and occasionally rides a bike.
A word of warning. The walk descriptions are not detailed enough to guide you - please take a map. The batteries never run out, and you always have a signal. Oh, And don't take left or right as gospel!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Jurassic Way 1 - Banbury to Chipping Warden

Theoretically 11 miles, nearer 12.5 ( the garmin took a little while to pick up the satellites in this new area).   We should have set off earlier in the day to give ourselves more time to explore Middleton Cheney and Wardington.  Weather mostly fine, coolish, a couple of showers - the heaviest of them while we were having lunch.  With Marta.

From the car park in Banbury, via the shopping centre for a quick coffee, and a visit to the Tourist Information Centre to pick up another map, we made our way south along the canal, from Banbury Lock, in the direction of the water's fall, past various narrowboats and a few sculptures.
the canal
Long John Silver or Captain Hook?  I shoulda blurred out the background. 

The start of a new adventure - with Banbury Lock in the background, the Jurassic Way starts - though we couldn't find a sign for it.

 Someone's made a real effort with this waterside garden.
We're on the correct path. Just as well.

At this bridge the Jurassic Way leaves the canal and turns left, north-east heading towards the Cherwell, and the M40.  The bridge crossing the Cherwell has a plaque.

Just after crossing the bridge the path goes alongside the river and under the motorway.
 We could hear the noise clearly for quite some distance afterwards, as we walked across fields, over a railway bridge and past some agricultural buildings.

We're still on the right track
At a minor road we turned right, then left towards Warkworth.  In Warkworth, we turned left to a footpath opposite Manor Farm.  The path took us towards Overthorpe, passing a church at some distance on our right, then skirting Overthorpe along a tree lined path from which we could glimpse some splendid gardens.  We then turned right towards Middleton Cheney across fields and past allotments, down to  cross a stream and up into the large village.

We turned left and went across the by-pass ( A442) and into the High Street where we found the Take Thyme cafe and conveniently by-passed the worst shower of the day while we had our lunch.  There is a heritage trail, but we had no time to follow it today.
I hadn't realised Middleton Cheney was big enough to have a secondary school, or so many small shops. According to the village website, there are plenty of ghosts in the village as well.

From the cafe we went along Church Lane, and found the footpath between houses.  Soon after leaving the village, we crossed a field before walking alongside another one with llamas and sheep, and a tree surrounded by fallen apples which from a distance looked like unseasonal yellow flowers.
Onward and across the B4525,  over more fields, where the way is pretty clearly marked, then through a wooded area. The map was useful to check where to cross a narrow section of wood before turning right along the edge and past Chacombe House before arriving at the village itself.  The path climbs up into Chacombe through some woodland where signs are very clear.  You leave the village from the junction of Silver Street with Silver Street North.  You can see the church across the field, and there's a picnic area and a large stone.

From here the route as far as Wardington was straightforward, leading under the railway then uphill and across fields.
under the railway
some curious sheep

We had a small problem finding the way very close to Wardington,  and came out about fifty yards too far along Thorpe Road, but it was plain from then on, as the path led us round the village, but at one point (in the Close) there was a sign simply saying footpath.  We asked a local resident, who almost sent us back round the village, but finally showed us the nearest path, between some houses, and luckily the Jurassic Way was signposted at that point.  Then there was one occasion when a sign was actually pointing ahead instead of left as it should have done. This made us walk all of an extra couple of hundred yards, but finally the route to Edgecote was clear.  if we'd looked at the map instead of blithely following signs, we'd have been fine.
We met the road where there are a couple of cottages, then took the road to the right and followed it until it turned to the left into the village of Edgecote, just after the church.
From here we took a track, through a gate downhill to cross the Cherwell ( very small here), then up a gentle slope and into Chipping Warden.

Rain on lens again! 
Map and details

pdf fromNorthants C C - Banbury to Ashby St Ledgers
A video of this section - by voxley19  from August 2008 covering many of the same landmarks.

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