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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Saturday, 31 December 2016

Saturday Third Walk : Rivers Isis and Cherwell, Oxford Canal, Wolvercote Common, the City Centre & its Colleges, Oxford Castle and its Mound

Book 1 Walk 13 – Oxford Circular (revised route with options to extend) [planned for 29 Dec, moved due to railworks]

Length:  16.3 km (10.1 mi) [longer walk possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent:  a few steps up from street level to the station and several arched footbridges
Net Walking Time: ca. 4 hours
Toughness:  1 out of 10 
Take the 10.05 Oxford train from  Marylebone, arrives Oxford 11.09.
Return trains: 15.09, 15.43, 16.11, 16.42, 17.11, 17.41, 18.07… (from 65 minutes journey time).

This is an undemanding but enjoyable short Country Walk, ending in an exploration of this historic university city, with its University’s Colleges and the Norman Castle compound.
The walk starts along the Isis River to Binsey, a favourite walk for the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. With Port Meadow on the other side of the river, you walk to the ruins of Godstow Abbey, before coming to the Trout Inn at Wolvercote (a lunch option) then take in a bit of Wolvercote Common before coming to the Plough Inn (a second option for lunch).
After lunch the walk heads south along the Oxford Canal, past some houseboats, then across town and via a footbridge by Wolfson College to go along the River Cherwell through its Nature Reserve, where buttercups are abundant in May. Going through the University Parks, you come to the Pitt Rivers Museum. From here you start your walking tour of Oxford’s historic colleges and famous buildings, winding in and out of lanes and small streets as the walk fits in many of the colleges as well as the Norman Castle Compound with the Castle Mound and the former Victorian Prison (now a hotel), before you stop for tea and finally head for the railway station.

Three separate Short Extensions to the route are possible:
--- an out-and-back in the morning to Binsey Village with its lovely church and well adds 2.0 km (1.3 mi);
--- a loop around lunch through the Wolvercote Lakes, a Nature Reserve owned by the Oxford Preservation Trust, adds 0.5 km (0.3 mi);
--- a loop after lunch through the Trap Grounds, a local Wildlife Site, adds 0.6 km (0.4 mi).

If you are fast enough, you can visit Modern Art Oxford, a renowned art gallery open to 16.00 hours today, for their Kaleidoscope exhibition, celebrating their first 50 years.

There are four good pubs en route, before you get to Oxford, the two best positioned ones for lunch are some twenty minutes apart. The first of those is The Trout Inn in Wolvercote (4.4 km/2.8 mi). This pub enjoys a lovely setting beside the River. On the other side of Wolvercote Common is The Plough Pub & Restaurant in Wolvercote Green (6.2 km/3.9 mi). This pub is more homely than the Trout Inn and less touristy. For tea, you are spoilt for choice for cafes, restaurants and pubs in the city centre. For details consult the Walk Directions.

For walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=1.13


Marcus said...

Expect very long queues at the Marylebone ticket office over the holiday period (there were on Thursday) so leave plenty of time before your stated departure. Your Oxford train will also be bombed out by Far-Eastern visitors heading for Bicester Village - so be close to the barriers when the train is announced: it's along way to stand before you reach Bicester.
On arrival at Oxford station you may find the start of the Thames path at the beginning of your walk closed, with its diversion poorly marked. So I suggest the following: coming out of the station, turn left. At the end of the concourse keep ahead on a green coloured cycle path, which soon swings to the right. Now pick up signs to the Thames Canal, and follow them through a residential area until you come to the canal. Here turn left and head down to go under the railway (restricted headroom) and keep ahead for the short distance until you reach the Thames path, with a footbridge on your left. Turn right onto the path - and continue with the Book's directions.
For lunch on Thursday, the Plough at Wolvercote Green looked after my family very well.

Thomas G said...

From Ealing: 09.18 direct, arr. 11.06 or 09.33 via P'ton and Reading

Thomas G said...

The Tames Path diversion is a bit more straightforward from memory, having walk-checked my writeup a few weeks ago, it's only 100m or so that are affected due to some housebuilding. Take the residential road to the right just b4 the Thames and turn left in 100m or so to join the Thames Path. Just follow me...

Thomas G said...

Just n=4 walkers on this today, in w=gloomy-but-dry weather, who did the extension to St. Margaret's church and well, had an ultra-fast lunch at The Plough, and then split in Oxford, with 3 going to Modern Art Oxford, 1 following the route straight to the train. The 3 then also climbed the Castle Mound (well worth the £1 fee). 16.30 train.

Thomas G said...

...oh, and the outbound train was only half full, despite Bicester Village being open all day...