So you know when you’ve got lots of things planned and you rush around like a mad thing trying to get everything organised? Then you get sick and you can’t do anything other than sit? Well, it’s been like that this week. We’re in the middle of redecorating and have a million other things to do on our to do list, and then we both got struck down with a horrible bug. While it’s been painful and frustrating, getting time to just sit and be isn’t something we allow ourselves very often. Yesterday afternoon was spent on the sofa, under a blanket with Poppy.
While being poorly isn’t a treat, time spent doing nothing, letting your body recuperate, is always a good thing, even better if you’ve got someone to share it with. Also, Poppy makes a great nurse! Though, that’s not to say I won’t be sad when I’m feeling well again and can get on with everything that needs doing!
A few weekends ago we headed to Shotover Country Park, which has been on my list of places to go for ages. It’s just on the outskirts of Oxford, so not far from us, but it could be a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Shotover is accessed via a windy road, one we’d never driven along before and it leads to one of the best walks we’ve been on in a while.
There’s a huge car park at the end of the road and a number of entrances you can go in, depending on where you park. I’m pretty sure we went in through the main one, which has amazing views of Oxford and the surrounding area. There’s a big notice board on the right hand side, which has maps – pick one up if this is your first visit. They’re essential. I’ve kept mine in our walk bag so it’s ready for next time. We headed out on the yellow walk, but we’ll definitely go back to sample the other two as well.
Poppy was besotted with Shotover. There were lots and lots of smells that had her nose to the ground for the whole walk. We did encounter a few horses, but Poppy is becoming more and more confident around them, which is great news. Shotover is a great place for a dog walk, what ever the weather!
The Walk: There are three different walks you can do, depending on how long you’ve got. You can find out more here. We did the yellow one it was fairly easy, though it would definitely need wellies if it’s been raining. Dogs are meant to be kept on a lead, though we encountered a number that weren’t. Grrrrr! Also, if your dog is horse sensitive, like Poppy, be aware that the Bridleway runs through the park.
Cost: Completely free!
Car Park: There’s quite a large car park for Shotover, but it does get very busy. We arrived early on a Sunday morning and it was fairly quiet. By the time we’d finished, it was fairly busy.
Refreshments: Nope, but there are a some lovely places to stop and enjoy a cup of tea from your Thermos!
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.