20 of the best spring walks near you
It's National Walking Month! What better way to celebrate than striking out on one of these lovely lockdown-friendly circular walks across Bucks & Oxon.
We’ve kept things relatively easy and lock-down friendly in length (hikers we are not), which makes this round-up perfect for families wanting to enjoy a little socially-distanced stroll.
Villages of the Windrush Valley, West Oxfordshire. Moderate, 6.5km
A whistle stop tour of quintessentially Oxfordshire Cotswolds villages Astall, Swinbrook, Fulbrook and the medieval town of Burford. Eye candy includes pretty cottages, ancient burial mounds, Norman churches and manors. Route here.
Benson Lock Circular, Wallingford. Easy, 4.8km
A picturesque riverside walk starting from Wallingford Town Hall along the river to Benson Lock. Budding ornithologists (that’s bird watchers to you and me), keep your eyes peeled for ducks, herons, kingfishers and grebe. Route here.
Faringdon Circular Walk, Faringdon. Moderate, 8km
If it’s views you’re after, you’ve come to the right place. This route travels through the village of Littleworth and ends with a walk up Folly Hill with it’s pretty woodland and panoramic views over several counties. For a shorter ramble with the little people, just follow the last bit of the route – kids will love the sculpture trail in the woods. Route here.
The Thames Path, Abingdon to Culham Lock. Easy, 4km
Bridge fans brace yourself, this pretty riverside route starts at Abingdon’s beautiful old Bridge, travels past Culham Old Bridge, and takes in views of Sutton Bridge. Route here.
Rollright Stones Circular, nr Chipping Norton. Moderate, 8.3k
This route’s slightly longer (it should take about three hours so you may have to bike it to remain the right side of lockdown rules) but totally worth it as the mid-point is the Rollright Stones – Oxfordshire’s answer to Stonehenge. Top tip: the King’s Stone and Whispering Knights (pictured) have the best views. Route here.
Shotover Country Park, Oxford. Moderate, 5km
Oxford has loads of hidden green spaces and this is one of the best. The 289 acre site inspired CS Lewis’ Narnia and boasts ancient woodland, amazing views and meadows. Wildlife in abundance including foxes, deer, woodpeckers, plus pretty bluebells and orchids. Route here.
Stoke Wood, nr Bicester. Super-easy, 1.5km
Stoke Wood is a pretty ancient woodland with birds and butterflies by the bucketload (10 points if you can spot a tawny owl). There are 4.5km of paths through the woods so plenty of options to extend your walk if you fancy. Route here.
Adderbury Circular Walk, nr Banbury. Easy, 5km
This walk has the best of both, covering both rolling countryside and the pretty English villages of Bodicote and Adderbury with it’s honey cottages and impressive 13th century church. Route here.
Henley-on-Thames to Hambledon. Easy – challenging, 4km – 12km
Take your pick of varying length routes on this circular walk from Henley to Hambledon. Insta-catnip includes Temple Island, Hambledon Valley (you may recognise it from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Vicar of Dibley or Midsomer Murders) and Henley Bridge. Route here.
Cuttlebrook Nature Reserve & St Mary’s Church, Thame. Easy, 2.9km
This route kicks off from the stunning St Mary’s Church, near the centre of Thame, and takes you around the award-winning nature reserve. Expect wildlife and medieval fish ponds on this gentle stroll. Route here.
Common Wood, nr High Wycombe. Easy, 3km
Now is the perfect time to head out to this semi-ancient woodland, as you’ll catch the last of the bluebells on your stroll around the wooded pathways. A great one to take the kids to, Common Wood is home to owls, woodpeckers and roe deer, so keep your eyes peeled. Route here.
Little Marlow Water Walk. Easy – moderate, 5.5km – 10km
The perfect Sunday stroll for Marlow locals, you have two options to choose from here: the Water Walk, which is 5.5km long and takes you along the Thames Path National Trail to Spade Oak (above), or if you’re running it, the the 10km Water and Woods version that includes an uphill trek to Bloom Wood. Routes here.
Shenley Wood and the North Bucks Way. Easy, 4km
Those in Milton Keynes should add this pretty woodland to their picnic spot list, pronto. While there’s plenty to explore in Shenley, this flat 4km circular also includes a portion of the 35-mile long North Bucks Way, which runs throughout the County Down to the Ridgeway. Route here.
Brush Hill, Princes Risborough. Super-easy, 0.8km – 1.5km
Walking with little ones? These short circular routes round Brush Hill Nature Reserve are ideal for tuckering out toddlers. There’s a satisfying mix of woodland and grassland (which is home to a flock of sheep in winter), and plenty of flora and fauna to spot. Route here.
Great Missenden circular walk. Moderate, 4km
This route takes you on a tour of the sights through Great Missenden and the surrounding woodland, including Roald Dahl’s family home Gipsy House and up to Missenden church. As you’re headed uphill to look over the Misbourne Valley, there are some steep portions. Route here.
The Firecrest Loop, nr Wendover. Easy, 4.5km
It’ll take about an hour and a half to complete this well-maintained woodland loop. The route gives you the chance to catch some of the best views of the Wendover Valley around, as well as a potential sighting of the UK’s smallest bird after which the trail is named, the firecrest. Route here.
Aston Abbotts village walk, nr. Aylesbury. Easy, 2.4km
What lovelier village to take a stroll around? After all, Aston Abbotts did win Buckinghamshire’s Best Kept Village of less than 500 residents last year! This largely level route takes you on a wander through the village (including past the famous abbey) and the surrounding countryside. Route here.
Coombe Hill woodland walk. Easy, 5.6km
We’ve extolled the virtues of the Chequers trail and Coombe Hill before, but if you have children (or short legs – yup, guilty!), then you might prefer this gentler circular walk, which takes you through the picturesque Low Scrubs woodland. Route here.
Buckingham circular walk. Easy, 4km
Starting at Buckingham’s old Gaol (above), this route takes you on a tour of the town’s prettiest nature spots, including Bourton Meadow and The Flosh weir. Best of all, it shouldn’t take you more than an hour. Route here.
Burnham Beeches loop, nr. Gerrards Cross. Easy, 4.2km
The perfect Spring walk for young explorers and movie fans alike, Burnham Beeches nature reserve is so picturesque, it’s often used as a filming location by nearby Pinewood Studios. There’s plenty to see and spot, and there are only a couple of short, steep hills. Route here.
Can you recommend a lovely local walk we haven’t mentioned? Please do – the comment box below is all yours!