Walk to Oxford University Parks, 3-7 miles

A lovely Oxford parks walk starting through Headington Hill Park, along the gorgeous Mesopotamia canal walk, through Parson’s Pleasure, into University Parks and back. There are a couple of extensions which you can add and everywhere is good for a picnic. Minimum 3 miles (1 1/4 hour) if you do not do much walking of University Parks or 5-7 miles if you add a pub in Old Marsdon and or the Great Meadow extension.

Start at the main entrance of Headington Hill Park (S), the big notice board, make your way anti-clockwise around the park (following the red dashed line on this route). Note or visit Headington Hall at the top of the Park (1).

Exit the park & admire the huge and recently completed Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (2), worth a visit if you can secure a tour!

Cross the canal bridge at the old mill: the river here (3) is a lovely spot to swim in the summer & you may see punters or canoeists.

You are now on Mesopotamia, a lovely walk with the canal on one side and the Cherwell river on the other. Walk 500m and cross right on a pedestrian bridge.

Following the red route, at (4) you are on the New Marsden Meadow. Watch out for commuting cyclists!

Re-cross the canal & river and enjoy the legendary Parson’s Pleasure and Dame’s Delight (5, no longer the punters’ surprise it was until 1991). You may often spot a heron at the weir. The curious steel rollers are to allow punts to bypass the weir.

After this, go through the kissing gates into University Park. This is another gem of a park.

Go onto the bridge at (6) and admire the Cherwell. {extension 1: If you cross to the other side, you can turn left (north) and walk a pretty river side mile to the Victoria Arms. Half way there, you will pass the Cherwell boathouse on the other side of the river. Rent punts from here or visit their excellent restaurant. This is a better and cheaper place to punt from than the other option on Magdalene Bridge.}

Depending on how far you want to walk in the University Park, carry on to the pond & feed the ducks (7) and return looking out for the Swift Tower nearby.

Exit the Park using the same kissing gate and make your way back, now following the purple line. Opposite the weir, go through an pram friendly gate to the bridge at (8). {extension 2: Here you could extend your walk exploring along the south side of the Cherwell. You will eventually need to come back to (8), but you may want to loiter at the other great swimming spot at (9) in Music Meadow / Great Meadow.}

Cross the (8) bridge back onto Mesopotamia and make your way back to our park.

Following the purple line, you may want to go a bit off track near the end of the walk and ultimately return and end on our lime tree avenue (E)