Stonor to Stonor circular walk in England via Assendon Ridge, The Oxfordshire Way and Maidens Grove.
This Stonor to Stonor walk first of all goes through Red Kite country - we have walked this excellent route which goes via Stonor Deer Park many times and have never failed to spot many Red Kites as well as Buzzards, Hawks, Woodpeckers, occasional Owls as well as other birds whilst in the woods and up on Assendon Ridge.
You can park on the B480 opposite the main entrance to Stonor Deer Park, there is usually room for around 10 or 12 cars.
However often on weekends this can be full up whilst during weekdays parking is usually easy. The OSGB map to use for this walk is Explorer 171
Facing the Park go right along the road into and through the village - as you get to the end of the village there is a farm and barns on your left, and a footpath on the left just beyond these barns. Cross the field with the barns on your left and go (steeply) on up through the woods
- at the top continue slightly right through Coxlease Farm - (white arrows). On meeting the cross-track turn right and continue along Assendon Ridge with its lovely views and frequent sightings or red kites (showing off as always).
The track bears right and then enters Paradise
Woods - a really apt name as you will discover as you follow the winding footpath as it descends slowly down the ridge. When the woods end continue half right down the field to the road. Turn left and follow this road to a junction where you turn right and then right again - passing Bix Hall Farm. Although a surfaced road this is now in fact the Oxfordshire Way National Trail. Usually a very quiet road, follow it as it winds round and when eventually coming to a T-junction, stay
right. Still following the road pass a farm on your left and shortly afterwards arrive at the ruins of St James's Church on your left. Note that this poor old church is in a really poor state now and when last visited (May 2015) had been fenced off because it is now dangerously unstable. One can only hope that the money is found to at least get it back into a safe condition.
A few hundred yards past this ruin the Oxfordshire Way returns to being a lovely hedge track as it leaves the road on the right and climbs up into the woods.
Keep climbing through the woods for quite a while. As you eventually leave the woods there is a sign for Lodge Farm on the right but continue slightly left on the track.
When this track soon splits stay left again to come out on a road with a huge Common area (Russell's Water Common) on your left. Cross the road and take the track opposite which is marked Maidens grove Farm The path goes into the farm
and bends sharply left by a barn - you can then clearly see a double arrow marked path between two fences in front of you. Carry on across the field and on down through the woods - still clearly marked with white arrows.
At the bottom you then have to go up the other side of the woods and then on across a field to
the edge of the next woods (Long Wood). Turn right and follow the track (which goes just inside the woods) down to a T-junction at the bottom. Slight diversion here? - you can turn left and have a look at Pishill Church which is only a couple of hundred yards away - there are a couple of seats
here for a picnic and also good views of Stonor Park).
At the T-junction turn right and follow the Oxfordshire Way downhill - ignore a track going off to the left - continue straight on and up the other side of the field into the woods. Continue UP steeply through the woods keeping to the main track and eventually this track goes down to a road. Cross the road and take the footpath opposite which quickly goes slightly right of the track up into the woods again and then
arrives at a field edge. Cross the field (half right) and then at the edge of the field where a clear track goes straight on, turn sharp left and follow a clear path across the field to the woods (Park Wood).
Follow the marked path down through these woods to arrive at a stile - cross this into a field and continue on down - crossing another field - to the road. Turn left back to Stonor Park main entrance.