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Pictures from Oxford Water Walks

Oxford Water Walks

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

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WALKS (see also ‘Alice in Waterland’ walks)


Walking Group 2016 (Dylan Thomas Day)











Left: (in Jericho) by Julie Bukus on Alice’s Day 2023. Right: at Magdalen College, International Dylan Thomas Day 2016.

Some examples of walks of about 1.5 miles:

Oxford’s Castle, Canal and Convicts (circular)

A 90-minute circular historical and literary walk to outline the interconnections between Oxford’s Saxon-origin castle and its waterways.  The walk will consider the distinctive nature of St Thomas’ parish, as the home of the city’s brewing industry and of generations of Oxford’s boating families, and as a particular source of ‘Town and Gown’ resentments. The importance of late-18th-century convict labour will also feature in a walk which will encompass Oxford Castle, the Oxford Canal, the early railway and a sidestream of the River Thames. Some steps.


Jericho: Oxford’s First Planned Suburb (nearly circular)

A 90-minute circular walk through the Victorian suburb of Jericho, highlighting its rich literary and artistic associations. Developed as a result of the relocation of the Oxford University Press in the 1820s, poorly drained Jericho subsequently suffered from vulnerability to disease and a ‘dangerously hospitable’ reputation. But Jericho’s story also encompasses diverse cultural associations, ranging from ‘Alice’ and the Pre-Raphaelites to Thomas Hardy and Inspector Morse. The walk will also encompass the Oxford Movement church of St Barnabas, its cemetery of St Sepulchre’s, the former Lucy’s Ironworks and a peep at the 230-year-old Oxford Canal.  Suggested starting point: OUP’s Walton Street.


Jericho and Oxford Canal (linear)

90-minute walk through the Victorian suburb of Jericho, highlighting its rich literary and artistic associations, in addition to some of its more controversial aspects. , the walk will encompass the Oxford University Press, the Oxford Movement church of St Barnabas and the former Lucy’s Ironworks. In addition to its important industrial history, Jericho’s cultural references range from ‘Alice’ and the Pre-Raphaelites to Thomas Hardy and Inspector Morse. Then on to the 230-year-old Oxford Canal, to consider the latest in the long-running saga of Jericho’s boatyard, to end at Hythe Bridge Street via a slice of railway history. Some steep steps. Suggested starting point: OUP.


Christ Church Meadow (circular)

A 90-minute, leisurely historical and literary circular walk around beautiful Christ Church Meadow, exploring a location which has remained largely unchanged for centuries. Topics will include the Civil War; Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’ (which can constitute the principal theme if required) and other writers of classic fantasy fiction; boat racing and leisure use; seven centuries of beating the ancient bounds of the city; pioneers of hot-air ballooning; flooding; the Botanic Garden; and cricket (made interesting!) and drownings (made poignant). Wheelchair users welcome.



Want to know more? Then come on the only Oxford tours of their kind with local historian, author, publisher, and long-term canalboat resident, Mark Davies. Other walks: city, university and Alice in Wonderland also available.


“Thank you so much for doing such an interesting River/Canal walk for our members. We had an excellent turnout and it seemed to be greatly enjoyed by everybody.”

“I have been shown a whole new – and exciting – side of Oxford which I knew existed but had scarcely begun to know or to appreciate.”

“Reveals a completely ‘secret’ side of Oxford.

“Just wanted to say thank you for the very interesting walk yesterday and to say how interesting and useful I found your book. All in all it was a very fruitful day.”

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