Updated: Mar 15, 2019

Shotover Country Park in Oxford
Shotover Country Park in Oxford has a myriad of interconnected paths providing hours of unique walks.

Trails There are three way marked trails to guide you through the park. They all start in Mary Sadler’s Field near the car park. Assuming a relaxed pace the red trail will take 30 minutes, the yellow 45 minutes and the green about 2 hours.

Bridleway For horse riders and cyclists there are 5km of paths to follow. The route starts from Shotover Plain near the car park. Please follow the blue arrows.

Orienteering There is a station orienteering course around the Park. Look out for the distinctive red and white marker posts. Orienteering maps can be obtained from the parks office or Thames Valley Orienteering Club.

Sandpit For children the most popular haunt is a natural sandpit in which they may spend hours building castles or damming the tiny stream. Follow the red trail to get you there.

Disabled paths and access There is a network of paths around the lower parts of the Country Park accessible to wheelchair users. Access is from Brasenose Farm on Oxford’s Eastern Bypass.

Other paths There is an extensive network of paths on Shotover. Those that are on the map are checked and maintained by the rangers. There are many other paths and desire lines, some only seasonal, that you can discover for yourself.

History of Shotover Country Park

The landscape of Shotover has changed throughout its history from Saxon times until the Civil War (640s) .

Shotover was part of a Royal Forest providing a hunting ground for noblemen, fuel and grazing for local people, and timber for many of Oxford’s historic buildings. In 1660 Shotover ceased to be a Royal Forest and became open farmland which was grazed or cultivated.

Until the end of the 18th Century the main road to London passed across Shotover Plain where travellers often fell victim to highwaymen.

From the late 1930s Oxford City Council started to manage Shotover as a park and two wardens were employed to look after it.

During the first half of the 20th Century farming ceased at Shotover and woodland started to establish.

During World War II Slade Camp was part of Cowley Barracks and provided a temporary home for soldiers who took part in the D Day landings.

At the same time Shotover Hill was used for military training and tanks built at Cowley were tested there.

From the late 1970s work started to clear woodland to restore heath, grassland and marsh habitats.