16 km Casual Oxford Cycle

16 km Casual Oxford Cycle

16 km Casual Oxford Cycle

This route is recommended for the rider(s) who have some time on their hands and want a mostly relaxed riding route. Some of the pathways are narrow and shared with other cyclists and pedestrians, so you’ll want to ride gently here and take your time. Besides, the route takes you along some lovely river and canal paths, so you’ll want to take your time and enjoy the sites. It is recommended that you park in the Union Street car park, just off Cowley Road, as Cheney Lane allows two hours of parking for non-residents. You can rent a bike with Bainton Bikes, Brompton Bikes, Byke, or Pony. You can also use Parkopedia to find parking if you have your own bicycle.

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Route overview of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle

Route overview

South Park is the largest park within Oxford’s city limits. It is well-known for its brilliant view of Oxford’s historic spires and towers of Oxford University. You can see this view from the park’s highest point; taking a victory selfie from here at the end of your cycle is a good idea. A number of events are held here, such as a fund-raising fireworks show, and, previously, a concert by Radiohead was held here in front of 40,000 people, potentially the largest public gathering in Oxford history.

South Park, Oxford

South Park. Credit: The Oxford Magazine

The barrier at the end of Cheney Lane is a bit of a squeeze, so don’t go too fast. Turn left onto Headington Road, then right onto Marston Road at the traffic lights. Turn left onto Ferry Road, then left onto Marston Cyclepath.

Part 1 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle from South Park along Marston Road

Part 1 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle

Along the cycle path, you’ll see the Parson’s Pleasure Bathing Place and ride over Lemond and Fignon Bridge.

Part 2 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle along the Marston Cycle path past Parson's Pleasure Bathing Place

Part 2 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle

The Parson’s Pleasure Bathing Place is located on the River Cherwell, which is connected to the Mesopotamia Walk. This exclusive location for men-only nudist bathing was shut down in 1991. There are still remnants of Parson’s, such as “Parson’s Pleasure Ale,” a barley wine that the Oxford University Beer Appreciation Society commissioned a local brewery to make in 1996. Furthermore, a group of former Oxford University students initially employed Parson’s Pleasure Surprise Maximus, a bell-ringing approach, in 2010. Females weren’t entirely left out; from 1934 to 1970, there was a bathing place called “Dame’s Delight” for clothed females close by.

Parson's Pleasure Bath on the Mesopotamia Walk.

Parson’s Pleasure Bath. Credit: Where Thames Smooth Waters Glide

Fignon and Lemond Bridge was named after a two-time Tour de France winner (who won on his first attempt, too), Laurent Fignon, and Greg Lemond, a three-time Tour winner. Fignon has numerous other achievements, including participating in some of the most challenging 1-day races and races in Spain and Italy. His achievements are sometimes overlooked, as he sadly lost one Tour de France to Lemond by just 8 seconds in 1989. Fignon and Lemond rightly deserve to be remembered in this way by cyclists who use the bridge.

Lemond and Fignon Bridge

Lemond and Fignon Bridge. Credit: Cycling UK Oxfordshire

Exit onto South Parks Road, turn right onto Hinshelwood Road, then left on Sherrington Road, where you will pass the Clarendon Laboratories and the Beecroft Building. Turn right onto Parks Road to pass the University Parks.

Part 3 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle from Parson's Pleasure Bathing Place to the Clarendon Laboratory

Part 3 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle

Clarendon Laboratories became the laboratory for pioneers in atomic physics and is where instruments for planetary spacecraft are made. Additionally, the Beecroft Building is used for experimental and theoretical physics, including research into quantum computing. The building was opened by Sir Tim Berners-Lee (the inventor of the World Wide Web, HTML language, the URL, and HTTP) and Adrian Beecroft, a former student of Oxford and a donor to the building.

Clarendon Laboratories

Clarendon Laboratories. Credit: Cycling UK Oxfordshire

Beecroft Building.

Beecroft Building. Credit: Cycling UK Oxfordshire

Continue along Parks Road then, just before the end of University Parks, turn right onto Norham Gardens.

Part 4 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle from Parks Road to Norham Gardens

Part 4 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle

Turn left onto Fyfield Road, right onto Norham Road, left onto Dragon Lane, and left onto Bardwell Road. Turn right onto Banbury Road, then left onto St. Margaret’s Road.

Part 5 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle from Norham Gardens to Dragon Lane and St. Margaret's Road

Part 5 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle

At the roundabout, turn right onto Kingston Road, then left onto Aristotle Lane to reach the entrance of Port Meadow and get a view across the green meadow. Leaving the park, make your way back to Aristotle Lane, then turn right onto the path that runs parallel to the canal. The path is quite narrow, so ride with caution.

