Tag: oxfordshire

Dog Walks in Oxfordshire – Oxford City

A few weekends ago, we decided to take Poppy into Oxford. We generally don’t walk her in busy places very often because it’s so difficult. Poppy tends to walk with her nose and therefore walks in a zigzag style. When it’s busy, it’s a bit like wrestling a pig rather than walking a dog! But we know we need to train her to walk better in busy places so off we went. And she was a star! She was really well behaved, patient when we went into shops & walked really well on the lead.

Oxford looks beautiful at most times of the year, but especially in autumn. We parked in Norham Gardens, headed along Parks Road and into town. After a bit of a mooch about, we headed towards Jericho. We stopped off at Companion cafe on Little Clarendon Street and then headed back to the car, just in time before it started raining!

Poppy in OxfordRadcliffe History Museum Oxford Sheldonian Oxford Oxford Oxford Bridge Broad Street OxfordPoppy in the city

The Walk: Oxford is such a beautiful city, there are loads of places to walk. We kept to the quieter streets, due to Poppy’s zigzag walking style!
Cost: Free
Car Park: You can park in the Westgate carpark, but it costs a fortune. We parked in Norham Gardens, which is cheaper and nicer. Plus it’s right near University Parks. It’s £3 for two hours.
Refreshments: Oxford is full of lovely cafes. We sat outside Companion in Little Clarendon Street, as the tables are under cover and it’s a nice quiet street.
Toilets: There are some scattered around, but most cafes have them if you can sneak in!

Dog Walks in Oxfordshire – Pinsley Woods, Long Hanborough, Witney

The weather this bank holiday Sunday has been lovely here in Oxfordshire and we wanted to head out and make the most of it. During the week, hicksleigh posted a gorgeous picture of bluebells over on Instagram. It was a picture of Pinsley Woods and I knew straight away that it would be perfect for a Sunday morning dog walk. I wasn’t wrong! (You’re going to have to bear with me here – I got a little picture happy and took loads! Don’t worry, I’ve not posted them all below. To see the others, check out my flickr page.) Bluebells We parked in the layby just in front of the cemetery as you head out of Church Hanborough towards Long Hanborough and took the path along the allotments. You can see the woods straight ahead and it’s a circular walk around the edge of the woods. It was a little boggy in places, thanks to the rain last weekend, but it wasn’t too bad. You definitely need to wear walking boots or wellies though. While the walk is pretty flat, there are a few ridges to walk along and tree roots to step over. Woods The woods are enchanting, with paths leading off all over the place. There are fallen trees and little holes for burrows, which make it completely adorable. Poppy loved it. There were so many smells for her to follow that she didn’t know which way to go first! Poppy in the woods At one point, there was something in the middle of the bluebells that really got her attention and she kept walking on her hind legs to get a better view! We also passed fields full of sheep, lambs and gloriously yellow oilseed rape. Poppy and the bluebells Bluebell Bluebell woods trees After a while, we came across a clearing and the remnants of a paved path. We took a little detour and let Poppy off the lead for a little while. She was really well behaved until she noticed that I was distracted, taking *another* photo, and decided to roll around in a huge pile of fresh fox poo. She was covered! It was all over her neck, her side, her harness and she even managed to get some on the inside of her ears! So very gross! We washed some of it off in the woods and then again when we got back to the car. She’s had one bath and another one is on the cards as she still stinks! She loved it and thought it was the best thing ever. Poppy on the run I’ll definitely go back to Pinsley Woods, again and again. It’s such a great spot and there are a number of different walks you can do around it and through it. Next time, though, I’ll be keeping a close eye on Poppy and her tell tale signs that she’s found some poo! I don’t know how long the bluebells will be out for, but if you do get a chance to see them, they are really beautiful.

PS. This is my #BEDM post for today. The topic is sci-fi, which isn’t really my bag, so this is what I’m writing about today instead! Enjoy 🙂

The Walk: If you walk around the woods using the path that runs around the edge, it should be about a mile and take 45 minutes to an hour, but there are lots of paths crisscrossing through the woods so you can be as quick or as slow as you like.
Cost: Completely free. Just get out there and enjoy!
Car Park: We parked  in the layby in front of the cemetery just between Church Hanborough and Long Hanborough. It’s free, but it’s not very big. There are a few other laybys on the other side of the woods which you can also park in.
Refreshments: There’s no little cafe nearby but there is a pub in Church Hanborough called the Hand and Shears. We didn’t venture in, due to Poppy being covered in poo, but it looks okay. We didn’t explore Long Hanborough either, so if you know if somewhere perfect for putting your paws up, let me know!
Toilets: None.

