For the quintessential Oxford dog walk, there is nothing quite like Port Meadow.
Port Meadow is considered Oxford oldest monument, but also makes the perfect place for an easy dog walk close to the city centre.
The entire meadow has unrestricted access for walkers and their dogs, so you can choose to walk by the river, take a circular lap of the meadow, or find your own path. There are the famous Port Meadow Ponies on the land and often a small herd of cattle, so be sure to have dogs under control when they are nearby.
4,000 years of history…
Bronze Age people buried their dead here and during the Iron Age people lived on the meadow during the summer and grazed their livestock on the rich pasture.
In the 10th Century, in return for helping to defend the kingdom against the marauding Danes, the Freemen of Oxford were given the 120ha of pasture next to the Thames by King Alfred who founded the City. The Freemen’s collective right to graze their animals free of charge was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086.
In the 17th Century, Oxford was occupied by Royalist forces who built fortifications around the city. Parliamentary forces built a corresponding structure to enforce their siege of the city and the foundations of part of this can still be seen as a shallow right angled bank on the lowest part of Port Meadow.
In the 17th and 18th centuries horse racing was a popular social occasion. A course was laid out on Port Meadow and the neighbouring Wolvercote Common of which the two bridges spanning the ditch between the commons formed a part.
How to get there
Access to Port Meadow is via Walton Well Road or Aristotle Lane in the south or from Godstow, Wolvercote in the north.
There are two car parks which you can use to access Port Meadow.
The first is at the north end of the meadow off Godstow Road (no charges apply – nearby postcode OX2 8PU).
The other is at the south end off Walton Well Road (charges apply – nearby postcode OX2 6ED).
Looking for a nearby dog friendly pub?
After a busy afternoon of river-swimming and meadow walking, we like nothing more than quenching our thirst at The Rickety Press in Jericho. The staff are friendly and there is always a large jar of dog biscuits on the counter.
If the weather is warm, we strongly recommend heading to The Perch at Binsey, to make the most of their beer garden. It’s located just off the tow-path along the river and is the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon.
Find both of these pubs listed on our top dog-friendly pubs in Oxford post.