Friday, March 13, 2009

Walking by rail from Portsmouth to Oxford on VBW?

That took you by surprise, didn't it? Suddenly back from the warm weather (huh!) training in New Zealand, and back to the nitty gritty of the actual objective of this whole enterprise – the walk backwards through my life from my current home to the house of my birth.

It is now one year since I conceived the idea, while walking in New Zealand last year. It is also just over a year until the start of the walk. Much of the basic plan is settled, I am attempting to maintain a decent level of fitness, and I have the outlines of the route.

Much remains to be settled about the fine detail of the French section, splitting it down into 30 km sections while ensuring, as far as possible, that the roads covered are minor, quiet and safe. That is a task awaiting me when we get back to France.

Possibly the fact that on Monday we shall be returning for a week to Oxford (NZ) is provoking me to think about the route in UK. From Oxford (UK) my route north will be mainly on canal tow paths, where I hope to be in very little danger of being hit by a truck.

Ideally, a canal from Portsmouth to Oxford would be very useful for the missing link, but I don't believe there is one. But there is another possibility. I understand that in UK there are many ex railway lines recently pressed into service as walking/cycling tracks. Indeed I hear that there was a television series about walking these old lines.

Is there such a track from Portsmouth to Oxford, or for part of the route? If you want to help with this or with any other suggestions, please leave a comment on the blog, or e-mail me at:


Anonymous said...

The long distance 'Thames Path' runs largely along the towpath from London to the source in Gloucestershire. The stretch from Reading to Oxford (about 30 miles)could be useful for the last third of the Portsmouth to Oxford bit. The river loops about a bit so some bends could by omitted by short-cuts. Walk would be flat, pleasant and interesting. Tony.

Vic Heaney said...

Not sure which Tony this is, as we know several.

Whichever one (perhaps all will become clear?), thanks very much. I will seriously look at this when I get home

Septimus said...

The television program you refer to is currently running and has Julia Bradbury ostensibly discovering lost Railway Walks.
I think the nearest to Portsmouth is in Dorset and heading in the wrong direction.
You can check it out on the BBC website and on Julia's website.
Keep rockin'