My first book was not Oxford Castaways or a novel or poetry book but Oxfordshire Rambles, which was published by The Oxford Times – 10 circular walks devised by the late Jack and Margaret Ibbott. Jack and Margaret introduced me to one of this country’s greatest treasures – our thousands of miles of public footpaths.
When I ended my business and became a freelance writer and author, and was able to work in a flexible manner, I joined Oxford Ramblers. In the early days, I did more walks with Bicester and Banbury because I didn’t know that part of Oxfordshire well and it was a great way to discover new places. You don’t need a map, just suitable footwear. At the end of Oxfordshire Rambles I wrote,
“Walkers often enjoy the best conversations.”
Rambling is an easy, inclusive and friendly way to meet people. If you don’t want to talk, no one will mind, but, if you do it’s easy to move between one walker and another. When our lives were turned upside down by Covid19, walking became a lifeline for many. The Oxford Mail asked me to recommend some walks. Oxford City is not only beautiful but you can walk the Thames Path and the Oxford Canal where it is hard to get lost!
My Oxford Town/Gown literary walk is inspired partly by my novel Sculpting the Elephant, which is half set in Jericho/Oxford .This easy walk takes you to places that most tourists don’t get to see and you tread on one of the cities greatest work of art –the Roger Penrose pavement! It is in the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter. The pattern is not only everlasting but it NEVER repeats itself –inspirational! My walk takes you past the Jericho Tavern where Radiohead was spotted. My protagonist Harry King was a teenager at the Avocado Club on that day and plays their ground breaking and prophetic Okay Computer on his car radio as he heads for London in chapter 1. I interviewed Colin Greenwood of Radiohead for The Oxford Times during the 10 years I wrote the castaway series.
Here is his story Colin Greenwood of Radiohead. Colin Greenwood
If you fancy trying it download the walk here. Sculpting the Elephant Walk leaflet
My favourite Oxfordshire church is in Iffley village so here’s another I wrote for the Oxford Mail.
After that I wanted to concentrate on encouraging parents to get young children walking and connecting with nature. Here are three short walks where children can feel free and connect with nature. From the photos you will see how wonderful they are and how lucky I am to live where I live.
The Roger Penrose Pavement