Do memories of school PE lessons bring you out in a cold sweat? Do you want to be more active, but get bored with traditional sports? You might be in luck. Oxfordshire is home to plenty of offbeat sports, with friendly clubs that are open to beginners. If you've been thinking about taking up a new and unusual hobby, here are some local suggestions.
This chivalrous class runs every Tuesday evening at Chadlington Village Hall, costing just £20 per month (and the first two sessions are free!) Based on the teachings of 14th century German fencing master Johannes Liechtenauer and using his philosophical approach to combat, this class will teach you how to fight like your favourite knight. All levels, from total beginners up, are welcome (don't worry - you'll be starting off with a very blunt basic training sword, before working up to using steel).
Daily Information is already a fan of Oxford's local Quidditch scene. Taster sessions in this exciting sport will begin in the new university term, but you're welcome even if you're not a student. Quidditch prides itself on being one of the most inclusive sports out there, being open to all genders and levels of athletic ability. And you don't even need magic powers!
Invented as a children's game in 1960s America, this combination of tennis, badminton and table tennis is easy to learn and fun to play. Pickleball involves using a solid paddle to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net, using an underarm stroke, and often involves long rallies and a slower pace than some of the more energetic racquet sports. There's a strong pickleball scene in Oxfordshire, with regular practice sessions in Abingdon, Witney, Didcot, Wantage and Thame.
The basic rules of walking football are "no sprinting, no running, and don't even think about jogging!" - but other than that, this game is very similar to a regular five-a-side match. While the sport is usually played by people over 50, everyone is welcome to the regular sessions that run all across the county. If you really get into the spirit of things, you might find yourself as a participant in the Oxfordshire FA Walking Football Cup, which runs every spring and is the highlight of the walking football year.