Error message

The last booking date for this event has already passed.

Oxford Spires and River Walk (38262)

Event Overview

Join Sylvain for a wander through the gentle hills and meadows surrounding this lovely city.

A scenic walk that combines fine views of the famous Oxford skyline with its ‘dreaming spires’, with a stroll along the Thames towpath wending through attractive ‘hidden’ neighbourhoods and past the beautiful grounds of Christchurch college. There may be time to stop for a drink in one of Oxford’s traditional riverside pubs.


We will walk from the station to the Thames (also known in Oxford as the Isis), then cut through the riverside community of Osney and onto the village of North Hinksey. From there we will ascend through Raleigh Park gaining a fine view of the ‘dreaming spires'. We will then cross meadows and pass through attractive woodland on Boars Hill. We then descent back down towards South Hinksey village, gaining a classic view of the Oxford skyline. From here we will make our way to the Thames in south Oxford, then follow the well-surfaced towpath past the Meadow Building of Christchurch, one of Oxford's largest colleges. Continuing past the historic Folly Bridge, we will continue along the river through urban parkland and past a lock, before arriving back at Osney.

Less More

What to bring

For your comfort and safety please be prepared for the anticipated weather and the terrain of the walk - keep in mind the following:

Boots:  Hiking boots  that  are both waterproof and breathable, and provide good ankle support, are important as soon as you encounter any mud. Cross trainers may suffice in good weather and flat routes.

Socks:  Proper walking socks keep your feet dry, and help prevent blisters.

Walking Trousers:  (ideally water resistant) will be more comfortable than Jeans which are heavy and cold when wet.  From April to October shorts are usually a better bet.

Waterproof Over-Trousers:  essential in any significant rainfall.  Breathable ones are best.

Layered clothing: allows you to quickly adapt to changes in the weather as well as body temperature. E.g. a base layer or a cotton T-Shirt; a mid layer like a micro fleece, or a rugby type thick shirt,  and in cooler weather an outer layer consisting of a windproof jacket or a thick fleece. 

Waterproof Jacket: essential when hiking in all but the calmest of weather.  You get what you pay for with these. Breathable fabrics are advisable.

Hat: essential both in mid winter to preserve heat and in summer to prevent sunburn and heatstroke. 

Gloves: essential in frosty weather.

Small Rucksack: One that is comfortable to wear is essential so that you can use your arms freely. Place valuables in water proof bags inside.

Sunglassses: April- Sept: comfortable sunglasses enhance your pleasure and keep insects out of the eye

Water: even in winter one can loose a litre or more of fluid by perspiration. If you fail to make this up you'll get dehydrated which can lead to headaches and other problems. A hydration bladder is easier to use than bottled water, but higher maintenance.

Food: a packed lunch will be required unless otherwise stated. In addition carry energy bars or similar to counter 'sugar lows'.

Medicines: If you have allergies, are diabetic, or have minor ailments don't forget these!

Food & Drink

A packed lunch, plenty of water and energy bars are essential today. There are M&S and WHSmith shops available at the train station then this walk takes you way off the beaten track.

Meeting & Times

Please log in or register to view this information.

Event Difficulty info

To help you decide if a walk is for you, we now use a national grading system for our walking events that takes account of regional climate, season, distance, max height, height gain, terrain pace and the time of day. The difficulty indicator has 20 possible positions along the scale:

Easy: (Green)
Our entry-level walking event. Suitable for anyone who walks regularly in everyday life, or is reasonably fit. It won’t be very hilly, fast or unduly long. Casual clothing may suffice in good weather.

Moderate: (Yellow)
Requires a little more stamina than an ‘easy walk’ and may take you to some rugged or exposed terrain, and have a faster pace. You’ll need suitable clothes and walking boots.

Hard: (Orange)
Suitable for those used to hiking longer distances and taking you further or higher than average. It will have a better ‘reward factor’ but won’t push you too hard. Correct walking kit is a must.

Very Hard: (Orange-end of scale)
An event for serious outdoor lovers who are very fit. Will involve considerable height gain coupled with distance, remoteness or other factors like rough terrain. Might need specialised kit.  Pushing your boundaries, but with a high ‘reward factor’. Discuss your fitness and kit with the leader.

Other Useful Information

To book a place on this event Log in and click the 'Book Now' button.  If you are unsure you can make it, please use the ‘Interested’ button instead. 

Event limits and Waiting Lists: 1) Limits on numbers are set to satisfy our insurers, and by popular consent. 2) If the event is full when you register, you will appear on the 'waiting list'. 3) Places often become available and are filled on a first-registered, first-served basis. 4) The waiting lists do not move up correctly due to a fault with the website. Therefore, if you can see there are enough spaces available on this walk for everyone, please, just turn up on the day. Many day walk events do have space when the day comes along.

Changes of plan: Please make sure you are able to go. If circumstances have changed please be courteous and un-register quickly! This will free up a space for someone else.

Is this event for me? The walk difficulty indicator gives an idea of how fit you need to be and has 20 positions on an underlying national scale; most walks in the SE are in the moderate category. A walk graded near the green end will suit almost everyone, whereas a walk near the orange end will be faster paced, longer or hillier and require more stamina. If you are unsure, contact the leader in advance for advice.

What about the weather? Outdoorlads events usually go ahead whatever the weather. If you are properly kitted out then rain, cold, or wind won't bother you. If there’s a severe weather warning and we do postpone, the event page will alter to clearly show this at least 12 hours prior, and the leader will send you a private message. In case of doubt, always check the website before setting off.

If you can't make it and it is too late to un-register: There is no need to call the event leader, but it may mean someone else looses out. So an apology left below on this event page or sent to the leader would be appreciated.  A 'failed to attend' note may otherwise be logged against your profile.

Travel and lifts: If you can offer a lift or need one, please use the event forum below. NB The anticipated end time cannot be guaranteed so if buying pre-timed tickets for return travel allow plenty of margin.

If you are late: The group will normally set off at the advertised time.  Latecomers keep everyone else standing about, and upset the event timing meaning people miss trains home etc.  To make sure you are not left behind leave plenty of time for the journey. Sometimes there is a cafe nearby where you may bump into others.

During the event: Please keep with the group. People who go on ahead or lag behind can create problems for the leader and others taking part. If you have a problem do tell the leader straight away; if you need to drop out there may be a place you can wait for a lift, or even catch a bus back. If you need to stop briefly please tell someone, so you are not left behind.

Route plans: Please note the leader may modify the route on the day due to various factors. Please do not try to rendezvous with us, as we cannot guarantee we will be anywhere at a particular place or time.

Dogs: Are usually welcome but please check with the leader. It is essential your dog has good recall or is kept on a lead to avoid worrying wildlife and farm animals, which we almost always encounter. Please ensure it can keep pace with the group and not cause delays or annoyance to other members, some of whom may not be used to dogs. NB You may need to carry it across an obstacle.

If it's your first event: Don't worry! Outdoorlads members come from all walks of life and are as varied as our events. You will meet some nice mates and have a great time. The Event Leader will ensure you are made welcome and introduced to others. Do feel free to message the leader and ask to meet beforehand if you wish.

Afterwards: Why not send the leader your best photo, and he may put it on the event page to share with others. If you have ideas for other walks, please share them with the leader or area coordinator. You can of course also message people you made friends with, using the links on the 'who's going' tab.

Event Page Media

All photos taken by Sylvain (sylvain72)

Event Reference No: