6 Miles (approx)
Leisurely walking – allow three hours.
A wonderful riverside route into the heart of Oxford, and then returning via the historic Oxford Canal and the wild, natural Port Meadow.
From the The Trout in Wolvercote, cross the bridge and take the Thames Path to your left. You will soon find yourself ambling along the River Thames. The walk is on a wide verge which accompanies the river as it slowly heads southwards towards Oxford.
On the other bank you see with wide expense of Port Meadow. An ancient 300 acres meadow which has been used to graze animals for over 1,000 years. Tradition says that it was granted to the Freemans of Oxford by Alfred the Great, giving them the right to graze their animals there.
Within half an hour you will pass the sign for another idyllic country pub, The Perch. Resisting the temptation to stop, we walked further until we reached The Medley, and outdoor café/diner which is famed for its splendid pizza and coffee.
Just by the riverside entrance to this eatery, the footpath swings left over a pontoon bridge. There are two ways into Oxford itself. You can head over another bigger bridge in front of you ,and cut across the southern tip of Port Meadow, or, turn right to continue walking southwards along what looks like a thin islet. We did the later, staying true to the Thames Path.
After 15 minutes or so we found ourselves walking past Oxford Train Station. Once past the station we turned left on the main road and crossed under the railway line as we headed towards the city centre. Alternatively you could follow the river further towards Christchurch meadow.
After spending several leisurely hours enjoying the sites of Oxford we headed back to Wolvercote via the Oxford canal. We took the path northwards from Hythe Bridge walking between Castle Mill Stream and the Oxford Canal continuing over turnover bridge at Isis Lock.
After passing the Locks on the other side of the canal we enjoyed the site of the many wonderful and varied gardens in the Jericho area that back onto the canal.
We resisted the first opportunity to cross the railway line (to our left). This would have taken us back to the footbridge over the Thames at Medley. Instead, we continued our walk along the banks of the canal.
Just after we passed a small park on our left, we left the canal path and followed a path that took us over the railway line, past some allotments and onto the edge of Port Meadow itself.
We now followed an open path which skirted Port Meadow on one side and a natural reserve on the other.
Eventually the path split. We chose the left hand path which crossed directly over Port Meadow.
We soon reached Wolvercote and walked back through the village until we were back at The Trout.
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