We’re back on our plan to walk the Thames Path, now that everything isn’t completely muddy. Our first stint, since the one we did last year, was from Abingdon Lock to Sandford Lock. It was a lovely, easy walk, that had me feeling like we were a million miles from anywhere. We only saw about three or four other people the whole time. The first part of the walk was insanely muddy and it really slowed us down. But once we got away from Abingdon and closer to Radley, it cleared up a lot.
There were some fabulous views along the way, including seeing Iron Man, which was an unexpected surprise! It’s always amazing what you can see when you’re walking along the lesser used parts of the Thames. We kept on passing fields and fields, full of geese who were clearly loving the food they could find there. And you’re pretty much guaranteed to see some rowing action, whichever bit you’re walking along!
The walk is fairly easy to do and we completed it in just over two hours, with a little rest stop for drinks and snacks. There was no where to stop along this stretch, but there are plenty of places the other side of Sandford Lock, where there’s a pub and a few places to park your car. It’s the perfect walk to do in a morning or afternoon, as it won’t take up too much time and isn’t too strenuous.
A few weeks ago, we all headed over to Radley Lakes for an adventure and boy, did we get one! Radley Lakes is a lovely place to visit in itself, but there are lots of paths leading away from the lakes, enabling you to really explore the area, should you wish. We did and we had a good look around. I had plenty of opportunities to practise with my new camera and I was plenty surprised with the results!
When we arrived, we could hear the distinctive buzz of motocross bikes, which became quite annoying, until we were able to watch them from across the river later on. We went around the lake and headed out to the Thames Path so we could really explore the area. There are so many different walks, that I know we’ll go back there again and again. It’s such a tranquil area – and practically on our doorstep! Gorgeous!
One of the highlights for me was seeing a Kingfisher for the first time ever! It was kind of blue blur, but it was pretty distinctive. The other highlight was seeing Poppy bravely entering the water so far. She’s not a fan of water but she was so intrigued by the smells that she couldn’t resist and she went in so far! Very proud dog owner moment! (At one point, I nearly fell in the lake taking pictures of Poppy in the water!)
The Walk: There are lots of different areas around Radley Lakes that are great for walking. For more information, see the Friends of Radley Lakes website. Cost: Completely free! Car Park: There isn’t a dedicated car park, but there are some streets nearby which are have parking. We parked in the business estate, but you could park in the Abbey Meadows car park and walk over. Refreshments: Nope, but there are plenty of places to stop with a thermos and some homemade cake, but there are plenty of places providing refreshments in Abingdon. Toilets: Nope, but there are some in Abingdon, should you need them.
A few weekends ago, on a damp Sunday morning, we were looking for somewhere new to walk Poppy that could also provide us with a little refreshment. My OH suggested we go to Hogacre Common in Oxford. I love finding these little hidden gems around Oxfordshire, so off we went.
We weren’t quite sure what to expect, but parked up on the road and headed off down a little lane. At the end of the lane we came across train tracks and had to climb the bridge over it, which made for great views and a wave from a train driver! Over the other side, we found Hogacre Common. It’s real gem. Located on unused sports ground, which is leased from Corpus Christi College, it does look a little bit like a scene from a post-apocalyptic film! The main focus of the common is that it is a biodiverse community space. And it looks amazing!
It’s a lovely area to visit plus we saw not one, but two green woodpeckers! It’s the perfect place to get your nature geek on – they’ve got their own bees, they grown their own food and have events from time to time so well worth checking that out. Plus, if you can get to the cafe, then do and I can heartily recommend the vegan chocolate cake. It was the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot!)
The Walk: The walk around Hogacre Common is quite short, so we teamed it with a walk around the playing field near where we parked. Cost: Completely free! Car Park: There isn’t a dedicated car park, but there are some streets nearby which are have parking. However, you will need to check the time restrictions carefully, as there was a traffic warden doing the rounds while we were there on a Sunday. Refreshments: The Hogacre Cafe is open on Sundays from 11am-5pm, though they will be closing for winter so worth checking before heading out. Toilets: There are some in the cafe.
It’s been ages since we found somewhere new for a lovely weekend dog walk. Between the weather (either being boiling hot or torrential showers) and getting the garden done, we’ve not gone beyond Abingdon for a while. However, last weekend, we needed to get out, get some fresh air and be surrounded by green! I wanted to go to Oxford and visit LYP so my OH looked for somewhere nearby to walk. Oxford is such a beautiful city with lots of lovely parks and green spaces, but even this one was new to us. We discovered The Kidneys and Aston’s Eyot in East Oxford. It’s such a beautiful space, full of gorgeous plants, fruit and wildlife. Some of the paths go right by the river, and we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a regatta taking place. Poppy had a little look at the river, but once again, she was freaked out by water!
If you’re looking for somewhere lovely to walk in the city that’s less well known and has loads of blackberries, ready for picking, this is an ideal spot.
The Walk: There are a number of pathways you can take around Aston’s Eyot and The Kidneys so you could spend a while there. Cost: Completely free! Car Park: There isn’t a dedicated car park, but there are some streets nearby which aren’t residents only. However, you will need to check, especially as there may be some time restrictions. Refreshments: While there’s no where to buy refreshments, there are a number of lovely cafes and pubs in East Oxford. Toilets: None that I could see.