Bluebell Woods Walk in The Chilterns - around Cowleaze Woods.

Walking in Cowleaze Woods in England enjoying The Bluebells.

Once Spring arrives in The Chilterns in England then out come the Bluebells and an excellent place to see them is at Cowleaze Woods and also by walking around Aston Rowant Nature Reserve. The bluebells usually appear in the South Midlands in England around the end of April and into the first few weeks of May - this does of course depend on the weather - if it's a really cold April their appearance will be delayed. Walking through Cowleaze Woods in The Chilterns.Lovely Bluebells at Cowleaze Woods in The Chilterns. The bluebell display at Cowleaze Woods is really amazing - over the years we have seen them take hold and gradually spread with the result that now there really are millions of them - and particularly after a rain shower their scent is very noticeable too. Apart from the bluebells the woods and surrounding area have marvellous trees, and once out into the open grassy areas you can find great displays of other wildflowers - especially carpets of cowslips and at the right time of year there are orchids on the grassy slopes. The wildlife is also excellent - this area of the Chilterns is now renowned for the huge number of red kites showing off their flying skills. There are also buzzards, woodpeckers, thrushes, finches, hawks and many other types of English birds to be seen. It's worth saying that although this is described as a "Bluebell Walk" the area is excellent for walkers at any time of the year.

This 8km walk (map used Ordnance Survey Explorer 171) described below starts off from the quite large car-park at Cowleaze Woods (SU 725956) - this is quite an unusual car-park because as of writing (May 2015) it is still free to park. On a nice sunny Sunday afternoon the parking can be a little difficult as many people turn up to enjoy the area - any other time there is normally plenty of room though. Cowleaze Woods can be reached by taking the A40 which is right next to the M40's Junction 5 -- the A40 is signed "To Chinnor and Thame" - then about 3/4s of a mile along the A40 take the left hand turn marked to Watlington and Christmas Common - follow this road as it goes over the M40 and then just a little further along turn left into Cowleaze Woods car-park.
Bluebells and tree stumps - Cowleaze Woods.Pleasant walk on a path through Bluebells in The Chilterns.About this Bluebell Walk. There are lots of paths within Cowleaze Woods and no actual map available showing many of them since people have over time arrived at the woods and just made up mini-circuits and thus created small paths. Our walk assumes you have turned into the car park and then turned left and parked around 200 yards along. From here a path heads straight off into the woods - follow this generally keeping straight ahead - cross over a wide often muddy grassy track and continue ahead. Eventually you will arrive at a field edge and a very broad path and if the bluebells are out would have by then passed about 20 trillion of them. Turn right and follow this wide path with fields on the left until it reaches a stile and gate.
Nice walking track up at Langley Green Plantation in Oxfordshire, England.Lower Vicars Farm nestled in the valley beneath Cowleaze Woods, Oxfordshire. The path down towards Lower Vicars Farm, Cowleaze, Oxfordshire. The fields ahead slope quite steeply down - you can see a collection of farm buildings (Vicar's Farm) down in the dip a little on the left and on the other side of the valley a wooded ridge. If you do not see at least half a dozen red kites showing off around here then you are truly unlucky. Go through the wooden gate and keep ahead walking down the field to reach a stile quite hidden in the hedgerow. This drops you down onto a narrow lane - turn left and then around 50 yards along turn right through hedgerow and via a gate to then walk past the farm buildings which are now on your left. Follow the path to shortly reach a gate - go on through and walk half left up to a stile at the wood edge (this field was covered in cowslips the last time we walked it in early May 2015 and there were many red kites around the area too). Once over the stile the path enters woodland and wanders - with lots more bluebells to keep it company - up to reach a green cross-track. The noise from the now quite close M40 motorway becomes more evident now and will stay for a while.
Lots of Bluebells in Grants Plantation - Aston Rowant area, Oxfordshire.
Turn left on along the green track and walk along the top of the ridge to reach a tarmac road and an m40 road-bridge. Turn right going across the roadbridge and around half a mile along look out for wooden steps on the left. Note that walkers have created a bit of a path up on the left bank which is somewhat nicer to walk along than right beside the road - this ends up at the top of the steps. Climb the steps and follow the path through woods to reach a very small lane - turn left along the lane with in May sometimes quite large patches of bluebells for company.
There are now two options: if the weather is really cold/wet/windy then the first option gives a lot more shelter -
view of Aston Rowant from Beacon Hill in Oxfordshire.More beautiful woods to walk through - Little London Woods in Oxfordshire. 1. a little way along the lane as it bends a wide path leaves on the right which goes into beautiful woods (Little London Woods) - alway keep to the left hand path and after a slight climb come out onto Beacon Hill. Carry on ahead then you can bear right to get a fantastic view of the countryside below - there is also a bench seat just here. From the bench seat go left down hill on the grassy path which winds round to a gate. Go through the gate and turn right down a really steep path (be very carefull if the surface is wet - it is very slippery in places) - this reaches another gate after which bear left then more gates lead to The Ridgeway Path.

2. go on up the lane a bit further to reach the Aston Rowant Nature Reserve car park which is on the right. Walk through the car park and then leave it by a path which goes off from the left hand corner. The motorway is now very close to you on the left although you cannot see it unless you climb a few yards up a bank. Ignore any side paths coming in from the right - just follow the path as it heads down - with steep chalk grassy areas on the right - to finally reach The Ridgeway National Trail. Note this can be really cold to walk in the Winter since it is very exposed on the hillside.

Turn left onto The Ridgeway - soon going under the M40 via an extremely ugly concrete mess of a bridge - to then arrive at a small tarmac lane - The Ridgeway Path itself continues straight ahead. However turn left along this lane to where the surfaced area ends a little way along. Here you have two choices for the return to Cowleaze Woods. If you take the stile on the left you can walk back mostly by climbing up and across grassy slopes but always staying in the same basic direction to eventually reach a wide track - turn right and follow this back to Cowleaze Woods.
Beautiful path within Aston Rowant Nature Reserve in Oxfordshire. Hill Road track leading up to Cowleaze Woods carpark in Oxfordshire. The path leading off Hill Road Track - Cowleaze area, Aston Rowant. Alternatively if you fancy a walk up a nice steep rough track then keep ahead and stay on this track to reach Cowleaze Woods that way. If you use rough track then another alternative is that just as the trees start there is a path on the right - you can follow this and then take a very narrow path on the left. This steep path leads up to an open area (where there are often orchids) - the path swings round to the left and then heads uphill and once at the top continues along to a gate. Go through the gate, turn left and continue to climb to a field go through a gate on the left and then follow the field edge round to reach the road with the car park opposite.
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