Local outdoor clubs can be great way to meet like-minded people, get involved in trips and develop your skills alongside more experienced members. Joining a club may feel a little daunting at first, especially if you’ve never been involved with one before or you have little experience of the activity, but you’ll find most are very welcoming of new members. Some clubs will even run courses or trips throughout the year that are specifically aimed at beginners or new members.
This list is by no means complete, but it hopefully includes most of the bigger outdoor clubs in the Oxfordshire and West Berkshire area. I’ve included a number of university clubs as they can often be amongst the largest and most active clubs in the area. You’ll need to check with them directly if you need to be affiliated with the university to join but they can be very welcoming of non-student members, especially if you have a reasonable level of experience.
If you’d like to suggest any additions, or changes to a current listing, then please drop me a message.
Newbury Mountain Club covers walking, hiking and mountaineering. They organise regular weekend trips throughout the UK they welcome a really wide mix of abilities and ages.
OMC has a membership of over 100 keen mountaineers, climbers and hill walkers mostly based in the Oxford area. They run meets all around the country and have their own club hut, Cefn Garw, in Snowdonia.
Established in 1909, OUMC is one of the oldest and mountaineering clubs in the world. They climb regularly around the UK during term and have weekly indoor climbing and social events. OUMC welcomes both students and non-students.
A friendly and active group with a mix of climbing, walking and scrambling. They have regular climbing sessions at the Reading Climbing Centre, meets away, and local socials.
RUMC run weekly indoor climbing sessions and organise several weekend trips to places all around the country during term-time.
Wessex Mountaineering Club is aimed at climbers and mountaineers from the Dorset, Hampshire, and Wiltshire areas. They run a number of trips throughout the year and have a very lovely club hut, Pen y Clogwyn, in Snowdonia.
There are lots of different walking groups spread over the area, many of which are associated with the Ramblers. The Ramblers website can help you find local groups or individual walks, and there are specialist groups including a Oxfordshire Twenties & Thirties and Oxfordshire Weekend Walkers.
The Thames Valley branch of the Long Distance Walkers Association caters for those interested in longer walks all over Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. They organise group walks throughout the year which are typically around 20 miles in length.
Isis Canoe Club are based in Oxford and provide their members an array of trips away including white water, sea kayaking and kayak surfing. They also organise a variety of local paddles, pool sessions, courses and social events.
Kingfisher Canoe Club are based in Abingdon and they organise everything from weekly club nights paddling locally on the Thames to trips away to Wales, Devon, the Alps and beyond. They run taster sessions, introductory and improvers courses each year and have indoor pool sessions throughout the winter to perfect your paddling skills in the warmth. There is also a dedicated Pathfinders Youth Section for under 18s.
Oxford Canoe & Kayak Club are based at the Riverside Centre at Donnington Bridge and provide their members an array of trips away, local paddles, pool sessions, courses and social events. They run popular canoe tours of Oxford and have dedicated groups for young people too.
OUCC members are involved in everything from running introductory student trips in the UK to being at the forefront of expedition caving abroad, perhaps most notably in the Picos de Europa.
RUCC are an active student caving club who run trips for their members to all the usual UK caving spots, including the Mendips, South Wales, Derbyshire and Yorkshire.