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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.

Blog Archive

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Sunday walk: Oxfordshire countryside, villages and a wildfowl reserve

Islip Circular
Length: 17.2km (10.7miles) Toughness: 3/10

09:35 Oxford train from Marylebone arriving at Islip at 10:27.

Return trains are at 15:18, 17:18 and 19:18 (journey time 1 hour). If you get back to Islip too late for the 15:18, one option is to go to the pub for refreshments and then catch the 16:28 towards Oxford, changing at Oxford Parkway for the 16:47 to Marylebone.
If you find that the return trains from Islip are inconveniently timed, you could opt to finish the walk at Oxford Parkway, which has a fast half-hourly service to Marylebone at xx:17 (or xx:15) and xx:47.

This is only the second outing for this fairly new walk which explores the quiet countryside north-east of Oxford. The route is mostly across rolling fields and woods and takes in several pretty villages, a couple of interesting churches, and a notable RSPB wetland nature reserve, Otmoor.

There is an option to shorten the morning part of the walk by 1.5km, though that omits the section through Otmoor. Later there is an option to finish the walk at Oxford Parkway station, though the final stretch here is less attractive than finishing in Islip.

The recommended (indeed, the only) lunchtime pub is the Abingdon Arms (01865 655667) in Beckley, an old inn that was threatened with permanent closure until a successful campaign to save it resulted in it being re-opened last year as a community-owned pub.

You will find the walk directions and other information on the Islip Circular Walk page. It can be downloaded as a PDF or as a GPX file.


1 comment:

PeteB said...

n=7 on this walk in w=warm-and-sunny weather. I did this walk and a variation of it in May and rhapsodised about the gentle beauty of the landscape and the symphony of birdsong but late summer provided a different picture. The "anti-nature" of arable agriculture in the SE meant crossing fields where some rights of way had been obliterated and one long gently uphill slog early on was particularly dispiriting.

Still the Abingdon Arms was a delight with one of the best outside seating areas I've visited (terrific views over the Otmoor reserve) and there is a lovely nearby church, ideal for your picnic lunch.

Things improved after lunch with attractive trails though you had to pay attention as route finding could be a bit tricky in places. We rested a while in the lovely village of Woodeaton where the local church is well worth a visit. Shortly after the group split with 2 of us attracted by the two trains an hour from Oxford Parkway set off for there following a supernaturally boring route which barely compensated for the additional trains. The others opted for Islip following the attractive river path with the chance of drinks in Islip before heading back to London.

This is still a fine walk but give yourself a treat and go in April/ May and explore the wildfowl reserve and see/hear cuckoos, turtle dove, hobbies and multitude of warblers.