If our recent walking unearthed old memories, this walk goes even deeper into my past. These places were last visited on fraught Saturday afternoons with Nanna as she ‘got the boys out of the house‘. We collected wool from barbed fences on Castle Hill Farm, swam in the brook at Cuddesden and, briefly, went to the primary school next to St Mary’s Church…none of which you can do now; no sheep, dried up brook and luxury apartments are today’s ‘order of the day’.
We park in Beech Road and head across the fields to Cuddesden. Rain’s in the forecast but for now the sun’s out and we can see the full length of the Chilterns stretched out from Ivinghoe to Woodcote. I get the feeling a clear evening’s view, with the sun in the west, would be spectacular. Cuddesden, with its theological training college and substantial church, feels like an Anglican enclave, not that there’s anything bad about that. Indeed, on this early Saturday morning, it’s good to be greeted with a smile by several ordinands as we walk through.
From Cuddesden we skirt Garsington and Horspath before the steep climb into Shotover Country Park. We enjoy the thought of a 15th century scholar escaping a mauling by a wild boar in these woods by stuffing his copy of Aristotle down the poor animal’s throat. Sounds like a good use of Aristotle to me! From here the path returns, downhill all the way, to Wheatley. In Church Road we pass The Granary,. The building was used by Cromwell during the English Civil War to store grain whilst he besieged Oxford. More recently, my grandparents established an evangelical church here during the early 1970s. As noted in Wikipedia
‘the building was once also an independent church. Many Wheatley residents talk of having attended Sunday School at the ‘mission’, which is how a generation usually identify the church.’
Well done, Nanna & Grandpa!
A 9 mile (almost) walk through some rather evocative memories…all a bit indulgent I know!
Wheatley picture gallery (more pictures on Flickr):
Distance: 8.8 miles ; Difficulty: Moderate
Postcode for Satnav: OX33 1UD