Lower Heyford Circular Walk visiting Steeple, Middle and North Astons, Somerton and returning along the Oxford Canal towpath.

The map used for these walks is the O.S. Explorer 191 Oxford - this is a circular walk of around 23km - fairly flat. This walk is particularly good in the Spring - The Oxford Canal towpath is really nice to walk along - full or flora and wildlife and you also have the benefit of having the River Cherwell alongside as well. The walk starts ooff at Lower Heyford's lovely church at map reference SP 48510 24876 - there is some parking available by the church. The road ends a short distance past the church and there take a marked footpath which continues ahead between fences and very soon brings you out with the Oxford Canal in front of you. Follow the path round to the left crossing a grassy area to reach a road, go right and head down towards the canal and railway station.
Lower Heyford Church Lower Heyford Wharf on the Oxford Canal Mill Lift Bridge on the Oxford Canal River Cherwell
Don't actually cross on the road bridge, instead cross the canal using the canal bridge and walk down onto the towpath. Head along the towpath with the railway lines on the left and canal on the right - the canal bends slowly round to the right before straightening again to arrive at a small swing bridge. Take the marked footpath on the left - this crosses the River Cherwell - follow the path through trees and soon cross a small farmer's bridge - the path bends right and after crossing a stile you can see the railway embankment ahead of you - cross the railway line and shortly come out into a field. Ignore a track (which incidentally from the barns has the excellent name of Cow Lane) going half right across the field towards some barns - follow the path going straight ahead now alongside hedgerow.
Heyfords Somerton Walk Steeple Aston Church - St Peter and St Paul Cross another stile and continue in the same direction on a really nice woodland path which eventually comes out at more fields and now Steeple Aston can be seen ahead across the valley. Still going ahead go down the dip and back up to reach the outskirts of the village - walk up a very steep concrete track to the main village road. Turn right and shortly turn right onto Paines Hill - this drops down for a while and then climbs very steeply up to reach Steeple Aston's church (on the left). [ SP 47593 26070 ]. Head along the towpath with the railway lines on the left and canal on the right - the canal bends slowly round to the right before straightening again to arrive at a small swing bridge. Take the marked footpath on the left - this crosses the River Cherwell - follow the path through trees and soon cross a small farmer's bridge - the path bends right and after crossing a stile you can see the railway embankment ahead of you - cross the railway line and shortly come out into a field.
Ignore a track (which incidentally from the barns has the excellent name of Cow Lane) going half right across the field towards some barns - just follow the path going straight ahead now walking alongside a hedgerow. Cross another stile and continue in the same direction on a really nice woodland path - this eventually comes out at some more fields and now Steeple Aston can be seen ahead across the valley. Still going ahead go down the dip and back up to reach the outskirts of the village - walk up a very steep concrete track to the main village road.
Turn right and shortly turn right onto Paines Hill - this drops down for a while and then climbs steeply up to reach Steeple Aston's church (on the left). [ SP 47593 26070 ]. Having looked round the church go back onto the road and continue along in the original direction - around 400 metres along and just before Poultry Farm take a track on the left - this soon becomes a nice woodland path - follow this to a t-junction, now turn right and follow this across open ground and then a small woods to reach a road. Go right along the road passing several large lakes and walk into Middle Aston. Ignore a road on the left and then just on the other side of the village opposite the gates to Middle Aston House and where the road bends right look for two paths which leave on the left. Take the left hand path and follow this across fields for around 1km to reach a small farm road, go left and on reaching Middle Aston Lane go right along the lane to soon reach the track to Hendon Farm. As you approach the farm turn left over a stile and cross a field. Continue down the field and cross a stream before climbing back upto a three way junction.
lovely path on Oxfordshire Church of St Mary the Virgin at North Aston in Oxfordshire England railway vidaducts in Oxfordshire St James church at Somerton
Take the middle path cross the field to reach a driveway, turn right going past North Aston Hall gates and shortly reach the St. Mary's Church (which is attached to the end of the Hall). From the church go back onto the track and continue in the original direction to go via huge estate gates to reach a small road, go left uphill and just as the road bears left take a path leaving on the right. This path continues diagonally left across a field (where you get a nice panaromic view of the railway viaduct) with Manor Farm House on the right and then reaches the left side of a small woodland. Still staying in the same basic direction with the woods on your right walk down across fields to reach a small wooded area. [ SP 48704 29990 ] When we last walked here there were only path signs for straight ahead - however do not go into the woods but instead go sharp right on a bridleway and follow the hedgerow going up to reach a small road at Mill Cottage. Turn left and follow the road - this crosses the River Cherwell and then reaches the Oxford Canal at Somerton.
Somerton Bridge on the Oxford Canal Oxfordshire England Single Bridge - Oxford Canal Pxford Canal England - Allens Lock Allens Bridge - Oxford Canal
The walk continues by turning right along the canal however as we always like looking at churches we diverted here by crossing the canal and then the railway line - shortly look out for a small path on the right which will take you on a nice little climb up to the churchyard and church at Somerton - well worth the effort. Return to the canal the same way or you can leave from the other side of the churchyard and walk back down the road. Cross the canal bridge and go left onto the towpath - as you walk along Somerton's church appears up on the left. Now the walk just involves enjoying a nice wander along the towing path - eventually passing Somerton Crossing and Heyford Common Lock to eventually reach Allen's Lock at Upper Heyford.
Upper Heyford Church of St Mary - Oxfordshire Beautiful Oxford Canal Barns - Oxford Canal The towpath near Lower Heyford.
There is a church here as well so you can cross The Oxford Canal at Allen's Bridge and follow a small road which takes you up to Upper Heyford's pretty church of St. Marys. Return back to the canal and continue in the original direction. Soon the River Cherwell re-appears and you end up walking between the canal and the river for some distance. Just continue along to eventually arrive back at Lower Heyford station - go back across the road bridge to the original starting point at St Mary's church, where incidentally there are several bench seats available for a relax.
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