Warwickshire Towpath and Countryside Walk.

The following is a Marston Doles - Napton Locks - Lower and Upper Shuckburgh - Napton on the Hill - Marston Doles Circular Walk in England.

Lineshmans Hut beside The Oxford Canal. The grass towpath outside of Marston Doles on the Oxford CanalThe Oxford Canal near to Twenty Acre Bridge. This 14 mile long (23kms) circular walk is really enjoyable - the as always beautiful Oxford Canal offers lots of locks and bridges to look at as it wanders about through the English countryside for the first half of the walk. Then there is a nice bit of hill climbing to get up to Upper Shuckburgh and thereafter Napton on the Hill before a descent back into Marston Doles. There is a little bit of car parking space available at Marston Doles - we are unaware of any public transport which can get you there though. Whilst working out how to walk this stretch of the Oxford Canal we considered a taxi from Braunston to Marston Doles in order to just walk the towpath one way and we were quoted UKstg35 - a lot of money just to take a walk. The maps used for these walks were the O.S. Explorer 206 221 and 222.
Heavy undergworth beside the Oxford Canal near Shuckburgh Napton Bottom Lock and narrow boats on The Oxford Canal. Moored narrowboats near Lower Shuckburgh. Heavily brambled towpath near Lower Shuckburgh on the Oxford Canal.
Open fields outside of Lower Shuckburgh. Lower Shuckburgh Church - St. John the Baptist. Simply head north on the canal towpath soon passing Napton Locks - the towpath was in reasonable condition and the countryside is beautiful. You get nice views of Napton on the Hill as the towpath winds below it - eventually the Grand Union joins the Oxford Canal at Napton Junction. From the junction the towpath at the time was in a very poor state - heavily overgrown and various bits had collapsed. Eventually Lower Shuckburgh's church comes into view across fields on the right - shortly after this you reach Bridge 104 - leave the canal here. Cross the bridge and walk up to Lower Shuckburgh and it's pretty church (St. John the Baptist) - an ideal place for a lunch break. Quite unusually there is no seating at the church or around the cemetery so perhaps use the wide steps by the front door for a quiet sit. From the church cross the main road and take the footpath opposite - the path heads up and across a field towards a farm and then continues past it on the right.
St. John's Church at Upper Shuckburgh in England. After crossing a small muddy stream continue heading upwards to reach a fire beacon. Continue on up to reach a cross path - divert left because hidden up in the trees is a really pretty church - Upper Shuckburgh. From the church walk back on the path to reach a wood edge - now continue up hill to reach beacon hill and a trig point. Continue to the wood edge and then turn right - this path undulates across two fields to reach a small road. Go left and then immediately right on another path again crossing fields to another road. Turn right and then shortly left on another road - look out for a path on the right a little way down the road - this path goes left of a sports area and then climbs up eventually on a small road to a t-junction.
Go right and then left on a small road steeply up to Napton's Church of St. Lawrence. There are really great views of the countryside rom up here and also there are lots of seats around the churchyard for a short rest and break. A path leaves the churchyard from the front of the church - follow this steeply down into the village - crossing one road and arriving at a more major road. Turn right and follow the road passing Holroyd Farm and Chapel Green - then at the road junction by Lower Farm take a footpath on the right which crosses fields.
Picturesque barns outside of Upper Shuckburgh, England Napton on the Hill Church of St. Lawrence in England. The Old Engine House Arm near Marston Doles, England. The Old Engine House by the Oxford Canal, Marston Doles
Follow this eventually passing what little remains of the old feeder arm and buildings - the feeder arm is full of rushes and undergrowth and the Old Engine House has seemingly been used as a cow-shed. It's just some remains of brickwork and lots of rusty old corrugated iron sheets. This is a bit of a diversion from the natural route particularly to see this old building and in reality  there is not a lot to see but it is there and part of the original canal system so how can you resist!. From here continue along in the original direction across the fields to arrive back at Marston Doles.
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