How to Get About
Train : First Great Western Trains provide a fast link to Oxford, Reading or London from Didcot, while Cholsey has local stopping services. National Rail Enquiries 08457 484950 http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/
Bus : The X2 Wallingford-Didcot-Oxford service passes through Brightwell approximately hourly on weekdays and Saturdays. Thames Travel 01491 837988 http://www.thames-travel.co.uk/
If you have wheels and muscle power, it is possible to cycle from Brightwell to Oxford and back again on paths that avoid roads as much as possible. In fact, the first/last leg of the route, between Kennington and Oxford, takes you along the river via Iffley Lock and is entirely traffic free. Nearer Brightwell, it is possible to connect up with a dedicated path away from cars that takes you past Didcot Railway Centre and along to the Pendon Museum in Long Wittenham.
Sustrans, the national transport charity, reckons that 75% of people in the UK live within two miles of a National Cycle Network route and Brightwell is no exception. The village is on the Oxford-Abingdon-Didcot route, which is clearly signposted with blue cycle signs.
For a route map, go to http://www.sustrans.org.uk/
- Local Paths
Brightwell is criss-crossed by an excellent network of footpaths, some with hard surfaces suitable for pushchairs. There are flat walks across fields to Cholsey, Wallingford and South Moreton. Paths and bridleways also cross the main Didcot to Wallingford road, going up to Wittenham Clumps and down to Little Wittenham and the River Thames. There are well-marked nature trails through Wittenham Woods and around the Clumps, which is managed by the Earth Trust http://www.earthtrust.org.uk/
- Long Distance Footpaths
The Thames Path follows the River Thames from its source in the Cotswolds for 184 miles to London, ending at the Thames Barrier in Greenwich. The section from Culham to Goring is easily accessible from Brightwell, and can be done in day visits. As the railway runs parallel with much of the route, walkers can use the train to get back to their starting point.
Transport, access, accommodation suggestions and path details from http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/ThamesPath/
The Ridgeway is an exhilarating ridge walk, starting on open downland near Avebury stone circle in Wiltshire and ending in gentler wooded slopes in the Chilterns, http://www.chilternsaonb.org/, an area of Oustanding Natural Beauty. The easiest joining point from Brightwell is at Streatley, south of Wallingford, and accessible by train from Cholsey.
Transport, access, accommodation suggestions and path details from http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/ridgeway/ Route maps for circular walks, horse-riding or cycling can also be downloaded from this site.
The Oxfordshire County Council Countryside service provides descriptions for eight circular walks in Oxfordshire, starting at various points throughout the county. Downloadable leaflets are available at www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/countryside
or can be ordered for £2.50 a pack from the Countryside Service, Oxfordshire County Council, Holton, OX33 1QQ, telephone 01865 810226
Information about scenic paths for those with mobility problems is available at www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/countryside. Here you can download leaflets describing a dozen easy-access routes. You could take a half-mile meander through wildlife-rich river meadows at Cuttle Brook, Thame, follow the peaceful Abbey Stream in Abbey Meadows, Abingdon, or take a rural path and end up with tea and plants at Waterperry Gardens.
A free pack of 11 walks in the Chilterns countryside suitable for pushchairs, wheelchairs and mobility scooters is available from http://www.chilternsaonb.org/. Each walk leaflet contains detailed information on gradients, path surfaces and any obstructions.
- Didcot Health walks
The aim of these walks, which are suitable for all ages and abilities, is to improve general fitness and wellbeing. They can provide good cardiovascular exercise, improve muscle and bone strength, lower blood pressure, help with weight loss, reduce stress and make you feel good.
The walks on offer include beautiful parts of 'Old Didcot' as well as the newer areas.
- Walks Programme
Tuesday, 10 am. Meet at Willowbrook Leisure Centre car park, Didcot Approx 1½ - 2 miles
Thursday, 10 am. Meet at Green Close, Didcot, outside Berkshire Court. Approx 1½ - 2 miles.
Both walks are graded as First Steps - an easy flat walk suitable for all abilities. For more details, contact Health walk Co-ordinator Anne Lister 01491 823135 e-mail Anne.Lister@southoxon.gov.uk.
http://www.whi.org.uk/ The website for Walking the Way to Health, which aims to encourage people, particularly those who take little exercise, to take regular short walks within their communities
- http://groundhogwalking.co.uk/ Journalist Maggie Hartford's guide to long linear walks, mostly of eight miles or more, along well marked long distance footpaths. Includes articles from the Oxford Times, as well as blogs of walks done with a group of friends known as the Groundhogs.