Should one ever tire of the pond, the river, the gardens, did I mention the spacious carpark? Moving on. When the call comes to see pastures new there are a plethora of options to see more of the stunning surroundings to this rural delight (did I mention how handy it is for Chipping Norton and Banbury – no? Well, my pleasure. If you would like a little exercise before or after a delicious meal and reviving drink (did I mention the wide range beverages? Yes, get on with it.)

These are some of our favourite local walks – always best to take an ordinance survey map or we find the OS app on our phones really useful.  All timings are very approximate!

https://footpathmap.co.uk/map/?zoom=13&lng=-1.40179&lat=51.98789

  1. See South Newington – 30 minutes.

Start at The Duck on the Pond, head uphill on The Slibber, left along The Town, past the Church (well worth a visit to see the Medieval paintings and open every day in the summer). ear left into Moor Lane and on down to the ford, have a relax on the seat overlooking the River Swere, paddle on the ford or bash on up to Milcombe (of which more later).

Back up Moor Lane, take the footpath on the sharp left as you approach The Town, through the alley to the end of Sands Lane.

Straight ahead is the Barbour’s field with a footpath through the centre and permissive footpaths round the sides. Turn left at the seat and follow the field clockwise. (Going straight across is the footpath to Barford, again more later).

Having admired all the trees, many newly planted to show interest throughout the year – thank you Julian – come out of the field and head left up Sands Lane then right on the Barford Road.

Turn right down Green Lane to The Town, passing the park (named The Poleaxe after the inn that once stood there, bringing joy to all in its pomp and now to those wanting to play on the swings).

Turn left up the High Street to the Barford Road and turn right, passing the village hall. At the end of the houses you will footpath on the right with a sign ‘not suitable for motor vehicles’. Take this path which brings you out onto Baker’s Lane. At the bottom of Bakers Lane turn right onto another footpath which takes you on to Tink-a-tank, past the Old Post Office and back onto the Slibber at the Old Bakery.

Delighted and exhausted, head down to the warm welcome at The Duck on the Pond.

Point-to-Point re-imagined

Many fences and ditches – none require jumping unless you feel like it.

  1. To Milcombe and back – one hour. Horse and Groom Pub in Milcombe

Start at The Duck on the Pond (did I mention the lovely terrace?) and turn left across the A361, take the verge round the corner and cross to the pavement by the bridge over the mighty River Swere.

Turn left up the footpath at the Thames Water building, head up diagonally across the field toward Milcombe.

Have a breather at the top, admiring the field of solar power gatherers at work (producing enough power to fuel Milcombe – yes, I know, makes one think).

At the field boundary there is a path right along the hedge which loops back down to South Newington, arriving by the ford at Moor Lane, if time presses. (This round trip is about 30 mins)

To carry on to Milcombe take the path straight ahead across the field. The path goes diagonally across the next at a gate which takes you to a narrow path between the houses.  This path takes you out onto the main road through Milcome just opposite the Horse and Groom (food, drink and even accommodation as well if you are really tired).

Suitably refreshed head out and left along the main road.  Shortly after the Church you will see a footpath sign on the right.   Take this path to the open field and follow the path round to the right and then up the slope.   Carry on through the gate and head back up to the ridge. Then carry on down toward the A361 passing the allotments on your left.   Cross over the A361 (with care) and continue the footpath down to the ford over the River Swere.   Follow the lane up to ‘The Town’ pass South Newington church and carry on down the Slibber curving round to bring you back to the Duck on the Pond 

  1. Bimble over to Barford and back– from one hour 45 mins to more! George Inn at Barford

Start at The Duck on the Pond (did I mention the well-kept ale?) head up The Slibber, admire the Norman church ( https://www.southnewington.co.uk/the-church/ ), if you have time pop in and admire the medieval frescoes and drop in a donation – you will feel so much better, carry on along The Town and up the footpath ahead at the junction of Moor Lane and Green Lane.

Along the alley and follow the footpath signs across the meadow (known locally as Barbour’s field), through the gate and straight across the next two fields (muddy in winter).   When you come to a gate into a  larger field the footpath goes diagonally right  across heading to the top of the slope about half way along the length of the field.  You will come to a double gate in the hedge.  Go through the gates bearing diagonally left across the grass field.  At the next gate bear left again and after a couple of minutes you will come to a small bridge and gates    Continue across the next field (again the footpath cuts right across the field) to the top left corner.  You will come to a stile and a small copse.

Go up through the copse over a stile into another field staying left and you will come to the stile that takes you onto the driveway of Rignall Farm.

Walk down the drive a very short way to a stile on the left, climb  over and head straight  across the field to a stile bearing slightly to your  right.

Into the next field, head right along the edge and round alongside the South Newington Road (known locally as Conker Avenue because it is lined with horse chestnut trees).  The footpath ends about 2/3 down the field and takes you out onto Conker Avenue.  Turn left onto South Newington Road to till you reach Lower Street in Barford St. Michael.

Route A – Bear right at the church onto Church Street.

