Explore Kidlington’s historic past with a wellbeing walk this Easter

Residents and visitors to Kidlington are being invited to lace up their walking boots and follow three new historic trails, plotting a route around the significant landmarks found in the area

Published: Wednesday, 6th April 2022

Following the successful installation of the zoo trails walking routes last autumn, Cherwell’s K5 Better Together partnership has now launched the explorer routes, encouraging a longer adventure into the villages and countryside surrounding Kidlington.

Rosie Rowe, Cherwell District Council’s Healthy Place Shaping lead, said: “We’re always looking for opportunities to help support residents’ physical and mental wellbeing. While our zoo trails offer families a great opportunity to take some light exercise, the new explorer routes are designed for those who want a slightly bigger challenge. We’ve worked with local walking groups to design three maps which take in the beautiful countryside around Kidlington while introducing people to some of the hidden heritage in the area. They’re the perfect tool for a wellbeing weekend walk!”

The three routes are all around five miles long (8 kilometres) and take about three hours to complete. The first trail, called the Water Vole, takes in a stretch of the Oxford Canal and visits landmarks including Vanbrugh’s Privy in the garden of Hampden Manor, reputed to be a luxurious toilet block designed by Sir John Vanbrugh at the same time as he built Blenheim Palace!

The second map is called the Kingfisher route and meanders through the villages of Hampton Poyle, Shipton-on-Cherwell and Thrupp. Historic sites of interest include St Giles’ Church and the ruins of the Manor House in Hampton Gay.

A third route will be launched later this summer, plotting a route around Islip, Noke and Woodeaton.

The walks not only promote physical and mental health but aim to provide greater connectivity between Kidlington and the surrounding villages, which is one of the ambitions of the K5 Better Together partnership.

Hard copies of the maps can be found at Kidlington library and Exeter Hall. As well as plotting the pathway, the leaflets include information about the history of the area alongside a range of photographs taken by members of Kidlington Camera Club.

The explorer routes are deigned to offer a long walk, which can be challenging in the winter months. They also include paths which cross stiles, so are not suitable for those with limited mobility.

For more information about the trails, including a downloadable map, go to cherwell.gov.uk/explorer-routes

Cherwell’s existing circular and historic walks, which highlight potential routes in other areas of the district, can be found at cherwell.gov.uk/circular-walks-in-cherwell

To be kept up to date with the K5 Better Together partnership, follow @K5BetterTogether on Facebook.

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