Countryside walks and health routes

Health Routes in Kidlington

Kidlington and Gosford Zoo Trails

Five, zoo-themed walking trails have been installed in Kidlington, designed to help families to explore their local area on foot, improving community connectivity and boosting physical and mental wellbeing.

The project has been funded by Sport England with the National Lottery and created by Cherwell’s healthy place shaping team, K5 Better Together, in partnership with Kidlington Parish Council.

More than 180 people took part in test-walks on the proposed routes, including officers from Thames Valley Police and representatives from Oxfordshire Association for the Blind. The feedback resulted in five circular trails being chosen, each being given an animal theme, reflecting Kidlington’s history as being home to Oxford Zoo in the 1930s.

The green monkey trail takes in Kidlington High Street, The Moors and Park Hill Recreation Ground; The orange lion route roars through Orchard Recreation Ground and does a circuit of Gosford before returning to Exeter Hall; The blue elephant trail stomps past Kidlington Football Club, around Garden City and through Ron Groves Park; The final pink bear trail is a two-in-one, passing through Chorefields and visiting the canal, while providing a shorter bear cub route for little legs.

Each path is easy to follow, with animal paw prints painted on the ground and signposts provided to help people find their way. 

The trails vary in length from 1.7km to 5km, offering a slightly different experience for the walker. People can join the circuits at any point but central signage at Exeter Hall marks the official start and end points.

Features, including child-friendly games painted on the ground, bug houses, scramble boulders and balancing logs, each adding interest on the way, while benches are being provided as a point for rest and relaxation. The routes have been designed to be accessible and user friendly, including the provision of short-cuts, so that all ages and abilities can enjoy them.

For more information about the trails and to take a guided walk, take a look at our child-friendly map.

Kidlington Explorer Routes

Residents and visitors to the Kidlington can now lace up their walking boots and follow three new historic trails, plotting a route around the significant landmarks in the local area.

Following the successful installation of the Zoo Trails walking routes last autumn, Cherwell’s K5 Better Together partnership has now launched the Explorer Routes, encouraging a longer adventure into the villages and countryside surrounding Kidlington.

We’ve worked with local walking groups to design three maps which take in the beautiful countryside around Kidlington while introducing people to some of the hidden heritage in the area. They are all around five miles long (8 kilometres) and take about three hours to complete. The walks can be challenging, especially in the winter months. They also include paths which cross stiles, so are not suitable for those with limited mobility.

The first trail, called the Water Vole, takes in a stretch of the Oxford Canal and visits landmarks including Vanbrugh’s Privy in the garden of Hampden Manor, reputed to be a luxurious toilet block designed by Sir John Vanbrugh at the same time as he built Blenheim Palace!

The second map is called the Kingfisher route and meanders through the villages of Hampton Poyle, Shipton-on-Cherwell and Thrupp. Historic sites of interest include St Giles’ Church and the ruins of the Manor House in Hampton Gay.

The third route on the Butterfuly trail plots a route around Islip, Noke and Woodeaton.

As well as highlighting the pathway, the leaflets include information about the history of the area alongside a range of photographs taken by members of Kidlington Camera Club.

Hard copies of the maps can be found at Kidlington library and Exeter Hall. Alternatively, you can download a version.