Monday, 08 August 2022

Join walks book author for a ‘sample chapter’

Join walks book author for a ‘sample chapter’

THE author of a newly published book of family-friendly walks in the South Oxfordshire countryside is offering Henley Standard readers the chance to sample one of the chapters in real life later this month.

John Prior’s Weekend Walks South of Oxford is a 48-page colour paperback featuring 12 short circular walks within the triangle formed by Henley, Wantage and Oxford.

It is the follow-up to his popular Weekend Walks West of Reading, which was first published in 2014 and is still in print.

Mr Prior, 66, is a retired Met Office climatologist who has lived in Pangbourne for 40 years.

He said: “My wife Anne and I brought up our three daughters here and it was they who originally inspired the books.

“At weekends we were keen to explore the beautiful local area but knew any walk had to be child-friendly — not too long and, if possible, including a playground and an ice cream!

“Our eldest daughter Jo now lives in Didcot and we have three grandchildren there, so many of our favourite family walks have been used again and we’ve found some new ones.”

He added: “Our son-in-law Chris, Jo’s husband, who works for Reading printers Press to Print Ltd, designed and printed the books, so it’s been a family affair.”

The 12 walks in the book include Henley, Stoke Row, Ewelme, South Stoke, Wallingford, Dorchester and Watlington.

Mr Prior said: “As before, they are family favourites — tried and tested by ages ranging from six to 66 — so they suit everyone from young families looking for ideas for an outing to older age groups wanting an interesting stroll not too far from home.

“None of the walks are more than two miles long and all include places of interest, stops for refreshments and a children’s playground.”

A Reading University graduate in physics and meteorology, Mr Prior’s second career as an author began following his retirement.

He said: “During my time at the Met Office I often liaised with editors and publishers as an author of scientific papers, so I was used to writing — but it was nice to ‘be my own boss’ when it came to the two walking books!”

To mark the new book’s launch, Mr Prior thought it would be nice to invite interested Henley Standard readers to join him on a free guided weekend walk covering one of the chapters.

He said: “I’ve chosen the Ewelme walk because it’s within the paper’s circulation area, is packed with interest and passes both a tea room and a pub.”

Anyone interested in taking part in the two-mile walk is asked to meet at the recreation ground car park at Cow Common, Ewelme, at 10.30am on Saturday, June 30. For satnav purposes the postcode is OX10 6PG while the national grid map reference is 41/648912.

For more information, and to confirm your place on the walk, text 07837 621895 or email the author on

People taking part are asked to wear suitable footwear and bring a waterproof and something to drink.

Weekend Walks South of Oxford is published by Nine Peas Publishing, priced £5.95. Copies are available from the Bell Bookshop and WHSmith in Henley, Waterstones and WHSmith in Reading, Inspiration in Goring, Wallingford Bookshop, and Blackwells and WHSmith in Oxford, plus online retailers including Amazon.

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