The Oxford Canal Walk – Banbury to Lower Heyford  No ratings yet.

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Route Summary:

Distance
Ascent
Time
20.34 km 81 m

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Start and Finish:

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The Oxford Canal Walk – Banbury to Lower Heyford Details

The Oxford Canal Path stretches from Coventry to Oxford, and the full route can be seen here.

We took the trip from Banbury onwards to Lower Heyford – around 21km, just right for a long run or a sedate ramble. The strangest thing about running it is that you’re actually moving faster than the narrowboats!

This route has the advantage of being between two railway stations, and so it’s easy enough to return to the start. The path is often narrow and can be a little overgrown in places, with a lot of ducking required! The instructions below are a bit sparse, but there’s little to finding your way. If you can’t see the canal, then you’ve missed the path, or if you’re soaked wet you’ve fallen in. That’s about it really.

1 We set off from the town centre or railway station, and within minutes you’re out of the town and you’re out in the countryside.

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2 The Canal meanders on and after around 3km you’ll cross under the M40 – the noise of which is a bit obtrusive for the next 4 km until you pass back beneath it and leave it behind.

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3 You cross a busy road at Nell Bridge Lock, and you also cross to the other side of the canal in the process.

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4 Aynho Wharf is a busy marina spot, and has a welcome pub (Great Western Arms ) within sight of the path. As I was running, I decided against a pint at this stage!

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5 The path does get a bit more uneven underfoot between here and Lower Heyford, something noticeable whilst running but not enough to make a difference while walking. This is another straightforward section, which is easy to follow. You can leave at Upper Heyford for the Barley Mow Pub , or continue onwards to Lower Heyford where there’s the Bell Inn in the village or Heyford Wharf bistro on the canal.

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Ensure that you check whether the facilities are open when you’re doing the route, as we found both pubs towards the end closed. Fortunately, the Bell opened30 mins later, so I waited!!

The canal can be a bit samey, but there’s plenty of wildlife and you can also make it a walk between pubs, just don’t overindulge in case you fall in!

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Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader. Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.

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