Walking Group

Enjoy walks nearby or further afield

 Our group meets regularly to enjoy a variety of walks, both local and further afield which are planned and led by one of our members. We have done walks of varying lengths starting from different villages including Deddington, Blenheim, Bloxham, Swerford and North Aston.  Walking, chatting and appreciating beautiful scenery give us a healthy appetite for lunch or supper at a nearby pub or cafe. 

In September as the evenings shortened we moved to daytime walks.A small group walked from Bodicote following part of the Bodicote circular route and then enjoyed tea and cakes in a member’s garden.. August our walk took us over the fields from Steeple Barton on a fine evening. Our July walk was enjoyed by eight of us on a wonderful summer evening. We chatted as we walked around the Great Tew estate, admiring the views and the wild flowers along the edges of the track. We were treated to the sight of two hares running and stopping, quite unaware of us, until a buzzard flew over and they ran for cover. 

Once Covid restrictions allowed, our first group walk was from Steeple Barton.on a perfect June evening. 

Sadly, our programme of regular walks was severely disrupted in 2020 and the first half of 2021 by the Covid pandemic. Our last two walks before lockdown were at Steeple Barton in February and Swerford in March 2020, details of which are below.  After that we were unable to walk in our usual group, but many of our members have been out walking either individually or in pairs and our paths have often crossed in or around the village.

When the Rule of Six was in place 4 of us decided to meet each Tuesday morning and we took it in turn to choose and lead a walk. We found that walking in a group of 4 made it possible to socially distance and still chat.  We have thoroughly enjoyed discovering each other’s favourite walks, working out new ones and planning walks for the whole group when that becomes possible some time in the future. It has also permitted us to admire the wonderful scenery in our area in all its glorious colours, from delicate green hues of late Spring to full blown Summer, stunning autumnal shades and the beauty of bare trees in Winter. 

One of our favourite destinations has been the extensive grounds of Blenheim.  In November an added highlight was seeing the impressive but poignant ‘Standing with Giants’ Remembrance tribute in the park there.  A selection of images from some of the walks enjoyed by our small group is on the Gallery page.  

We have been looking forward to sharing these and other walks with a larger group of our members when the situation allowed it. Finally, in June 2021 we made it!  On the evening of Wednesday 23 June 8 of us met up by the quaint church of Steeple Barton and we enjoyed a glorious evening walk, revelling in being in each other’s company and admiring the stunning scenery. There are a couple of photos from that enjoyable evening in the gallery.  We are looking forward to meeting up for a walk again in July, probably in Great Tew, and are hoping that even more members might join us this time.

Our last walk before the first lockdown was a repeat of one much enjoyed by members two years ago.  It was a good circular walk at Swerford on a fairly bright but chilly Spring morning,13 March. Along the way we stopped to admire the views over the hills, daffodils and the magnificent gates and waterfall in the grounds of a property hidden from view. There was also time to see the site of the former castle at Swerford and go inside the tiny church and admire the pews and a painting.  We then continued on by car to Hook Norton Brewery where other members of our WI were waiting for us to share a delicious lunch in the Malthouse Kitchen.  Although our numbers were down a bit due to health issues and concerns about coronavirus, a good time was had by all who participated on the day.  We feared that it might be the last group walk that we would manage for a while and so it has proved to be.

We started 2020 well with an excellent circular walk at Steeple Barton on a chilly February morning.  The main purpose of the walk was to see the splendid swathes of snowdrops in the countryside and particularly in the grounds of Barton Abbey.  A hearty bowl of soup at the Yurt rounded off an enjoyable morning.

In 2019 our programme included two evening walks along the Oxford Canal, a circular walk from Souldern, an evening walk through fields near our village and a circular walk from Deddington. The Souldern walk ended with supper at the Fox Inn in the village and after our Deddington walk we enjoyed coffee and conversation at our walk leader’s house. We rounded off the year with a circular walk in November at Begbroke, a walk which was new to most of us and which was followed by lunch at the Royal Sun.

 

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