The best walks in Oxon and Bucks with a coffee pitstop
Going stir crazy locked up inside? Stretch your legs and refuel en route with these brilliant local walks, all with pitstops for coffee and cake. Grab your wellies and go!
Ewelme and Benson
The Thames Path skirts the edge of Benson and walkers starting off in the village can choose to head west towards the postcard English village of Warborough with its huge green and cricket pavilion, or south towards Wallingford, known for its castle remains and pretty bridge approach. There are also circular routes to the village of Ewelme, one mile away down Brook Street (there is a footpath alongside the road). Here you can stroll along the watercress beds, once productive and now a conservation project. Follow the brook far enough and you’ll reach King’s Pool, reputedly a favoured bathing spot of King Henry VIII who owned a manor in the village.
Walk the route (choose from four circuits between 2 and 4.5 miles)
Coffee stop – You have couple of options en route including the Waterfront Café open seven days a week for takeaway fish and chips and burgers. along with snacks and coffee. Or there’s No. 25 – it’s a glamorous affair with copper pendant lights, velvet armchairs and marble countertop, but it’s the food that really shines. Expect fabulous takeaway coffee from Oxford’s New Ground Coffee, tea, hot chocolate and possibly Oxfordshire’s finest sausage rolls, plus cakes and bakes made fresh on the premises. Health warning: Thursday is doughnut day. It’s currently open Thursday-Sunday 10am-2pm
This gentle six-miler starts in Marlow and takes in the Thames Path, locks, a haunted abbey and classic deciduous woodland.
Coffee stop – Fego is a buzzy café on the high street serving Climpson & Sons coffee plus breakfast and lunch dishes with a South African twist. There’s also smoothies, juices and shakes for the caffeine-averse. Open 8.30-4.30pm every day.
Faringdon Circular Walk
If it’s views you’re after, you’ve come to the right place with this 8km loop from Farringdon. 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.
Coffee stop – Stay Grounded Coffee at 7A Market Place offers a fabulous flat white post or pre ramble . It’s currently open for takeaway and although the premises is being taken over by the owners of the pub opposite, it will remain a temple to caffeine and accompanying treats. Open 9-2pm.
Henley to Shiplake
This 5 mile 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 a gentle, quiet wander into the well-heeled village of Shiplake. Then all’s that’s left is to turn around and come back.
Coffee stop – Berries Coffee is one of the few independent cafes that have stayed open in Henley and is offering online ordering and collection for its many hot drinks – rooibos latte anyone? Plus cinnamon buns, croissants and the like. Open Mon-Fri 8-5pm and weekends from 9am.
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.
Coffee stop – The Granary Cafe is under the same ownership as the fabulous deli next door and offers great simple, fresh food made to order as well as a cracking coffee to power you up the hill. Open 9-3pm.
Turville TV Trail
This one will keep the avid TV watcher on their toes. Turville, such is its charm, has appeared in countless films and TV series and this quick 5.3km loop (1.5 – 2 hours) will take in the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang windmill and various scenes from Midsomer Murders, Lewis, The Vicar of Dibley and even Killing Eve. The village is 1.5 miles from Turville Heath, one of the few remaining common grazing areas left in the Chilterns, famed for its ancient oaks and grand avenue of lime trees. There are circular walks around the heath or you can go cross-country between the village and the heath.
Coffee stop – The Barn at Turville Heath is a barn, on a heath. You can’t drive to it, so most approach on foot, by bike or on horseback. Its famous for its venison, lamb and pheasant burgers as well a cracking cuppa, coffee and hot chocolate. It reopens for takeaway Thurs-Sun 10-3pm from February 4th. Be warned: takeaway slots need to be booked online and sell out early.
Chipping Norton to Over Norton
An easy, gentle 4k walk around the rather glorious environs of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds that includes a river crossing, a meander into an ancient graveyard and the remains of an motte and bailey castle.
Coffee stop – The Old Mill Coffee House offers every coffee imagineable, as well as the ones beyond your wildest dreams – Baileys latte anyone? Plus there’s a stonking takeaway menu of burgers, jacket potatoes, sandwiches and cakes if you’re after something more sunstantial. Open 7 days 8-5.30pm (9-5 on Sundays).
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 7.2km trail from Bridgewater Monument to the Beacon here. 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. May want to pick up that brownie with your coffee.
Coffee stop – the cafe at the Ashridge estate is currently closed but Black Goo Coffee in Tring is open for takeaway. It’s open 9am – 4pm for coffee, cakes, bakes and new to the menu is home baked focaccia sandwiches. It’s 3.5 miles from Bridgewater Monument if you want to extend the walk.
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 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 been cordoned off due to Covid). There’s a bike trail too if you fancy adding some extra spice to your strolling.
Coffee stop – Whitewater Deli Cafe is open Mon-Sun 9am-4pm for takeaway, offering its famous sarnies with bacon and sausages from Wendover’s Kings Farm Shop. Or it’s treat enough to just opt for the sumptuous hot chocolate, tea or Monmouth coffee.
Oxford Waterways Walk
This five-miler takes you on a ramble through Oxford’s intricate network of waterways that lead from the city centre down the Thames Path, taking in parts of the river that inspired literary classics such as Alice in Wonderland and Three Men in a Boat.
Coffee stop – Art Café, found opposite Westgate Oxford, is open every day for takeaway coffee and has an excellent sandwich offering with organic, veggie and gluten free options.