A Fenny Compton Walk in England.

This circular walk of around 14 miles goes out from Fenny Compton - it's flat for 8 miles then a little hilly in places for the return.

If you don't really believe that the Oxford Canal wanders around a little then this is the walk to do - in one part between Griffins Bridge and Stoneton Bridge you almost expect it to go underneath itself on an aqueduct - the twist is so huge. This section of the Oxford Canal goes almost entirely through open countryside with just several bridges to look at, only the one canal lock and hardly any buildings around. Much of the grass covered towpath is heavily lined and sometimes taken over by undergrowth which can make walking quite slow especially in The Spring - and also somewhat boggy in places following any rain. It is not a particularly easy towpath for cycling along.
There is a limited amount of parking by the wharf on the old disused road by the bridge. From Fenny Compton Wharf by the Wharf Inn go down onto the towpath and turn left on the towpath and then immediately going under Bridges 136 and 136A.
The Oxford Canal's towpath at Fenny Compton. Beautiful trees and foliage beside The Oxford Canal near Fenny Compton. Oxford Canal towpath. Approaching Griffins Bridge while walking along The Oxford Canal in England.
Eventually the towpath takes you to the only lock on this walk which is Napton Top Lock - and where you leave the Oxford Canal i.e. this is at Marston Doles. Cross over Marston Doles Bridge and walk up the quiet road for several 100 metres, then take a smaller barely surfaced road on the right. The semblance of road surface disappears by some buildings and the now track goes off sharp left. It eventually arrives at a very sharp right hand bend at a track/path junction. When last walked there was a load of plastic covered straw bales dumped in front of one path/stile and a huge mound of grey gravel had been dumped on the left hand side in front of another stile/path entrance. Go sharp left walking over the gravel heap (if it is still there) and follow the field with a fence/hedge on the left and then heading toward some woodland.
Ladder Bridge on The Oxford Canal. Napton Top Lock on The Oxford Canal in England. Shrub lined track in Oxfordshire near Priors Hardwick. Ruined building near Stoneton Manor
Once at the woods follow the field edge round the front of the trees then stay ahead where the woods end now cross over the field heading towards a small derelict building. Carry on in the same direction now climbing - the path goes directly towards and into Priors Hardwick village - head for the church. From the church continue along the road passing in front of a large restaurant - at the road junction go left and shortly look out for and take a footpath on the right. Once into the field go half right climbing up the field i.e. head for the top right hand corner. Once through the gate continue straight ahead now walking across the top of the ridge and with the field edge on the right. After passing through another gate the path bears right and starts to descend - head for a dip in the field to the right of the trees - take the marked path ahead which goes across the next field and onto a small road. Go left along the road and then almost immediately look for and go through a gate on the right - the path now dips up and down as it crosses the fields and passes Stoneton Manor. Go through a gate and then bear half right to arrive at Newfield Pool. Keep to the right of the pool and continue ahead on the marked path - over several fields - to reach Wormleighton. The church can be reached by heading right along the road.
Priors Hardwick Church in England (St. Marys). Heading towards The Oxford Canal outside of Priors Hardwick. Very grassy towpath on The Oxford Canal near Wormleighton. Wormleighton's church of St. Peter and St. Paul.
From Wormleighton there are two choices to get back to Fenny Compton - one of which is to simply walk the country lane which heads almost directly back to the Wharf - this is obviously the shortest way.
However the map shows that there is the site of the medieval ruins of Wormleighton nearbye and avoiding walking along roads as much as possible is always desirable. To do this take a concrete road leaving by the church which heads down to the Sewage Works and to the right of these (not smelly) works enter a field. Head half right down the fields with lots of furrows and mounds etc on the left showing where the old ruins once were - in fact there is not a lot see apart from these grassy mounds. Aim towards the clearly visible Oxford Canal and Wells Bridge 134. There is or may be quite a lot of undergrowth at the bridge - cross over the bridge and then immediately on the left and well hidden in the quite dense foliage is a gap where you can get down to the towpath. Turn right to head back to Fenny Compton Wharf.
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