Beckley to Thame on The Oxfordshire Way.
Walking from Beckley to Thame in Oxfordshire through beautiful countryside going along The Oxfordshire Way National Trail via Waterperry and Rycote Chapel.
This walk is an end to end of around 15 miles but you can use a bus to get to the start - virtually the entire walk follows The Oxfordshire Way
National Trail. One immediate point concerning The Oxfordshire Way is that sometimes on path junctions it is correctly named but also quite often it seems to have been downgraded to either a simple "public footpath" or a "bridleway" on the signposts. Also if there has been any recent rain at all this National Trail can be extremely muddy in places
as it wanders across fairly flat countryside most of the time. There are also no pubs or other types of watering hole available once you leave Beckley until you get as far as Waterperry where there is a cafe.Park in Thame
in time to get the one bus a day which goes out to Beckley - this leaves at 0924 Monday to Saturday but it would be worth checking with Heyfordian Coaches that the bus service is still running. The map relevant to this walk is OS Explorer 180.
Get off the bus by Beckley's church and then walk back along the High Street (i.e. the way the bus brought you in).
However when this this road turns sharp right continue straight ahead on a narrow road which almost immediately becomes a track - this heads quite steeply up through some trees. The track passes several houses and then levels out in open countryside - around 200 metres after it levels out look out and take a marked path going half left off the track - follow this path over two fields after which it drops down very steeply over a third field still in the same basic direction.
Go over a stile into a small woods and follow a narrow path with a stream on your right - then cross the stream on a plank bridge and shortly reach a small road (this is the driveway to Beckley Park). Go straight across and into fields following the marked path as it goes across five fields always in the same basic direction to eventually arrive at a gate in the far corner of the last field and by the road.
Cross over the road and through a gate opposite - follow this sometimes obscure path as near to the left hand hedge as possible although to start with there is rather a lot of farmer's debris and manure dumped. Around half way along the field look out for a signpost which will aim you half right across the field to small wooden bridge - cross this and continue across the next field to reach a green track. Cross the lane and continue now with the woods on your right to come shortly to a field edge, turn
right and continue along the edge of the field with the woods still on your right until you reach a track. Turn left and follow this quite rutted and sometimes boggy path now with a hedge on your right - ignore a track on the left (which should be marked no-entry anyway) - continue straight ahead on what is
more of a field edge path - at the corner go left i.e. do not take the bridge in the hedge on the right. Follow the path along the field edge - this can be seriously overgrown and wet/muddy - eventually arriving at the barns belonging to Danebrook Farm on the right.
The path comes out on the farm's driveway. There is a marked path which goes past the farm on the left side of their driveway (if impassable just go via the farm drive way between barns and buildings although this is not a right of way
through the farm the road bears a little left - now continue (legally since this is the Oxfordshire Way National Trail) along the road as it goes dead straight between fields to arrive at a road junction. Cross the road and take the bridleway on the right - this is a wide grassy track - stay on this until you come to a gate. Once through the gate cross the field heading for the woods - now go round the woods in an anticlockwise direction i.e. keep the woods on your left.
There is a path just inside the woods but the cows use it so it is quite mucky - also quite overgrown with low thorny branches - so it's best just to stay in the field. As you get to the corner of the woods the path goes round to the left i.e. still following the wood edge - as you finish going round you can now see the woods stretching a long way ahead,
seemingly never-ending - but stay with it and eventually arrive at a gate. Don't go through the gate, instead turn right and follow the hedge-row to the field corner where there is a wooden bridge ahead - don't cross this, instead you take two wooden bridges in the hedge on the left. Once across turn left and follow the path across the field to reach a small road. Turn
right up a hedge lined track which goes gradually up and emerges by farm buildings and a gravel track. Go left on this track passing Ledall Cottage and then shortly go right on a small tarmac road which then crosses the motorway (M40). Stay on this road to reach a cross roads.
A slight diversion
- if you go to the right through trees on an unmarked but obvious path there is a really nice lake to take a look at. Back at the field corner go over the stile and cross the next field to a footbridge - the
path then passes to the right of a cottage and comes out on a track. Turn left and then take a possibly hidden stile on the right in the hedge about 100 yards along the track. Cross the next field and continue to reach wooden steps which lead down to a small road. Go left and then almost immediately right which brings you to another road by some houses. Go straight across the road and as the houses end the signposted path continues ahead with a wall on the right hand side. The path goes down and then up again over fields to reach yet another small road at Albury. Go right and
soon arrive at the small church - the path continues between the left side of the church and Church Farm - it soon becomes a grassy track which undulates along to reach more farm buildings and a concrete junction. Go right to wind between the buildings - on reaching a gate continue on across a grassy area and then through an overgrown area to reach Rycote.
On reaching the drive turn right to the end of the fencing then hook back left and then up the steps to Rycote Chapel. The path goes on the right side of the chapel and into
woodland - winds round a bit and then becomes a fenced path across a field to then reach lots of gates at a wood edge. Go ahead and follow the initially wide path as it winds through the woods - the path becomes narrower and grassy and eventually becomes very narrow and quite overgrown.
The path emerges on the A329 - take care because there is hardly any verge and traffic is often quite fast here. Cross the road and take the marked path opposite into the Oxfordshire Golf Course - the path climbs up to arrive at the right hand side of the club house and buildings.
Follow the tarmac road round the club house's car park to come to a track - there is a quite large practice green on the right. This is now where you leave the Oxfordshire Way - follow the track as it continues down to the left of the practice green and follow this down with the main golf course now on the left.
The track emerges by a gate - go through the gate and then slightly right onto a road then where the road forks go left to head on down with house on the left to reach Moreton.
At the road junction go left and continue through the village, ignore a road coming in from the left and then when the road bears right by a pond and a grass area with a seat continue straight ahead between houses. There is a footpath on the left which goes between a hedge and a fence - follow this over a bridge and along now with hedgerow on the left and fields on the right. At the end of the hedgerow go left onto a wide gravel track and follow this as
it winds round a little and then heads straight down into Thame. On reaching the road continue straight ahead now with playing fields on the left to reach a roundabout.
Go across the roundabout and then through houses to arrive at the Co-op car park - carry on through this and then go via the alley to reach Thame high street.
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