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Oxford Water Walks

Historical & Literary Walks & Talks, and Books by Oxford Towpath Press

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About Mark Davies

Oxford Water Walks, Oxford Towpath Talks, and Oxford Towpath Press are brought to you by Mark Davies.

Me (cropped) April 2019

Mark Davies is an Oxford local historian, author, public speaker, guide, and publisher with a particular focus on the city’s waterways. Most of Mark’s early life was spent by the sea – in Hampshire, Sussex, Kent, and South Wales – but his interest in inland rather than coastal waters grew as a result of a chance decision to live on a canalboat in central Oxford in 1992.

Since then Mark has written and published several Oxford local interest books, three of which are currently in print: Alice in Waterland (2010/2012/2023), Alice’s Oxford on Foot (2014/18), and Stories of Oxford Castle (2005/19). In 2015 his biography of the Oxford pastry cook James Sadler (who became the unlikely first Englishman to build and ascend in an air balloon in 1784 – see ‘King of all Balloons’ page) was published by Amberley Books. Other works include What a Liberty! (Museum of Oxford Developement Trust, 2021); and Jericho, Oxford (Chris Andrews Publications, 2022).

Mark composed the text for the three-mile Oxford Canal Heritage Trail, from central Oxford to beyond Wolvercote – see Recommended Sites – and for the Royal Geographical Society’s ‘City of Streams and Spires’ waterside walk to Sandford-on-Thames. He has also featured in national and local TV and radio programmes about the waterways, ‘Alice’, and Oxford history generally – see Media page.

Mark speaks on a variety of historical and literary themes to organisations all over Oxfordshire (and beyond – Ireland in 2017 and 2023, for instance, and Assam in India in 2018) . He also leads walks through less-visited parts of Oxford for a range of local and international organisations and at annual events such as Oxford Preservation Trust’s “Open Doors”, The Story Museum’s “Alice’s Day”, and the Oxford Festival of the Arts. He also provides commentaries on Thames’ cruises operated by Oxford River Cruises and has hosted Mad Hatter’s Tea Parties at Christ Church.

Mark moved off his residential narrowboat, ‘Bill the Lizard’, in 2020 after nearly 30 happy and productive years, and continues to be active in the much-publicised ongoing campaign to retain a boatyard in the Oxford suburb of Jericho, as Chair of the Jericho Living Heritage Trust and a trustee of the Jericho Wharf Trust. He is also a Lewis Carroll Society trustee, on the committee of the Alliance of Literary Societies and a member of the Society of Authors.

See also here: https://shepherd.com/bboy/2023/f/mark-davies

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