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
(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
, height profile, photos
and gpx/kml files