As you approach Murreys Lane the road splits to form a lovely green with a seat by a tree, this makes for a great rest stop if not going to the pub. Otherwise turn left down the hill on Murreys Lane.

At the bottom go left along Lower Street unless heading for a visit to Barford St. John (more of that later).

You will soon arrive at The George Inn on the right, for a well-earned rest.

When the mood arises, head out and decide on a route. Either right along Lower Street and out past the church on South Newington Road to retrace your steps.  Or for a change of scene follow Conker Avenue to the top, turn right and walk back along the Barford Road back to South Newington.

Route B – Barford St John.  Add 40 mins plus

As you enter Barford St Michael on Lower Street take the turning to the left down Mill Lane shortly before the Village Hall on the footpath marked Milcombe.   Follow the road to the Mill then take the footpath over the bridge and through the woods.   Keep to the path on the right and you will come to a style into a field.   Cross to the top left corner of the field over another small bridge.   In the next field turn right and follow the edge of the field till you reach the footpath sign taking you through the farm track.   Follow the path and you will come out in onto Mead Road in Barford St John.   From here you have a few choices.   If you cross over the Bloxham Road you can visit the lovely small church just off the footpath.  From there you can follow the footpath to do a circular walk across farm tracks and fields always bearing right on the footpaths and bringing you out onto Summer Leys in Barford St Michael.   Or you can head right out and up the hill to the Milton Gated Road and back past the Military Base. (you’ll need to allow a couple of hours for that)

For now, we will turn right and walk back along the Bloxham Road, turning left onto Lower Street and retracing our steps back to South Newington.

  1. Las Malvinas March – Great Tew and The Falkland Arms 3 – 4 hours

From the Duck, cross the A361 and follow the Slibber and the High Street.   Cross over the Barford Road and follow the footpath up Womll Hill.  Take the bridle path through the woods and curve slightly to the right at the bottom of the hill to continue the bridle path up the left-hand side of the next field. At the junction on the next field turn sharp right – you will see the path take a sharp left after a couple of hundred yards up the hill through the trees.  Follow this farm track up the hill, past the pheasant breeding huts continuing past the Goat Farm and farm buildings and bungalows until you reach the B4031 (Iron Down Hill).   (Note that there are often dogs loose on the farm).   Cross the B4031 and take the estate track down – you are now on the Great Tew estate.  Keep on the main track which takes you right into the village past some lovely countryside and even lovelier homes.

After a swift refreshing drink at the Falkland Arms take the bridle/footpath on the left just past the pub.   Follow the bridlepath which takes you along the edge of the Great Tew Park with views to your left across the valley.  Eventually you will come to a sort of crossroads of farm tracks and bridle/footpaths.  We are going to take the footpath which heads diagonally right across two or three fields eventually reaching the Flight Hill Road leading to Nether Worton.   Do not go onto the road but turn sharp left along the edge of the field (almost heading ack in the direction you came from).   Take the next footpath on the right across the field.  At the edge there is a small bridge and continue along the path across the next field.  You will see a larger path straight ahead.  At the junction you can turn left onto Grove Ash Lane which brings you out onto the estate track you followed to get too Great Tew.   Turn right when you reach that track, and you can retrace your walk to The Duck.

Alternatively, you can go straight ahead up the hill following the footpath which brings you out by a farm.  Follow the footpath on the edge of the farm buildings and then the farm track takes you up to Iron Hill Road.   Cross the road, turn left and after a few yards so will see a footpath sign on the right.   Take that.  Follow the path straight ahead to the hedge and brow of the hill.   Follow the bridle path down the hill heading diagonally across the field.   Turn left at the hedge and left again at the end of the field.  Walk along the hedge and you will re-join the path that you took down from Womll hill and can retrace your steps to South Newington.

  1. The School Run – To Bloxham

The Wortons

A longer walk, more of a hike, be prepared but well worth it – 4 hours.

Barford, Nether

  1. The Wiggy Walk

Wiggy road, paradise, wiggy, white swan, Milcome, sn? Or horse field walk ?

  1. Hook Norton Hike

South Newington https://www.southnewington.co.uk/

(the park to the right is called the Poleaxe after an inn of that name see website above for its history).

Church

( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Peter_ad_Vincula,_South_Newington )

Extract: Around 1330–40 a set of wall paintings were painted in the north aisle. The medium is oil on plaster, which Sherwood and Pevsner state is unusual for mediaeval wall paintings. Prof.Ernest Tristram described the paintings as “of a nature seldom found in a parish church” and Sherwood and Pevsner considered them to be the finest group of medieval wall paintings in [Oxfordshire]”. Another author commented:

“The north aisle paintings at South Newington are indeed outstanding for their draughtsmanship, wide range and skilful blending of colours, and also for the medium, which is oil; nothing in this part of the country can compare with them for excellence. The unknown artist must have been in the front rank of his profession.

Cycling Routes

South Newington, Barford, Nether Worton, Ledwell, Great Tew, South Newington – 2 hours

SN, Milcombe, Wiggy heath, wiggy, sn

SN, wiggy, hn, wiggy, Milcome, sn