Final section of the Oxfordshire Way Walk 8.2 miles on Tuesday 15th May 2018
7 walkers left Carterton to travel to Christmas Common, 3 had already left earlier to leave a car at Henley on Thames where the walk ended. It was a warm morning and the sun was shining. We parked our cars at the Fox and Hounds; the landlord had kindly agreed to this after having had one car rear window smashed when we recced the walk.
Approx three-quarters of the walk was through woods and forests which helped keep the sun and heat off from the quickly rising temperature. Most all of the signs through the woods were painted onto trees, so we needed to remember to look up rather than down to signs which are normally on a short pole in the ground. The walk was very challenging with very steep and long hills; we took our time on these and encouraged and helped each other conquer them.
A few yards from the start of the walk the footpath entered a thick wood next to the nineteenth-century church. We were heading for Pishill, which had a little church built in 1854 to replace a Norman building. It has some good Victorian glass and an interesting thatched barn behind the rectory incorporating a thirteenth-century blocked window.
The next hamlet was Middle Assenden; originally a small hamlet with no church, but still with a few old houses and farms, but most of the development is now modern. On the way we passed through another dense wood which forms part of the Warburg Nature Reserve, that belongs to the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust. We sat in these woods to enjoy a well-earned rest and eat our lunch.
On the approach to the village of Bix was the ruin of St James’s parish church. Soon we were entering Henley Park which has many fine mature oak, lime, beech and chestnut trees. Henley was a welcome site as we were all beginning to feel tired. The town has old wharves and numerous Georgian houses and coaching inns, which together with the variety of modern shops signal centuries of quiet prosperity.
The Oxfordshire Way ends on the banks of the River Thames in Henley. Many of the streams that the Oxfordshire Way passes flow into the Thames. You can get a good view of the river from Henley Bridge, upstream to the rest of Oxfordshire and down-stream along the Regatta course to Temple Island and eventually London.
The wild life was mainly a herd of small deer, sheep including one field of black and many birds including red-kites. Also we passed a large open barn with black and inquisitive heifers’. The bluebells in the woods were still a picture even though past their best.
At the end of the walk we were able to enjoy beverages hot and cold at the Henley Rugby Club where our transport awaited.
Since the walk 17 members of the group have been to Aston Pottery to celebrate completing the walk which started at Bourton on the Water and ended at Henley on Thames, 86.1/4 miles. A great feeling of achievement.
Thank you for all who have walked part of the walk with us; Ian and I have walked it twice. Car drivers, we couldn’t have managed without you, a big thank you.
Now to start planning our next long Walking Trail. Pam
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