Endeavour: Inspector Morse Walking Tour

This weekend Shaun Evans returns to our screens in a four-part prequel to the classic crime drama - here's where to take a stroll in classic Morseland...

In the new ITV drama Shaun Evans plays a young Morse in picturesque 1960s Oxford. To celebrate we’ve created a walking tour filled with beautiful historic scenes from the classic drama.


A stroll around Oxford offers many landmarks in the lives of Inspector Endeavour Morse, but this tranquil route meanders along the Oxford Canal, where narrow boats chug beside reed beds rich in bird life, then doubles back along the Thames Path — with the chance of a pint.

Escape from Oxford along the Thames and Oxford Canal, and take in a favourite watering hole of Inspector Morse and Sergeant Lewis.

Distance 7 miles (11.3km) Time 3 hours



Set off on the canal path by Hythe Bridge, walking towards Isis Lock (the last part of the Oxford Canal completed in 1796, linking it to the Thames). Cross the bridge and continue along the towpath.

After you walk under Aristotle Bridge, you pass Trap Grounds on the right. This three-acre reed-bed nature reserve supports 35 species of birds, including reed warblers and skylarks. Most people believe the area is named after the making of eel traps from the reeds, but a more colourful tale says it has more to do with students slopping out their privies — or traps — into the canal. Continue along the towpath towards…

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At Wolvercote Lock, turn left and climb the steps. Turn right and walk along Godstow Road. In the 18th century, a water-powered paper mill supplied paper for Oxford University Press (discover more at the OUP Museum near the start of the walk).

In 1811, a steam engine was installed and the canal brought in 100 tons of coal every week. The mill closed in 1998 and was demolished in 2004.


At the other side of the village, pass Wolvercote Common on your left and cross a bridge to find The Trout Inn, a favourite watering hole for CS Lewis, Lewis Carroll and Colin Dexter, creator of Inspector Morse. It’s from a bridge next to the pub that they watch frogmen retrieve an Anglo-Saxon buckle, the Wolvercote Tongue, in a 1987 episode of the same name. If you’re expecting Morse’s favourite pub, you may be disappointed. The Trout is now a modern gastropub.

Cross the bridge and go through the gate on the left to join the Thames Path. Keep an eye out for the ghost of Henry II’s mistress, Rosamund Clifford, said to haunt the remains of Godstow Nunnery. Continue past the lock, along the path with the river and Port Meadow flood plain beside you. After the sign to The Perch, turn right on to the chalk path and walk into Binsey. Turn right and follow the road around to the left.


At the end of the road, you’ll see goats in the grounds of St Margaret’s Church. The well in the graveyard inspired the Treacle Well in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Retrace the route to the chalk path to rejoin the Thames Path and continue back to Oxford. Cross the red, 19th-century Rainbow Bridge by Medley Manor Farm. With the Thames on your right, pass Fiddler’s Island. At a large grey bridge, bear left. Crossing Rewley Road, take the lane on your left and pass the housing estate to rejoin the canal. Turn right and continue up to Upper Fisher Row and back to the start. If you’re thirsty, the King’s Arms and White Horse pubs were favourite Morse watering holes!                 


On the flat along towpaths — but they can get muddy.


On the western outskirts of Oxford.


The walk starts and finishes a mile from Oxford railway station. There is also a frequent fast coach service from London.


The Trout Inn, 195 Godstow Road, Wolvercote, Oxford OX2 8PN; 01865 510930 (thetroutoxford. co.uk)


Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 180.




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Watch Endeavour at 8pm, April 14, on ITV

Illustration courtesy of Katherine Baxter