Dog Walks in Oxfordshire – Dry Sandford Pit

We’ve been taking advantage of the good weather we’ve been having lately and exploring new places. First on our list was Dry Sandford Pit, which is a BBOWT reserve. There are a number of walks you can around Dry Sandford and we had planned to do a bigger one, but the weather turned and we decided to call it a day. Hail really can spoil a walk!

silver birch

We started our walk in the sun, in the village of Wootton. We parked by the shops (where the parking is limited to 2/3 hours). We walked along the bridleway and through the beautiful village of Dry Sandford, which is worth a visit in itself, especially if you walk past Cothill House school students, on their way to church, looking adorable in their uniforms, as we did. Both ways, in fact! There is limited parking at the reserve, but initially wanted to do the circular walk so parked in Wootton.

the view

Dogs must be kept on leads around the reserve, but they are allowed. Poppy loved it, especially as there’s loads of little holes where creatures must live!

The pit

As it was such a sunny day, the insects that live in the cliff face were out and about and we saw quite a few bees, which was a very welcome sight. There are information boards around, which explain the different types of rock in the cliff, including some of the things they’ve found there.

Poppy at Dry Sandford

We took a long our trusty Thermos and some homemade cake and sat in the sun watching the bugs flying around. Poppy enjoyed a pizzle before continuing sniffing about and exploring.


The walk at Dry Sandford Pit isn’t massive but it’s lovely and quiet. When we went on a Sunday morning, we didn’t see anyone else. It was a lovely walk, with lots of lovely things to see and a fair few birds about. We had planned to walk to Parsonage Moor, but it got very dark, very quickly so we returned to the car park in Wootton the same way.

Dry Sandford walk

The Walk: While the walk at Dry Sandford Pit isn’t particularly long, it is very enjoyable. Plus, you can add bits on to extend the walk. See the map on the BBOWT website.
Cost: Completely free. Just get out there and enjoy!
Car Park: There’s a small car park at the Pit and parking is free.
Refreshments: There’s nothing available at the Pit or nearby but they do have benches around and you could easily bring a picnic blanket and a thermos if the weather was nice enough!
Toilets: None.

Walking Poppy the Dog

I’ve written before about how Poppy seems to think her walks are a chance to eat everything on the pavement. It got even worse when the clocks changed last autumn and it became clear that it’s almost impossible to walk her in the dark. Because her sight isn’t as good in the dark, she pretty much throws herself at wrappers, stones, cigarette butts, anything she can remotely see in the hope that it’s food. We’ve checked with the vet that we are feeding her enough and they are happy with her food intake and her weight. They’ve suggested that she was underfed before we adopted her and scavenged from a young age. It’s highly unlikely that she’ll never grow out of this. So to try and stop her throwing herself across the pavement, tripping us up in the process and making each walk feel like we’ve been wrestling a pig, we’ve been training her.

Dog Walking

Dog owners. Do you talk to your dog while walking them? I do. All the time. Poppy walks a lot better when she’s given attention, regular praise and treats. I must look and sound like a complete loony, calling her along, telling her she’s cute and a good girl… But walks are always more successful when I do. Here are some of her commands:

  • ‘This Way’ – when I want to go in one direction and Poppy wants to go in another. Or I’ve spotted some food just out of her reach and want her to come to me instead of having her pull me with her towards it.
  • ‘Leave’ – I use this when she’s got to food or something she shouldn’t be eating. She’s supposed to leave what she’s found and come and get a treat. This works really well, 75% of the time! I’ve managed to get her to spit things out and come to me for a treat. However, there are times when it doesn’t work and it’s so frustrating!
  • ‘Poppy Here’ – This is her command to come to me straight away, though if there’s a squirrel nearby, I haven’t got a hope of getting her attention, which is why she isn’t allowed off the lead.
  • ‘Walk’ – If there’s a lot of rubbish ahead or it’s bin day and we need to get Poppy’s attention, I hold a treat up by shoulder and tell Poppy to walk. She watches me and walks in a pretty straight line. This is a great way of getting her past lots of distractions.
  • ‘Wait’ – Obviously, this one’s for crossing the street or for when I need to catch up with her. She’s pretty good at this, especially if you give the lead a little tug. She’ll wait for as long as you want, until you say ‘Go’. She gets lots of looks from drivers as we wait at traffic lights on our morning walk.

PoppyDogIt can be quite frustrating, because you’ll have a really great walk, where she does everything she’s told, gets lots of rewards and attention, then as we’re nearly home, she’ll do something she’s not supposed to or ignore your command. She’s much better at meeting other dogs, mainly because we’re a lot calmer and we’re learning to read other dog owners, to see if they’re happy with Poppy meeting their dog. If they are, we let the lead go long, they sniff each other, the other dog gets hit in the face by Poppy’s giant tail and we move on.

Dog WalksHalf the battle with Poppy is being prepared and making sure we’ve got lots of treats to hand. That way, when she does something good, we can reward her straight away. The difficulty is getting her not to eat food from the street. It’s quite worrying because we don’t always know what she’s eaten. While putting a muzzle on her would stop this straight away, we want to try and train her to ignore the food. She’s definitely getting better, so we are making progress. The improved weather makes a massive difference, because training your dog to walk better in the rain is no fun whatsoever!

Walking the DogSo if you see a crazy lady, talking to her dog, while walking round the park, that’ll be me, trying to train Poppy! Have you had to train your dog to walk better? Let me know if you have any tips!