Magnet fishers’ explosive find

Visiting magnet fishers found some unusual finds when they spent the day exploring the river bed at Osney today.

As well as a significant haul of scrap metal, their day’s ‘fishing’ also uncovered old hand grenades and an ancient musket grenade. Five of the grenades, thought to date from World War one were found to be live, resulting in the closure of the tow path while the bomb squad were called in to safely dispose of the items.

The magnet fishers represented a number of different clubs from the Midlands, including the Peaker Dippers, Dudley Dippers,  Northants Magnet Fishing and Rusty Nutz magnet fishing club.   Using large magnets to trawl the river bed, they spent the day unearthing items along the East Street side of the island.

Their other finds included two antique muff pistols,. These miniature guns were believed to date from the 1820s, and club members told us they can be often be found near old river side pubs.

grenade fished from the river bed (bottom right)

grenade fished from the river bed (bottom right)

Antique muff gun

Antique muff gun


Bomb squad in action

Bomb squad in action


Record breaking generation today

Today our our year-to-date hydro generation total passed 226,000 kWh.  This means 2021/22 is now officially our best ever year, beating our previous best ever annual generation of 225,000 kWh, achieved in the 2016/17 financial year.

A huge thank you to our members and supporters for helping make Osney Lock Hydro a fantastic example of community energy in action.




We’re the Low Carbon Hub’s group of the month

Osney Lock Hydro is one of 39 Oxfordshire based community groups who are members of Low Carbon Hub.

Each month they shine the spotlight on one of their members and January sees the turn of Osney Lock Hydro.  We were fortunate to receive grant funding from the Low Carbon Hub Community Grants programme which contributed towards the landscaping of the site.

Community Engagement Manager Cathy Ryan has written a wonderful article explaining more about the impact of their support on their website.

A huge thank you to everyone at Low Carbon Hub for their support of our project, and for helping to nurture grassroots community energy.

Community Group of the Month: Osney Lock Hydro

Could you help grow wetland plants at home?

Freshwater Habitats Trust are looking to engage local people to grow wetland plants at home, with the aim of growing plants to ‘release’ into high quality wetland habitats and restore dwindling wild populations. If you are interested in either growing these vital plants, or helping to coordinate neighbourhood or local community propagation, then please get in touch with David Morris via email:

Volunteers will be supported by the Freshwater Habitats Trust team with:

  • Home delivery of seedlings, adult plants or seed to grow at home during summer 2022, together will all the materials and information needed to do grow the plants
  • On-going support during and leading up to the growing period, including one-to-one sessions, group training sessions and online videos and other media
  • Online media to communicate the story of volunteers’ plant species, including their ecology, historic distribution and conservation needs, and the journey of their plants from the wild to conservation hubs, their homes and translocation into the wild

More information about the rare plant propagation work is online here, and will be updated as the project progresses.

Funded by the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund, this is the first project to put into practice Freshwater Habitats Trust’s new landscape-scale strategy for the protection of freshwater biodiversity — the Freshwater Network.  As well joining up and protecting key freshwater habitats and species across the county by restoring and building ponds, alkaline fens and floodplains, they’re connecting local people directly with nature conservation. They’ll be harnessing the power of the community to directly tackle the decline of some of the region’s most endangered wetland plants through a programme of community-based rare plant propagation – GroWet.

Landscaping is go!

If you’ve wandered along the river recently you might have noticed a buzz of activity at the hydro.  After many years in the planning, we are finally completing the landscaping!  Our contractors Nicholson’s are on site, levelling the ground, sealing gravel, laying the foundation for the beautiful human sundial mosaic and preparing the tiling.

Setting out the base for the mosaic

Setting out the base for the mosaic

Six years on…

What a different six years makes!  On the 8th November 2016 a team of local volunteers made short work of planting hedging plants along the boundary of the site.

The plants were donated by the Woodland Trust as part of The First World War Centenary Woods project to plant millions of native trees to commemorate the First World War.

From those tiny little sticks, we now have a well established hedge with a mix of Hawthorn, Hazel, Holly, Dog Rose and Dogwood boosting local biodiversity.



Spotlight on Osney Lock Hydro in run up to COP26

The hydro has been receiving increased attention in recent days, as the country gears up to COP26, taking place in Glasgow later this month.

We were chosen as one of the exemplary community energy case studies as part of a nationwide spot light on community energy projects.  You can read our story, and that of the very many other inspirational projects around the country at the Carbon Copy website. 
Today, we were also featured in a news item on BBC South Today, highlighting a local BBC radio pledge campaign.

Rain clouds have a silver lining

One upside of the recent heavy rains is that we’ve been generating over recent days – a far earlier start to the autumn generation season than usual. We’ll see in the next few days if the rain has filled the aquifers and rivers or if this is just a temporary bonus.

The red line shows our generation levels over the last 24 hours

Welcoming the curious minded to Open Doors

It was open_doors_2021_reedsso wonderful to welcome so many people through the gates at Oxford Open Doors this afternoon.  Once again we were blown away by the curiosity and interest show by visitors of all ages.
In total we welcomed 158 visitors onto the site of all ages.

A huge thank you to Neville, Ag and Jean, who manned the gate and supported our volunteer Directors Ruth, Barbara and Saskya as they answered 101 questions about the hydro, fish pass, community energy and the history of the project. open_doors_2021_2




All ready for Sunday’s Open Doors

We’re all set up for this year’s Oxford Open Doors this Sunday between 2pm and 5pm. We still have availability for some times slots tomorrow afternoon.  A huge thank you to everyone who has worked so hard get the site in tip top condition.

Details of how to book your free tickets below.


How do I book?

Tickets are free, but limited and booking is essential.  Please arrive within in 10 minutes of the start of your booked slot to help us manage numbers on site.

Click here to book your free ticket via eventbrite

How do I get there?

Osney Island is just a few minutes walk from Oxford train station and bus stops on the Botley Road. If travelling by car, please use the Park and Ride and take the bus to the Osney Island stop. You can see our position on a map on our website.


The tour involves walking a few 100 metres along the towpath and over rough grass. Access to the main site is via the towpath and is step-free. If you have any hearing, visibility or mobiity impairment, please contact the organisers in advance so we can understand how we can best facilitate your visit.

Social distancing

For the safety of our visitors we are restricting the number of visitors to the site and regret we will not be able to open up the power house or walkway. We ask that all visitors to the site respect social distancing guidelines at all times. To reduce ‘touch points’ on the site we will not be providing leaflets this year, but you can download a copy here: OLH information leaflet

Trace and trace register

To support the NHS track and trace register we will be retaining details of the lead member of a booking group for 21 days after the event. 

Facilities on site

Please note there are no toilets on site.

What if I can no longer attend?

We only have a limited number of places on each tour so please let us know as soon as possible if you are no longer able to attend.

How do I contact the organisers?

Please email us via the contacts page