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10 lovely circular walks for Mother’s Day

What do you mean you haven't sent a card yet? Spend time with the special lady in your life on Sunday with one of these lovely local strolls across the county.

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

Mum a bit of a history buff? This gentle six-miler starts in Marlow and takes in the Thames Path, locks, historic buildings and ancient archaeological sites en route. Stop at Fego, a buzzy café with a South African twist, for a takeaway coffee or juice for the caffeine-averse. Open 9am – 4.30pm Mon to Wed, then 9am to 8.30 Thurs to Sun.

Marlow Circular

Little Chalfont Nature Park

This unspoilt English wildflower meadow is brimful with wildlife, including bright yellow daffodils at this time of year. At 4.6 acres you can wander around the marked paths for as long as you like, or take the circular self-guided tour that starts and ends at the entrance. If it’s just you and mum, pick up a picnic box from the nearby family-run The Kitchen Larder to enjoy sat on a bench or picnic blanket if the weather’s feeling friendly.

Ivinghoe Beacon

Get your fill of epic panoramas by marching up to the top of Ivinghoe Beacon on the Bucks/Beds/Herts border, which is part of the National Trust’s Ashridge estate – there’s a 4.5 mile trail from Bridgewater Monument to the Beacon which is perfectly do-able for older families. For smaller kiddies, you can set off from the Beacon’s nearby car park. The views are more than worth the effort, but it is quite steep and toddlers may demand to be carried either up or down. Or both. 

Cliveden Gold Walking Trail

Bang on the Berks/Bucks border (we’re claiming it!), this Palladian style country house is fit for royalty (Prince Frederick of Wales lived here for a short period of time), so the perfect place to take the leading lady in your life for a Mother’s Day stroll. This three mile walk around the stunning estate is dog friendly and offers views of the River Thames, rolling countryside, woodland and should take under two hours to complete.

Wendover Woods

Gruffalo fans, ahoy! There’s a lovely little 1.5km orienteering trail around Wendover for the smaller Julia Donaldson fan (the woods are very deep and dark) but if you have older kids, there’s also a fab play trail peppered with climbing frames, pulley systems, rope walks and such like, to keep the engagement level high (note: the close-quarter fort and tunnels have user restrictions due to Covid). There’s a bike trail too if you fancy adding some extra spice to your strolling. Route here.

OXFORDSHIRE

Watlington Hill

Image: National Trust / Hugh Mothersole 

This short 1.5 mile circular passes through chalk grassland and woodlands in a neat loop that offers panoramic views in every direction. You start at the National Trust car park, but if it’s full, there’s a free short-stay in the village that connects to the walk via a half mile potter along Hill Road. From the town, you’ll also get the best view of the Watlington White Mark, a chalk scar carved in 1764 to give the illusion that the town’s church had a spire. Need to refuel? Pick up a selection of picnic grub (or bottle of bubbly) from The Granary Deli or head next door to the Granary Café which offers takeaway hot drinks and homemade cakes. Currently open Mon, 9am-1pm; Tues-Sat, 9am-3pm.  

Faringdon Circular Walk

Image: Nick Bull

If it’s views you’re after, you’ve come to the right place with this five mile loop from Faringdon. This route travels through the village of Littleworth and ends with a walk up Folly Hill with its 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. Nearby, Stay Grounded Coffee at 7A Market Place offers a fabulous flat white, post or pre ramble.

Port Meadow

Boats on river

It’s unusual to find so much sprawling green space slap-bang in the centre of a city and that’s what makes Oxford’s Port Meadow really special. This four mile route takes you all the way around the meadow and is pretty flat so fine for small children. There’s also the option to extend the route along the Oxford Canal or Thames Path if you fancy really blowing away the cobwebs. Keep your eyes peeled for the sweet graffiti on the bridge which I snapped on Instagram here.

Chipping Norton to Over Norton

Lavender in front on house

If it’s pretty Cotswolds vistas you’re after then this super-easy 2.5 miler is just the ticket with rolling countryside and honey coloured stone cottages to gawp at. Know you’ll be starving after all that walking? Pre-order the Mother’s Day sharing menu or three course roast from the Chequers pub (the routes starts and ends here) to take home and enjoy afterwards.

Wantage to Letcombe Regis

Packing a pooch on your Mother’s Day ramble? At just under 6 miles this circular routes is a decent distance but it’s not hilly and has plenty of off-lead opportunities for Fido to run around while you’re enjoy sprawling views of the Oxfordshire countryside and historic Ridgeway. Don’t forget your wellies on this one as the section after Letcombe Regis passes along clay/mud paths.

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