Parties and big family lunches may not be an option this year, but Oxfordshire has an abundance of glorious walks to enjoy over the holiday season and provide an opportunity for us to embrace the great outdoors and walk off all that festive fare!

Although Oxfordshire is now in Tier 4 so coronavirus restrictions currently limit socialising, mental health charity Mind says that getting outside for walks and enjoying nature is vital to maintain good mental health.

Whether you fancy a city stroll to take in Oxfordshire’s streets, architecture and parks or a romp through the countryside – there is a route for everyone.

Oxford City Council has compiled a list of ‘55 free things to do’ in Oxford’s green spaces

From the splendour of Blenheim Palace to a tow path walk between Henley and Shiplake, a trip to White Horse Hill at Uffington or a chance to explore weirs, islands and locks from the Thames path at Abingdon, a trek around Chipping Norton and the Cotswolds, a stroll around the mysterious Rollright Stones, or a trip to Chinnor Hill nature reserve, Oxfordshire is a county rich in walking options.

Go Active Outdoors lists the parks and walk routes in and around Oxford city centre.  These trails are suitable for all levels of walkers and maps are available for download. They are suitable for all ages, abilities and can be used at any time of the day, even over the festive period. https://www.oxford.gov.uk/goactiveoutdoors

Oxford City Council has compiled a list of ‘55 free things to do’ in Oxford’s green spaces, which includes many ideas for outdoor activities that families can participate in.  https://www.oxford.gov.uk/news/article/1660/christmas_walks_promoted_for_family_and_friendship_groups_this_winter

Oxford Health Walks also offers walk routes, ranging from gentle walks to more advanced levels.  Although the walk sessions are currently suspended due to the coronavirus restrictions, the site offers information and walk guides around Jericho, Blackbird Leys and Marston.  Sustainable Healthcare outlines the benefits of these walk routes on our mental and physical health. The Jericho Green Health route has been mapped using a new interactive mapping tool, and is available to download. https://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/walkfinder/south-east/oxford-health-walks-0

The Street Tag app is a free family-friendly way to get active outdoors, with reward-based games that track physical activity.  It can be used to make walking, running and cycling in the city more fun and is suitable for all the family.

Councillor Louise Upton, Cabinet Member for a Safer, Healthy Oxford said:

“It’s really important for our mental health and wellbeing to get outside particularly over the festive period.  Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are all going to have to do things differently this year. We are lucky to have so many parks and green spaces in Oxford.”

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