A desire to see Oxfordshire, Berkshire and London from a different angle, to swap busy schedules for the peace of the riverbank and to spend healthy, quality time together as a family inspired us to walk the Thames Path with our two children, aged 6 and 9. Rather than doing the path in ‘order’ we’re picking a stretch (or two) each holiday and are gradually putting the pieces together to complete the whole course. So from time to time I’ll blog a bit about different stretches, both about what we particularly enjoyed but also some helpful information on how long and difficult each section is and how we got there and back.
New Year’s Day was a good day to do the path from Oxford to Godstow because fewer bikes were out and lots of leisurely walkers. We started at the top of Marlborough Road in the city centre and walked past the ice rink up to Osney Lock. If your children are into technology, the locks are a fun part of the path: spotting the difference between each one, comparing lock masters’ houses and trying to explain to each other how locks work. Osney Lock’s turbine is visible through a glass window which makes the mechanics seem more real.
To make our trips a little more exciting, we’ve added some geocaching into the mix. It’s not clear who enjoys it the most, Glenn or the children, but in Portmeadow, we found the second oldest geocache in Oxford. Portmeadow itself is a good place for city children to go free range with beautiful views of the countryside on one side and of the city on the other.
At Godstow Nunnery we discovered it was now occupied by a lot of cows, one of whom seemed very interested in discovering more about its history. The cows didn’t get a walk on role when Godstow Nunnery was featured as one of the backdrops in Mamma Mia 2, but the clip from the film gives a good impression of the beauty of the space.
The Trout Inn was booked out on New Year’s Day and the buses back into Oxford weren’t very regular so we needed to sprint down the Woodstock Road (I use the term relatively!) to catch a rare bus back to town. The walk was 4 km in total, so took less than two hours to do at a leisurely pace, enjoying various adventures in Portmeadow along the way.
This guest blog has been written by Lizzy Nesbitt, Principal of Emmanuel Christian School and Mum of two.
If you’re looking for more family walks, the Didcot to Upton Art Trail is a good one and also suitable for a bike ride.