Oxford Spires and River Walk
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A scenic walk that combines fine views of the famous Oxford skyline with its ‘dreaming spires’, with a stroll along the Thames towpath wending through attractive ‘hidden’ neighbourhoods and past the beautiful grounds of Christchurch college. There may be time to stop for a drink in one of Oxford’s traditional riverside pubs.
We will walk from the station to the Thames (also known in Oxford as the Isis), then cut through the riverside community of Osney and onto the village of North Hinksey. From there we will ascend through Raleigh Park gaining a fine view of the ‘dreaming spires'. We will then cross meadows and pass through attractive woodland on Boars Hill. We then descent back down towards South Hinksey village, gaining a classic view of the Oxford skyline. From here we will make our way to the Thames in south Oxford, then follow the well-surfaced towpath past the Meadow Building of Christchurch, one of Oxford's largest colleges. Continuing past the historic Folly Bridge, we will continue along the river through urban parkland and past a lock, before arriving back at Osney.
What to bring
For your comfort and safety please be prepared for the anticipated weather and the terrain of the walk - keep in mind the following:
Boots: Hiking boots that are both waterproof and breathable, and provide good ankle support, are important as soon as you encounter any mud. Cross trainers may suffice in good weather and flat routes.
Socks: Proper walking socks keep your feet dry, and help prevent blisters.
Walking Trousers: (ideally water resistant) will be more comfortable than Jeans which are heavy and cold when wet. From April to October shorts are usually a better bet.
Waterproof Over-Trousers: essential in any significant rainfall. Breathable ones are best.
Layered clothing: allows you to quickly adapt to changes in the weather as well as body temperature. E.g. a base layer or a cotton T-Shirt; a mid layer like a micro fleece, or a rugby type thick shirt, and in cooler weather an outer layer consisting of a windproof jacket or a thick fleece.
Waterproof Jacket: essential when hiking in all but the calmest of weather. You get what you pay for with these. Breathable fabrics are advisable.
Hat: essential both in mid winter to preserve heat and in summer to prevent sunburn and heatstroke.
Gloves: essential in frosty weather.
Small Rucksack: One that is comfortable to wear is essential so that you can use your arms freely. Place valuables in water proof bags inside.
Sunglassses: April- Sept: comfortable sunglasses enhance your pleasure and keep insects out of the eye
Water: even in winter one can loose a litre or more of fluid by perspiration. If you fail to make this up you'll get dehydrated which can lead to headaches and other problems. A hydration bladder is easier to use than bottled water, but higher maintenance.
Food: a packed lunch will be required unless otherwise stated. In addition carry energy bars or similar to counter 'sugar lows'.
Medicines: If you have allergies, are diabetic, or have minor ailments don't forget these!
Food & drink
A packed lunch, plenty of water and energy bars are essential today. There are M&S and WHSmith shops available at the train station then this walk takes you way off the beaten track.