Home Christmas Free winter walks to ramble off the Christmas excess

Free winter walks to ramble off the Christmas excess

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If your festive plum duff has left a few extra inches on your waistline or you need some fresh air to escape from Great Aunt Maude then a winter festival will be right up your bridleway. 

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The Ramblers are inviting people to leave their footprints in the snow and explore some of the Thames Valley’s most beautiful wintry landscapes with a series of FREE walks in the countryside, taking place between Christmas and New Year. There are also walks in other parts of the South East and easily accessible should you fancy exploring somewhere close by.

Perfect for getting into the Christmas spirit or for walking off that Christmas dinner and a great alternative to the Boxing Day sales, these rambles are open to everyone and a great way to walk with friends and family over the Christmas period. 

The Festival of Winter Walks also caters for anyone preferring to step out at their own leisure. People can download a walk from Ramblers Routes, an online library of Britain’s best walks, and head out for their own winter wander with family and friends. There are hundreds of routes throughout Great Britain for everyone to enjoy, and hundreds more for Ramblers members.

Ramblers’ chief executive Benedict Southworth said: “Walking is great at any time of the year: We’re spoiled by our dramatic coastlines, rolling hills and stunning views, but there’s nothing quite like wrapping up warm and heading out with family and friends to explore Britain at its wintry best.

“Our walks during the festival are free, fun and open to everyone, so put on your hat and scarf and join us as we head out into the crisp, clear winter to enjoy the season the way we know best, on our feet.”

Walking for Health, England’s largest network of health walk schemes, run by the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support, will also be leading short, free walks across England during the festival.

For more on the Winter Walks, visit the Ramblers website


Find a path near you: Thames Valley and other South Eastern rambles in the Festival of Winter Walks

CHRISMAS EVE: Whichford circular

Date: Christmas Eve – Wednesday 24 December 2014

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Start time: 10am

Distance: 7 miles

Description: This is the first day of Banbury & North Oxfordshire Ramblers 12 days of Christmas walks. Enjoy a circular ramble over beautiful, undulating Oxfordshire countryside to Traitors Ford and Greenhill Barn. There will be a pub stop along the way. Dogs are welcome, but please keep them on short leads.

Starting point: Whichford village green

Group: Banbury & North Oxfordshire

Boxing Day walk from Marlow

Date: Friday 26 December 2014

Start time: 10am

Distance: 7 miles

Description: Crossing over the Volvo footbridge, this walk takes you up to Bloom Wood, where you’ll enjoy stunning views over the Thames Valley, then down to Fern.

Starting point: The Britannia Pub in Marlow

Nearest postcode: SL7 1HL

Group: Wycombe District

New Forest Walk – Lyndhurst Circular

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Date: Saturday 27 December 2014

Start time: 1.30pm

Distance: 7 miles

Description: A festive circuit of the delightful Lyndhurst, perfect for getting out and about for a moderate walk in between Christmas and the New Year. The New Forest is spectacular in the winter, offering beautiful wintry landscapes to walk through.

Starting point: Boltons Bench car park, Lyndhurst

Group: Southampton

Pyecombe, Sussex

Date: Saturday 27 December 2014

Start time: 10am

Distance: 8 miles

Description: A lovely, moderate ramble on the glorious rolling hills of the South Downs to help burn off any Christmas excesses. A great way to get out and about and enjoy some exercise and fresh air during the festive period.

Starting point: Turn off the A23 at Pyecombe as if going to the A273, then immediately left to park in large cul de sac

Group: East Surrey Walkers

Twixmas Walk

Date: Sunday 28 December 2014

Start time: 10am

Distance: 11 miles

Description: Join the Wycombe District Ramblers for the last Sunday walk in 2014 in the Henley area.

Starting point: Kings Road shoppers car park behind Waitrose, Henley

Nearest postcode: RG9 2DW

Group: Henley & Goring

Eva’s Edenbridge circular

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Date: Sunday 28 December 2014

Start time: 10am

Distance: 9 miles

Description: A lovely winter circular walk from Edenbridge following the meadows along the meandering River Eden, before passing the site of a 14th century castle, and climbing a wooded ridge where an Iron Age fort was situated. After following the route of a Roman road, the walk continues through the Eden valley back to Edenbridge. Please bring a packed lunch.

Starting point: Market Yard Car Park, Croft Lane, Edenbridge

Nearest postcode: TN8 5BZ

Group: West Kent Walking

Winter woodland and farms around Ufton Court

Date: Thursday 1 January 2015

Start time: 10.30am

Distance: 4 miles

Description: A circular walk with a pleasant mixture of woodland and farms around Ufton Court and Grim’s Bank. This mostly flat walk is perfect for starting the new year off on the right foot.

Starting point: Follow signs to Ufton Court and park near the barrier into forest

Group: Loddon Valley

Woodstock, Stately Home and Park

Date: Sunday 4 January 2015

Start time: 10am

Distance: 6.5 miles

Description: A chance to explore parts of beautiful Blenheim Palace parkland. This winter wander passes through Old Woodstock, the Oxfordshire Way, Park Farm, Grand Bridge and the Column of Victory.

Starting point: Woodstock, Park Street car park

Group: Thame & Wheatley

West Stoke

Date: Sunday 4 January 2015

Start time: 9.30am

Distance: 11 miles

Description: From West Stoke, this walk passes through Stoke Wood, Lodge, over the Bronze Age burial barrows of Devil’s Humps then on to Stoughton Down, Highdown Plantation, West Dean, Welldown and back to West Stoke.

Starting point: West Stoke car park

Nearest postcode: PO18 9BE

Group: South East Hants

If you’d prefer to walk at your own leisure, why not try the following routes:

The Wokingham Way: Coppid Beech to Ambarrow Court

Length: 7.8 miles

Walking time: 3 hours 52 minutes

Difficulty: Moderate

Starting point: Coppid Hill Guest House, London Road

Description: This route follows part of the Wokingham Way, a long-distance walking route around the Wokingham borough boundary. This stretchtakes you through parts of ancient Bracknell Forest, which was once part of the royal forest of Windsor and makes for lovely winter walking.

A walk through the countryside from YHA Jordans

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Length: 4 miles

Walking time: 2 hours

Difficulty: Leisurely

Starting point: YHA Jordans

Nearest postcode: HP9 2SN

Description: A leisurely circular walk starting from and ending at the YHA Jordans. This walk takes you through pretty woodland and open countryside, passing Stampwell Farm, one of England’s ancient farms from the Saxon era.

Pagham Harbour and Sidlesham, West Sussex

Length: 7.2 miles

Walking time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Difficulty: Leisurely

Starting point: Church Farm Lane, Sidlesham, West Sussex

Description: This route offers fantastic views over Pagham Harbour, an important and peaceful nature reserve. Winter is the busiest time for wildlife, with up to 20,000 birds within the reserve. Look out for lapwings, black-tailed godwits, dark-bellied brent geese and golden plovers to name a few. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a seal basking on the islands.

Leisurely circular walk from Truleigh Hill

Length: 3.3 miles

Walking time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Starting point: Truleigh Hill YHA, Sussex

Description: This easy to follow route starts out on the South Downs Way, following a south easterly bridle path, Monarchs Way, across undulating chalk downland. It leaves the Monarchs Way at the first intersection and returns to the hostel on a north westerly track. Enjoy panoramic downland views to the west and over the sea.


For further information about the Festival of Winter Walks and to browse the festive walks or routes on offer, visit www.ramblers.org.uk/winterwalks.

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