Walkers from across Oxfordshire have been rediscovering the countryside during the coronavirus lockdowns.

This is set to continue as lockdown eases as more people have enjoyed getting close to nature - with other activities severely limited due to government restrictions.

People in walking groups have been devising their own short circular walks during 2020 and this year.

A heron on the walk

A heron on the walk

One local rambler is Wendy Thomas whose favourite walk is a five-mile stroll in Oxford.

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She said: “Lockdown prevented me from walking with my usual group of the ramblers but fortunately there have been numerous attractive local walks for me to rediscover.

“I really enjoy walking along the canal or the river and revisiting local nature reserve and this walk enables me to combine them all.”

Ms Thomas said her chosen walk usually lasts for five miles but can be shortened by omitting the Trap Grounds or Burgess Field.

She added: “Starting from Hythe Bridge Street, take the canal towpath and head north, past the house boats, until you reach the bridge at Frenchay Road.

Swans and cygnets seen on the walk

Swans and cygnets seen on the walk

“I usually see at least one heron along here and there are always lots of ducks and swans to watch quite apart from any passing boats.”

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Ms Thomas said walkers could stop in Frenchay Road, north Oxford to admire murals on the bridge, created in 2016/17 as part of the Oxford Canal Mural Project.

She added: “Then you turn your back on them and enter the Trap Grounds just behind you.

Frenchay Road murals

Frenchay Road murals

“Take the path ahead running west towards the railway line; soon you will meet a boardwalk on your left, follow it through the trees over the ponds and reed-beds.

“Keep following the path which curves gently towards the railway line.

“Depending on the season when you visit, you will see lots of flowers such as snowdrops, primroses and marsh marigolds and water birds on the ponds. It is hard to believe that this little reserve as well as the nearby Burgess Field was created, at least in part, from a former rubbish tip!”

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Ms Thomas said in the far south west corner is a building behind which is a narrow concrete path. She added: “Follow the path, emerging at the foot of the Aristotle Lane bridge which you then take to access Port Meadow. Walk towards the river but, on reaching the concrete path, turn right and follow it to the gate into the south west corner of Burgess Field.

"Imagine Burgess Field as a rectangle bounded on the west and north by Port Meadow, on the east by the rail line and on the south by the allotments and then set out to explore. The spring blossom is delightful and watch for rabbits!”

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Walkers are advised to cross the meadow to the Thames Path and head south towards Oxford. Where the Bulstake Stream joins the Thames, take the path under the railway line. From here return to Hythe Bridge Street.