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.
This time last week, Poppy & I were getting blown away on a few lovely Pembrokeshire Beaches. There’s nothing I enjoy more than a long walk with Poppy, especially across the beach. The photo below was taken at Broad Haven beach in Pembrokeshire and I’ll be adding it to my Dog Walking series soon. Over the few days I was there, we managed to visit five beaches. Newgale was my favourite, as we managed to hit it while the tide was out. It’s huge and perfect for dog walks, even in gale strength winds.
While I enjoy a good walk around the countryside, for me, the coast is where it’s at. There’s nothing quite like the taste of sea salt on your lips and the smell of the sea in your hair when you get home. Even gale strong winds couldn’t ruin our walks last week. though I don’t think Poppy appreciated getting so much sand in her face!
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.
Despite living in Oxfordshire for quite a few years now, I had never been to Otmoor RSPB reserve before. If you’ve never heard it, it’s an excellent place for twitchers and nature nerds, like myself, to see lots of different birds and wildlife. There’s even a board in the carpark, where you can see what birds have been spotted recently. Make sure you bring your binoculars!
When we were driving there, it did feel like we were driving into the middle of nowhere, but when you finally arrive at Otmoor, it’s well worth it. One of the first things we saw when we got there, on a very cold Sunday morning, was a fox. It was sitting in a field, watching some birds, trying his luck. I’ve never seen a fox in the day before! Amazing!
Naturally, there are lots of birds to stop and look at but that means ample time for dogs to stop and sniff. Poppy loved being out in the countryside. There were so many different places for little critters to walk and live that Poppy wore herself out sniffing and exploring the grass.
We didn’t realise before we went that there are some restrictions for dogs on the reserve. It’s no big deal, as there’s plenty of things for dogs to sniff and explore. This time, we didn’t go the whole way round (it was way too cold and I needed a chai) but we’ll definitely go back. Maybe in the spring and we can spot different birds that are visiting.
The Walk: There are a number of walks you can do, including a circular walk. Take a look at the map on the RSPB website to plan your walk. Warning – You will need wellies, especially if it’s been raining before your visit! Also, there are some restrictions for dogs on the visitor trail and they aren’t allowed in the hide. It’s well signposted where they can and can’t go so no worries.
Car Park: Yes and it’s free.
Refreshments: No, but there are places to sit and enjoy the view, so pack up a thermos and a pack of biccies for a mid walk refreshment.