A trip down memory lane for me and time for a bit of forest bathing for you. I grew up near here and have used these woods to exercise many a dog in my time. A special place in my heart, with family walks, sledging in winter, childhood camps. Also the spot where I spread my fathers ashes, overlooking the Coleshill valley. Although I did place him on the wrong side of an Oak tree, with no view bar bark…I’m sure this appealed to his Irish humour. Could almost hear him call me a plonker as I poured him out.
A gentle walk for you here, with no time limits. Starting in open fields and ending in the trees. Feel free to get yourself a little lost in Badbury woods, all paths lead up hill back to the car park for the forest. Which is on your way back to the start.
Badbury Hill, known as Clumps, is a fantastic example of ancient woodlands. An Iron Age Fort dominates the top of the woods. The earth ramparts still visible. Surrounding the expanse of trees within the pan flat circle. This only broken by the cross like fire break running through the middle.
Owned by the National Trust Badbury is a great spot for walkers and mountain biking. If you’re a Blue Bell spotter, you’ll be hard pushed to see a better carpet of blue.
You can park for free at the woods themselves but for this walk I’m going to start you off at the Great Barn in Great Coxwell. As this is also definitely worth a visit.
Walk #4 Badbury Clumps, Great Coxwell. Oxfordshire
2 hrs Easy
Park along the barn wall. It’s free. Follow usual practice of not leaving any valuables inside.
The Tithe Barn is the largest of its kind in Europe. Always open to view, it has an impressive roof. Not only used to store the harvest and machinery. It was also a refuge for monks during the persecutions in Tudor times. A tunnel network from the 12th Century church, to the barn and onto the Crown Hotel in Faringdon supposedly exists. though I believe only the Faringdon end was actually searched before sealed.
Anyways…continue down the hill into Great Coxwell village. You’ll reach a crossroads, take the right down Puddleduck Lane.
Into the dip and up, the road turns into a track at the farm. Continue on straight until you reach a gate at the end of the lane. Through the gate, cross the open field and turn right when you pick up the path at Colleymore Farm. The path crosses straight over the road here. Take good care crossing, cars can travel quickly along this stretch.
Unlike many of the walks in this series of blogs, my apologies. There isn’t a pub on this walk. Or cafe. The closest is at this point, left along the road. The Radnor Arms in Coleshill village. A bit of a diversion but for any Jason Donovan fans amongst you, a diversion you might make??? He lives in Coleshill and the Radnor is his local. On the slim chance you see him don’t pester him.
Anyway, Straight on towards Brimstone Farm, Badbury Clumps is up to your right at this point. My Dad somewhere up there behind a tree. As you reach the farm you will see a path leading off to the right towards the woods.
You’ve done a bit of field trekking and bog trotting up until now. As I said in the intro, Feel free to get yourself lost a little in these gorgeous woods. The red line on the map shows the direct route out via the fort at the top of Badbury Hill. This is the spot for those Blue bells.
Exiting the car park at Badbury Clumps, take the stile on the left before you reach the road. A little path runs down the side of the field running parallel to the road and is definitely the safer option. Cross the road when you reach the 5 bar gate on your right. Again over these rolling hills, cars travel quick.
The final leg of the walk takes you down a green way, with a coppice wood on your left. Follow the path, cross over a small wood bridge and stile into the field above the Great Barn. Now visible over to your left. This is a good endnote and one of the best views of the Tithe barn.
Parting memory. Many a year ago, I was out for a dog walk with my elder sister. In this field, for no clear reason both the dog and my sister started fleeing in the direction from where we came. Odd I thought, turned and saw the bull. With sheer fear this is the only time in my life I have clear hurdled a 5 bar gate. Didn’t lay a finger on it. Don’t worry, livestock is no longer kept in this field. Enjoy 😊
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