Paxford Walking

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BELOW ARE THREE WALKS TAKEN FROM OUR BOOK - TIMELESS WALKS IN THE COTSWOLDS

TWO OF THE WALKS ORIGINATE IN PAXFORD, BUT ONE IS A BIT FURTHER AWAY.

 

WALK 1 - THE LOST VILLAGES OF DITCHFORD. This is a walk of about 5 miles and is quite easy.

The walk begins from outside Paxford Village Hall.  On the other side of the road is a sign-post that points you across the fields and behind the houses in Brookside.  This path crosses two fields before bringing you out on the Paxford to Aston Magna road.  Follow that road to the right until you pass Bran Mill. Shortly afterwards, on your left, you will see a steep stile with a footpath sign pointing diagonally across the field. Climb over the stile and follow the path until you go through a small gate, which leads you over the Knee Brook and on to a farm road towards Neighbrook House.  About 150 metres along that road you will see a sign taking you off to the left.

 

You have now reached the site of Upper Ditchford Medieval village.

 

POINT OF INTEREST - THE LOST VILLAGES OF DITCHFORD– The medieval village of Upper Ditchford is one of about 80 such abandoned villages in the Cotswolds.  Leigh Driver in his book the ‘Lost Villages of England’ says that it is a classic example of medieval sheep depopulation with the cereal crops failing and the land being turned over to sheep grazing (it is possible that the crop failure was due to climate change with colder winters and wetter summers). This occurred over a relatively short period of time and is likely to have led to the abandoning of this village in the early 1500s. It is quite easy to pick out the position of the buildings and to follow the paths that ran between them. Above the village are large areas of ridge and furrow that are quite clear even though the site was probably abandoned 500 years ago.

 

Continuing on with the walk you climb the hill through the ridge and furrow. Near the top of the hill Neighbrook Farm appears in the valley on your right, but you keep on climbing until you come out on the road from Paxford to the Fosse Way. Cross the road and follow the footpath sign directly in front of you towards the houses. The path goes in front of the house on your right and drops you gradually down beside some woodland to the bridge over the stream (the entrance to the path is tucked away in the hedgerow). Once across the stream you climb up between two sets of wooden fences.  Go through the gate at the end and turn right to follow the farm track up on to the road to Stretton-on-Fosse. Turn left and walk down to the main road.

Once you reach that road turn left. You will soon see a sign for Paxford.  Follow the road for about 400 metres until you see a footpath on your right taking you down to towards Marfurlong Farm (the gate you need is in the far right-hand corner.) Work your way round the farm before taking the footpath in the wooden fence, about half-way long, which leads you across a paddock to a small bridge over a brook.  Follow that path until you come out at a house. Skirt around the pond and rejoin the road back into Paxford.

                                                                                                                            Coffee stop: The Churchill Arms in Paxford does coffee and food.

 

 WALK 2 - A CIRCULAR WALK FROM PAXFORD VIA EBRINGTON.  This is a walk of about 5 miles and has no significant hills.

  

Start from the Churchill Arms and walk away from the village hall until you come to a sign post on the grassy triangle pointing up the hill.  Follow the road up to the corner where the sign post points towards Ebrington.  On that corner you will see a footpath sign for the Diamond Way which takes up beside a hedge before turning right past a pond. The path now leads you diagonally across the field towards Marfurlong.   In the winter and early spring before the crops are established this can be heavy going as the soil is clay.

 At Marfurlong follow the drive down to the main road. Cross that road and follow the path towards Ebrington.  After crossing four fields you will come out on the road at the outskirts of the village.  Turn right and walk a little way towards the pub and you will see a farm road going off the left.  The track takes you beside a small group of houses on your left.  The track is clear for the first 500 metres before petering out to become a less distinct path across fields. At one point the route is difficult to follow as the stile is hidden in a hedgerow.  Continue on this path across fields until you reach the railway lines.  Cross the line and walk up to the main road. 

 Turn right and follow the main road towards Chipping Campden for about 200 metres.  Cross the road and take the footpath, which initially runs parallel to the road until it turns left.  After about 500 metres go through a gate in the hedgerow on your right.  Cross the corner of the field before turning left towards the railway lines.  This can be tricky so take care here.  Walk across a wide open field keeping close to the hedgerow on your left.

Take care crossing the railway line.  The field in front of you can be muddy, but it is possible to go around the edge of it if the mud is particularly clingy.  Once across the field turn right into the woods and follow the edge of the wood alongside the stream, for about 500 metres, until you come to an opening. The path is not very clear here, but you should cross a wooden bridge on your right.  Once you have crossed the stream turn left and follow the edge of the field until you come to another bridge (quite well hidden). The path now takes you across the brook on a wide wooden bridge and back up past the church and  the war memorial to the pub.

  

POINT OF INTEREST - PAXFORD WAR MEMORIAL. All of the names on the memorial are from the 1914-18 War.  There are 11 names on the memorial, which brings home the impact the war must have had if a little place like Paxford was so seriously affected. The first name on the memorial is that of Captain Aubrey St. Clair Thomson of the King’s Royal Liverpool Regiment who died in November 1917.  It is likely that he served around Cambrai.  One description of the conditions there is as follows: "Those who took part in it will never erase from their minds its many ghastly features, among which the mud and the multitude of dead will stand out pre-eminent. It must be said that the sodden condition of the ground, prevented many casualties from shell-fire, but at the same time many a wounded man was sucked down into  the horrible quagmire and stretcher-bearers found their task in many cases beyond their powers."

 

WALK 12-  HINCHWICK – BOURTON DOWNS AND RETURN. Distance 4 ½ miles.  An easy walk with one climb. 

From Hinchwick Manor turn left to t-junction and then right down road and at bottom of slope take the track to your left, up through the trees then bear left at marker.  Through trees to small gate which opens on to a field.  Follow path over Bourton Downs keeping the fence to your right.  You will see a hedge ahead of you and as you drop down the slope a gate and stile will be visible on your right.  Go over the stile and head up the hill keeping fence/wall on left.  At a small gate turn right on to track, then left following the  track past a line of trees on your right to a t-junction with another track.  Here turn left and follow track past a plantation into next field and straight on, keeping wall to your right. You will eventually see a large house and grounds on your right. 

 

Keep straight on and down slope into wood.  Follow track down to a small gate into field ahead of you.  Just prior to this gate turn left and walk through the wood to the gate at the end.  Go straight on keeping the wall to your right.  You will then see that you are in the valley below Bourton Downs. 

 

At the end of this field take the small gate on your right and then immediately left through the gate which states ‘no galloping’ so that the wall is now on your left.  Follow this to the next gate and then follow the track in the bottom of the valley over four fields until you see the hamlet of Hinchwick in front of you.  Take the track up towards the houses and you will arrive at the t-junction by Hinchwick Manor.

 

Coffee stop: Nearest refreshments at Longborough Farm Shop or Longborough Village Shop.