Before the lockdown, I always wanted to explore Eynsham with my husband and two children. We had lived here 5 years but hadn’t realised what beautiful walks there were just out of the door but we always worried about getting lost. I always looked longingly at the footpath signs when waiting in the queue at the toll bridge, commuting into town in the morning. I used to look through the gaps in the bridge and wonder where the path along the river went and the whether you were allowed to walk along the boat yard or what path do you take if there were cows grazing or the field was flooded?
During lockdown, at first you were only allowed to go on a 30-minute run or an hour walk locally, so I went on a mission to find the Wharf Stream Way on my own. I navigated past the allotments, skimmed past tall grass, looked up to see the fairytale Wytham woods, discovered the lock and followed the well-trodden path in blissful sunshine. I couldn’t get home fast enough to tell my family about it. I think that since ‘discovering’ the walk, we’ve walked (and jogged) it a hundred times.
We’ve now explored the Millennium woods, the Eynsham Mill walk, Church Hanborough and Freeland walk (until the cows block our path and we had to turn back!). We’ve walked to Pink Hill lock, cycled up to Kings (with a lot of whinging) and when the lockdown was relaxed, drove to Rose Revived and walked to Northmoor lock. For us, Eynsham’s footpaths have been a game-changer. We know that within minutes from our door we can be in the countryside or walking by the river and feel completely at ease with everything.