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This Week's Walks - Archive

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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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Sunday, 2 February 2020

A Sunday Saunter through rolling Oxfordshire Countryside and a Wetlands Nature Reserve

SWC 292: Islip Circular (in reverse) t=swc.292

Distance:  10.8 miles or 17.4 km for those more metrically minded with shorter options available – see walk instructions

Difficulty: 3 out of 10

Train:  Take the 9:35AM Oxford-bound Chilterns Railway train from London Marylebone, arriving at Islip at 10:28.  Return trains are at 16:28 (change at Oxford Parkway); 17:18; 19:18 and 21:17. Buy a day return to Islip. 

In addition to gently rolling landscapes and picturesque villages, one of the real highlights of this walk is the Otmoor Nature Reserve, a favorite haunt for various birds of different sizes and shapes. In fact, the main reason for doing the walk in reverse is to have some time towards the end of the walk to explore the reserve without feeling the need to rush on to lunch. According to a blog for the reserve, the starlings have already moved on – but, there are record numbers of other birds enjoying the wetlands of the reserve….so bring your binoculars and a flask (hip or thermos) and enjoy the action…..before the final stretch back to Islip (which takes about 40 minutes).

You can find more information about the walk and download the walk instructions here. As we will be going in reverse, a print-out of the map or download of the GPX will be helpful.

The recommended lunch pub on the main walk is the Abingdon Arms in Beckley (01865 655667) a popular community-based pub, serving excellent food.

Back in Islip, tea and other bevies can be had at the Red Lion on the High Street.

Enjoy the walk and bird watching!

6 comments:

Monica said...

Thank you Stargazer for posting the Islip walk in reserve. Will be attending and hoping for some birding with my binoculars. See you all at Marylebone station. Monica.

Monica said...

Sorry miss the train and next one too long to wait. Instead did the Wendover walk. Hope those who attend are rewarded with some good bird life. Shall attempt Otmoor nature reserve next week.
Monica.

Stargazer said...

Just n=3 on this outing (including the walk author who liked the idea of a reverse option both for longer visits to the Otmoor reserve and to allow a start from Oxford Parkway (with more train options)) in w=cloudy-to-start-then-clearing-and-finally clouding-over-again-conditions. The gently rolling terrain had its muddy spots -- but was nothing like the mud fest in Surrey yesterday....Two had an enjoyable lunch at the very lovely Abingdon Arms perched atop a hill in Beckley -- really lovely community pub with interesting and tasty food. We then sauntered down to the Otmoor Reserve and spent some time at two different hides watching several very large flocks of lapwings flying around the area and landing here and there with respective flasks at hand... Although no starling murmurations, there were huge groups of birds -- the lapwings and various water birds....which were very engaging to observe....Eventually, we continued on to Islip where we had just enough time for a drink at the Red Lion before catching the 17:18...A very relaxing and enjoyable Sunday...

Sean said...

Ironically there was a small murmuration at the end of Sunday's other walk. As we left the Plough in Eynsford at 4.50pm 100+ starlings were wheeling around overhead, picking up stragglers on the way to their roost somewhere along the Darent valley. But please persevere with these 'nature' walks - one of these days the seals / starlings / whatever will turn up on cue!

PeteB said...

For those of you who did not fancy this as a winter outing it makes a lovely Spring walk. Late April or early May is when I have done it and you are almost certain to hear and (hopefully) see cuckoos. I had a picnic lunch in a churchyard near the pub on a warm sunny day and was serenaded by the gentle burblings of turtle doves. A Proustian moment for me.

Walker said...

A flock of some 70+ lapwings and golden plovers was a sight well worth the visit, I do assure you. I commented to the RSPB volunteer who so kindly identified some of the birds for us that 50 years ago the idea that a flock of starlings would be more exotic than a flock of lapwings would have seemed very strange.

I can concur regarding this site in April. This year I heard both a cuckoo and a turtle dove, though enquiries of the RSPB volunteer revealed that they only got two of the latter last year and they did not breed, so might be uncertain for next year. But in April there were oodles of chattering reed and sedge warblers, and - the highlight for me - several lapwings doing their wonderful display flight and call.

Also of interest to birders is that he reckons migrating redwing and fieldfare are well down this year, apparently because winter in Scandinavia has been too warm: a worrying aspect of global warming I had never thought of, since most of the lapwings at Otmoor migrate from further north to enjoy our balmy winter climate.

In addition om this walk I heard larks for the first time this year - three in one field near Islip - and saw my first wild primroses and celandines of the year. Daffodils were out in all of the villages.