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Walking, Cycling and Horse Riding

Public Rights of Way and access to the countryside:

For a brief overview of where you can and can’t go in the countryside, and what you can do while there see the Oxfordshire County Council What are Public Rights of Way page.

At the simplest level there are four types of Public Right of Way:

  •  Bridleways, Restricted Byways and Byways open to all traffic allow access for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
  • Footpaths are for walkers only.

All of these paths are clearly signposted on the ground and appear on Ordnance Survey maps such as the Explorer series – sheet 180 covers the Oxford area and is the best map for general usage.

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Other types of public access routes such as National Trails, Recreational Paths and Permissive Footpaths and Bridleways also appear on Ordnance Survey maps and are often signposted as well. Open Access Areas and Common Land also allow public access, but are often less clearly identified. There may well be restrictions on some routes that stop you from doing anything beyond simply passing through. For example a Permissive Path might only operate within certain hours or require that dogs are kept on a lead.

If you plan to use routes that are not Public Rights of Way (where very few if any restrictions usually apply) the best thing to do is to identify any potential restrictions before setting off, and obviously comply with any signs making statements such as ‘Private Property – no trespassing or access’.

So how do you find your way around this complex subject? If you haven’t got an Ordnance Survey map to hand then the Oxfordshire County Council’s Countryside Access Map shows many of the routes available for general access including Public Rights of Way (handy hint – use the tick boxes in the left hand column to indicate which type of routes you want to show).

Another useful online map is the Sustrans walking, cycling and public transport map. Additional local routes and open areas are also included in the ‘Walking’ section of this page. For more detail check out the Natural England website’s pages on Countryside Visitors and the Countryside Code, and download their booklet Out in the country.

Walking:

Why not try out one of our recommended walks next time you feel like a stroll? These walks are mainly off road and take in a wide variety of landscapes and sights. Click on the links to download a printable description of your chosen walk, together with a map and photographs of the route. Additional walks will be added throughout 2013 so keep your eyes peeled for new ones to try out. Some routes pass through local parks or nature reserves and feature historic sites (see below and the Local History page for more details).

  • Recommended Walk No.1 – Circular Tours of Botley & North Hinksey. There are two walks featured here including many of our natural and historic highlights. The longer walk circles around the boundaries of the area and is about 80% off road. Suitable for dog walkers but not for cyclists.
  • Recommended Walk No. 2 – Oxford Bound. A number of routes are detailed, taking you to central Oxford via the area south of Botley Road. North Hinksey, Osney Island, South Hinksey, New Hinksey and Grandpont are all featured in at least one of these routes. Suitable for dog walkers and one route suitable for cyclists.

Parks and open spaces.
There are a number of parks, woods, nature reserves and other open spaces within or immediately surrounding this area and you can find out more about access, location, main features and other useful information in our Playgrounds, parks & other open spaces page.

Walks in Oxford:
There are many opportunities for a varietty of walks in and around Oxford. Further details about some of these can be found on the Walks in Oxford website. Please note that this website links to several other websites containing detailed walks or selling leaflets detailing walks rather than containing the detailed routes itself.

Cycling:

Check out the Cycling in the Vale page on the Vale of White Horse District Council website for some ideas about longer cycle routes in the region. You can also find suitable cycle routes around the Oxford area on the Transport Paradise Cycle Map page or using the downloadable Oxford Cycle Routes map from the campaigning group Cyclox.  You can also plan your route online using CycleStreets (which is based on OpenStreetMap).

Horse Riding:

If you’re a relative beginner then the best place to start for horse riding lessons and more is the Old Manor House Riding School in North Hinksey Lane. You can find out more about them by searching for ‘Old Manor House Riding School LLP Group’ on Facebook.