A few weeks ago, over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, we headed out into the beautiful Oxfordshire sunshine to explore the Windrush Path and take a look at Standlake Common Nature Reserve. I’m no twitcher, but there is something amazing about rare, strange and beautiful birds as well as common butterflies and glorious spring blossom.
We set out quite early and parked in the Rose Revived pub car park. We crossed the road and headed out across the footpath that takes in part of the Mosaic Trail. We heard the woodpecker you can almost make out hiding in the tree below. It was so difficult to take a picture of it, hence my not so great attempt here. I’d never seen one before, but have now seen quite a few.
As part of the Mosaic Trail, there’s a picnic area with tables at the Dragonfly post. Not far from here is Standlake Common Nature Reserve, which has two bird hides. Unfortunately, the hides are locked and you have to get a key from the Reserve office. Fortunately, a kind stranger already had a key and let Phil in to take a look at a rare bird (I forget which one) while Poppy and I explored the area outside.
The weather was absolutely glorious and by the time we got back to the pub, we were ready for lunch. Despite the fact that the rest of Oxfordshire had appeared in the pub garden by that time, we found a little table by the river and ordered a few sandwiches. Even though the pub was busy, both inside and out, we didn’t have to wait long. The food was outstanding and I’m looking forward for a return visit.
The Newbridge to Standlake walk is brilliant. The fact that there’s a pub at the end that’s dog friendly and serves great food makes it even better. This is one walk we’ll definitely be going back to.
The Walk: The Standlake to Newbridge walk is about 2 miles long. We didn’t go all the way to Standlake, but headed back towards Newbridge. It’s a nice circular walk taking in some very spectacular sights, including Standlake Common Nature Reserve.
Car Park: We parked at The Rose Revived at Newbridge. I’m not sure if that was the right thing to do but we felt it was okay as we planned to return there for lunch, which was a great idea!
Refreshments: The Rose Revived was excellent and well worth a visit.
Toilets: The only ones we found were at The Rose Revived.
If there’s one thing that Pembrokeshire has in spades it’s beaches. Plus growing up there means that the sun doesn’t have to be shining for me to enjoy them! However, when I went to Broad Haven over Easter, I was lucky enough to get a few days of sunshine, even if there were gale force winds.
I hadn’t been to Broad Haven before so it was great to see what it was like before all the summer crowds get there. It’s a lovely beach with loads of rock pools at the edges for Poppy to sniff in, though she did try to eat a few sea anemones! That dog will try to eat anything!
If you get the tide right, you can beyond the rocks you see in the picture above. We didn’t when we visited because it was blowing a gale and I also wanted to walk on Newgale beach and had to pace Poppy a bit! Broad Haven is a beautiful beach and well worth a visit, even in winter.
The Walk: Broad Haven beach is gorgeous but to make the most of it, be sure to visit when the tide is out. There are dog restrictions on the northern part of the beach from 1st May to 30th September so be sure to check before heading out for your dog walk.
Car Park: There are two car parks in Broad Haven so make sure you have change for them.
Refreshments: There are a number of places to buy refreshments in Broad Haven itself and it’s just on the beach so you don’t need to go far for a brew.
Toilets: There are loos in the car park.
After our short walk at Lye Valley, we were still keen to enjoy the spring sunshine so we headed to Bury Knowle Park in Headington. I’ve driven past it a number of times, but had never been in. As we were in the area, we parked up and headed in. It’s a wonderful space for everyone as there’s plenty of space and things to do. It has a children’s play area, a zip wire, a sensory garden for the visually impaired and much more.
If there’s one thing that Oxford does well, it’s parks. They’re well maintained with lots of plants and areas to keep all family members entertained. I loved seeing the Storybook tree too. What a lovely way to remember such great authors! Bury Knowle Park is well worth a visit.
The Walk: There’s a path that runs around the outskirts of the park and there are a few other paths running across it.
Car Park: We parked in Waitrose, which you have to pay for. We used the Ringo App, which is brilliant.
Refreshments: There is a kiosk in the park selling ice creams and drinks, but it wasn’t open when we were there. There are lots of cafes close by too.
One thing that constantly amazes me about Oxford is that we are still discovering new places, despite living in or near it for nearly eight years. Lye Valley is one such place. Located in Headington, it’s a hidden gem that is perfect if you’re looking to get out to stretch your legs before heading into Headington for a quick coffee. It’s not a very long walk but it’s really lovely. You’ll easily forget that you’re in a city.
It’s being managed by the Friends of Lye Valley and there’s a walkway over the boggy area, which is essential. Poppy wanted to explore the long reeds and tall grass, as that’s where all the most interesting smells are apparently! I think it’ll be even better in summer, when the trees are in full bloom, as it’ll be lovely and shaded.
As the Lye Valley walk is quite short, we headed into Headington and took Poppy to Bury Knowle Park for a sniff about as well. We might’ve* had a cheeky chai latte from Starbucks too.
The Walk: To get to Lye Valley Reserve you need to go through one of the many entrances. We parked in Lye Valley but you can access it via The Slade.
Car Park: There’s no car park, but there is street parking.
Refreshments: No, but you’re a stones throw from the centre of Headington where you’ll find the usual High Street coffee chains as well as a few independent gems.