Part 6 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle to Aristotle Road and Port Meadow

Part 6 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle

Riding in Port Meadow during the summer would be best, as it tends to flood in other seasons. Once utilized as grazing ground, Port Meadow is one of Oxford’s largest green spaces. It has, so the tradition goes, not been ploughed for at least 4,000 years. Its preservation has led to the discovery of several well-preserved archaeological artefacts, such as Iron Age settlement remnants, a large number of Bronze Age round barrows, and 17th-century defences from the Parliamentary siege of Oxford during the English Civil War.

There are occasions when the meadow’s southernmost portion floods during the winter and freezes over, creating a relatively safe skating rink. Additionally, you will witness a multitude of creatures and exquisite buttercups in late April.

Port Meadow. Credit: Cycling UK Oxfordshire

Continue along the pathway, passing under one bridge and past another. Follow the path onto Hythe Bridge, then turn left and continue onto George Street after the intersection. You will pass the Gloucester Green Market on your left. Leaving the market, turn right onto New Inn Hall Street. This street is usually busy with pedestrians. In St. Michael’s Street, you’ll find Bike Zone if you need anything for your bike.

Part 7 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle from Port Meadow along Castle Mill Stream

Part 7 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle

Gloucester Green Market is an outdoor market open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. It’s a rather busy market selling all things nik-naks, crafts, and, of course, food from around the world.

Gloucester Green Market

Gloucester Green Market. Credit: Cycling UK Oxfordshire

Cross over Queen Street into St. Ebbe’s Street. You can ride along here, listening to the buskers (some better than others), or grab a quick bite at one of the cafes on this road. Turn left onto Pembroke Street, where you will find the Modern Art Oxford and Story Museum on your left. Watch out for buses and taxis as you cross the street right onto St. Aldate’s, where you will pass Christ Church on your left.

Part 8 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle to Modern Art Oxford and the Story Museum

Part 8 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle

Modern Art Oxford is a contemporary art space that offers online and in-person programmes as well as a gallery space and Creative Space where people of all ages can learn and play. The Story Museum is the perfect place for the family to have fun. With immersive exhibitions, gallery spaces, and events and performances, it’s almost impossible to get bored.

Modern Art Oxford

Modern Art Oxford. Credit: Cycling UK Oxfordshire

The Story Museum

The Story Museum. Credit: Cycling UK Oxfordshire

Continue along St. Aldate’s to reach the Christ Church Memorial Garden. Unfortunately, no bicycles are allowed here; however, you can get a decent view through the gates as you cycle past. There is bike parking just up the hill. If that is full, use the railings at St. Aldate’s Church. Continue along St. Aldate’s, then turn left after Folly Bridge on the path along the River Thames. You will also pass “The Head of the River Pub” just before the bridge.

Part 9 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle to Christ Church Memorial Garden

Part 9 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle

The beautiful Christ Church War Memorial Garden was established in 1926 to commemorate former students of Christ Church College who died or went missing in the First World War. If you look carefully, the pavement of the garden path has an inscription featuring a passage from John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress that reads, “My sword I give to Him. That shall succeed me in my pilgrimage.”

War Memorial Garden of Christ Church

War Memorial Garden of Christ Church. Credit: Bob Collowan, Wikimedia Commons

Continue along this pathway until you reach the ramp going up to Donnington Bridge. The ramp is pretty steep and has a sharp bend. Cross the road onto the far side of the road so the traffic passes on your left. This will make it easier to turn right onto Meadow Lane. Go through the gate to cut through the grassed park, following a diagonal path to Cavell Road on the other side. Turn left onto Henley Avenue, then turn onto the path behind the bus stop to cycle past the fields on your right.

Part 10 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle over Donnington Bridge onto Meadow Lane

Part 10 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle

Continue along this path over Rymers Lane and Cowley Road. You can continue along Marsh Road, then turn left onto the narrow road just before the road curves to the right. Alternatively, go through the park’s gate across the car park and follow the marked shared foot and cycle track. At the end, turn left onto Barracks Lane.

Part 11 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle past Florence Park

Part 11 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle

Turn left along Barracks Lane, which passes the play area on your left and sports fields on either side of you.

Part 12 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle onto Barracks Lane

Part 12 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle

At the end of the lane, turn right onto Bartlemas Close. This is a bit of a climb, but you’re almost done. Curve with the path along Southfield Park, and at the end, turn right, left, then left again onto Hill Top Road.

Part 13 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle through Recreation Grounds

Part 13 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle

Turn right onto Divinity Road, then at the roundabout, turn right again onto Warneford Lane. Turn left onto Cheney Lane to end at South Park.

Part 14 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle back to South Park

Part 14 of the 16 km Casual Oxford Cycle

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Resources:

This route was curated in collaboration with Cycling UK Oxfordshire.

If you enjoyed this route, see our 13km Roundabout cycle route

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Download the GPX file.

Information from various sources including wikipedia.org

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