Oxfordshire is not a county that enjoys much in the way of fanfare on a national level – a shame, given the swathes of natural beauty and cultural intrigue to be found within its bounds. Aside from the dreaming spires of Oxford and its University, and the town of Banbury made famous for its usage in Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, there is little to put this ceremonial region on the map in quite the same way as Cumbria or the West Riding of Yorkshire; here, though, we’re going to redress the balance.

This is because Oxfordshire could well be one of the best places in the country to spend a rural winter. Its combination of rolling hills, quaint villages and modern lakes make it a multifarious wonder for winter exploration, and an ideal venue for a post-Christmas winter getaway. But where exactly are the best places to trundle your way about in a post-festive fugue?

Radley Lakes

Radley Lakes is an unassuming winter walking destination, being a former gravel quarry that has since gained new, beautiful life as a nature reserve. There is a great deal to see here, from the 300 different plant species that call the land home to the 120-plus species of bird that skim the waters of Lakes Thrupp, Bullfield and Orchard. Radley Lakes is also mightily close to transport links, meaning you can treat yourself to a restful train journey back up to Oxford after a long day’s walking.

Old Boar’s Hill

Old Boar’s Hill is a charming hamlet that sits on the south-westerly outskirts of Oxford. In and of itself, it is a beautiful enough settlement – but the real beauty lies in the land that surrounds it. Here, there is a circular trail that starts and ends in the hamlet, taking you around some stunning fields – which adopt stunning new life in the winter, as cold air settles over the trees and crops.

Minster Lovell and Crawley

Another stunning circular walk can be found running the field paths between Crawley and Minster Lovell, Cotswolds destinations both that enjoy fabulous views and even more fabulous connectivity by public footpath. This walk is a little longer, but also provides a little more in the way of historical and culture interest to boot!

Oxfordshire is so much more than these simple walks, too, with fascinating footpaths and endless options for a wintry wonderland walk of your own design. Rural life might also look a whole lot more appetising after availing of the beauty these walks provide…