, it also received a prestigious award from the Royal Horticultural Society.

The garden was built to display fossil footprints thought to have been created by a member of the megalosaurus species that walked the earth around 160 million years ago. The footprints were unearthed at Viridor's Ardley landfill and recycling centre in Oxfordshire 1997 and had to be carefully prepared before they could be moved.

Viridor Credits gave museum owners, Oxfordshire County Council, more than £325,000 to help preserve, transport and conserve the footprints. They are now the highlight of a walled garden built especially to show them off in a convincing Jurassic setting, rich in appropriate plant species. A life-size replica of a carnivorous megalosaurus has been included to add to the impact and the fun.

In 2009, shortly after its official opening, the garden was nominated for the Royal Horticultural Award for the Best Garden to Interpret Local Roots in the Thames Valley region by the chairman of Woodstock in Bloom, Pauline Richardson. To the delight of all concerned, it won. Judges praised the garden saying that it was one of the most imaginative interpretations of a heritage site that they had ever seen.

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