The last time we walked this far was November so it’s a bit of a shock…and we choose the hottest day of the year…and wait until noon to start walking. Nevertheless this is a thoroughly enjoyable Oxfordshire walk with some great views.
The drop down the Chiltern escarpment, through Shirburn Wood, followed by a steep climb up Pyrton Hill to Christmas Common, sets the tone for the rest of the walk…lots of hills.
It’s probably the last ‘Bluebell weekend’ of the season…and the best! From Christmas Common the route follows a long, gentle descent through Queen Wood, Fire Wood and Longhill Hanging Wood and there are bluebells aplenty. We have the paths to ourselves and, by the time we reach the bottom of the valley, the air is thick with the scent of bluebells and the light and shade swirl through the heady mix.
As we climb up to Turville Heath here are some great views of the Stonor Valley; we were walking there only a few weeks ago…as we were at Turville Heath, which we pass through next and on to Ibstone. We drop down from Ibstone through Commonhill Wood and passed Wormsley Park. It seems Mark Getty has some big event on this afternoon. There are security guards EVERYWHERE and we are passed by several limos with blacked out windows and chauffeurs in peaked caps and dark glasses…we assume there’s someone famous on the back seat…but the cars were gone before we can get a good look. Sue thinks she can hear Munford and Sons playing in the Pavillion…it could be anyone as far as I’m concerned!
It’s early evening by the time we tackle the steep climb from Lower Vicar’s Farm to Cowleaze Wood and we’re grateful for the ice cream van parked up in the car park and some much needed refreshment after a 12.4 mile walk on the hottest day of 2018 so far.
Cowleaze Wood picture gallery (more pictures on Flickr):
Distance: 12.4 miles ; Difficulty: Difficult
Coordinates for Satnav: N51° 39.330′ W0° 57.083′