Six awesome Autumn walks!
Love the outdoors? Us too, so we’re thrilled to be launching our first ever Muddy Walk Week! Grab your friends or family and try our pick of the prettiest walks Bucks, Oxon and beyond - all with dog-friendly pubs nearby.
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
Feel like stretching your legs over the next two weeks? Us too! Making the most of your precious free time and getting out and about with family and besties is what we love to do on Muddy, so we’ve come up with six brilliant Autumn walks (with pubs en route or nearby obvs) so you can really enjoy your down-time.
We’re proud to say that our Autumn Walks are part of Joules’ Charity Month – 31 days of fantastic fundraising for their five charity partners. If you want to make a small justgiving donation to take part (a quid is great, and doable even for little people) click here. And please do instagram your beautiful walk or gorgeous pub (yes, you can be in it!) and hashtag with #joulesautumnwalks #mymuddywalks, because we’ll use the best images in our round-up feature.
Details of our favourite walks across all 22 Muddy counties are here so even if you’re going away you can stride out. Plus you can enter our Reader Treat and three lucky subscribers and their families can step out in £500 of Joules coats and wellies.
What else do you want, crisp dry days and blue skies? Don’t worry, I’m working on it.
WALK 1 / CHRISTMAS COMMON, MID OXON
Distance and difficulty: Moderate – mostly flat with a couple of stiles and hills. 2.8 mile route taking 1 hours 15 mins. View walk here.
Good for: Families, loafers, half-hearted stretchy leggers
Why we love it: Christmas Common may be close to the M40 (Junction 5, fact fans) but you’d never know it – high up in the Chilterns, this Area of Outstanding Beauty is home to some of the loveliest views and prettiest bluebell woods in the county.
This circular walk actually starts and ends at the The Fox & Hounds pub, a stunning 16th century pub that does fabulous Sunday lunches (yes I have, several times!). There’s a small outdoor area out the front, small atmospheric snug for pints and crisps and then a gastro-offering in the revamped restaurant area. Dog-friendly snacks on offer and four legged buddies welcome in the bar area and outside.
The Fox & Hounds, Christmas Common, Watlington, Oxfordshire, OX49 5HL Tel: 01491 612599.
WALK 2/ WINDRUSH VALLEY
Distance and difficulty: 5miles, easy. View walk here.
Good for: All age groups – the fact that is goes through two villages with excellent pubs means that there are options for tired little legs.
Why we love it: The Windrush Valley in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds is stunning and Asthall and Swinbrook are two of the loveliest villages. Asthall’s gorgeous 12th century church is well worth your time, you’re also 10 minutes from Burford for shopping.
This circular walk starts and ends at The Maytime Inn – relaxed, unpretentious, family-friendly and tastefully decorated. Expect lovely log fires on chilly days and make use of the huge outdoor area for summer. Dog-friendly too, with snacks, water and a very pro-dog owner. And did we mention the rooms? Six of them for an overnighter if you’re too relaxed to go home again.
WALK 3/ HENLEY TO SHIPLAKE
Distance and difficulty: Easy and flat, 2.5 – 5m (45 mins to 1.5 hours). View walk here.
Good for: Those wanting a short stroll to the pub (great for littlies).
Why we love it: This walk is very civilised! No squidgy slippery grass and mud, a gorgeous riverside meander in Henley before reaching a lock (great fun for littlies), and then a gentle, quiet wander into the well-heeled village of Shiplake. Best of all, if you decide you don’t want to walk back where you came from, take the train from Shiplake back to Henley in 10 minutes.
The Baskerville Arms is your destination in Shiplake. The pub has just changed hands, and the food has simplified from super-flash gastropub fare of before – fish n chips, burgers, lamb shanks and Sunday roasts are the order of the day. There’s a beer garden if you’re feeling brave (or the kids need some free ranging). If you’re starting at Shiplake and want to eat in Henley, head to the Bull on Bell Street, a stylish pub/restaurant/bar that’s super-family-friendly 10 minute walk from the river.
WALK 4/ COOMBE HILL AND CHEQUERS
Distance and difficulty: 5-7 miles, challenging. View map here.
Good for: Fitties, hikers, those who want to work up the hell appetite before lunch
Why we love it: This walk takes you up to Coombe Hill, highest viewpoint in the Chilterns, and offers exquisite views out to the PM’s Chequers (you’ll be clocked by the secret service way before you see the estate!). You’re enveloped in the rolling Chilterns and pretty much totally off road.
The Russell Arms in Butlers Cross is a 5 minute drive from the National Trust car park from which you start this walk. The 18th century coaching house, which was taken over earlier this year by pub expert Paul Mitchell, serves traditional pub food and stone baked pizzas as well as local ales and new gin offering. Inside the pub is stylish and cosy, plus there’s a beer garden and small courtyard outside. Dog friendly.
WALK 5/ SKIRMETT, TURVILLE AND FINGEST
Distance and difficulty: Circular walk, 4 miles, two hills, moderate. View map here.
Good for: Those who want to work up an appetite and fancy a choice of pubs – all three villages offer possibilities.
Why we love it: The Hambleden valley is one of the most stunning parts of the Buckinghamshire Chilterns and as it’s a circular walk you can start at any of the three villages. The walk takes in the windmill at Turville (filmed in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang); the Norman church in Fingest; Adams Wood and some of the loveliest scenery you’ll find in this part of the world.
The Chequers in Fingest has a large (ish) car park from which to start and end your walking odyssey, and does a splendid line in luxurious Sunday lunches. Stylishly quirky touches like the vintage hobby horse, copper pots and mixmatched settles also raise The Chequers above the usual country pub vibe. Expect half-sized portions for kids and a large beer garden (nearly 2 acres!). Not starting in Fingest? The Bull in Turville and The Frog at Skirmett are your excellent alternatives.
WALK 6/ PORT MEADOW, OXFORD
Distance and difficulty: 3.5 miles (one way), 7 miles (circular). Moderate.
Good for: Pretty much everyone as it’s totally flat, though clearly pretty long. There is a pub half way through the first leg of this walk if you can’t make it all the way to Wolvercote for the main pub choice!
Why we love it: Port Meadow is still Oxford’s biggest secret (and arguably biggest asset), an enormous stretch of free grazing land accessed just 10 minutes from the centre of the city. Port Meadow goes back as far as the Doomsday Book, and takes in the River Isis, free grazing cows and horses, Godstow lock, the remains of Godstow Abbey and some mightily lovely views of Oxford’s dreaming spires.
Jacob’s Inn is your prize if you walk the three miles to Wolvercote. One of the first pubs in the area to really nail cool, quirky styling, it’s a pleasing mix of classic stone country pub and hipster hangout – in the summer the deckchairs and the table football come out, there are pigs on site (field to fork doesn’t quite cover it here), fresh eggs for sale and doggy treats for four-legged friends. The Perch pub is your stop off half way across the meadow if stamina fails you or hunger stops you in your tracks.