A nice Watlington Hill Circular Walk.

This walk starts from the top of Watlington Hill within The Chiltern Hills in Oxfordshire, is around 14kms long and involves several steep climbs.

In fact the total climb is around 485 metres, and involves using bits of The Ridgeway National Trail and a little along The Swans Way - the map for this is Ordnance Survey Explorer 171. How to get to the start and where to park. Go along the A40 as it goes from Stokenchurch towards Oxford and around half a mile along turn left on the road to Christmas Common - follow this for around 3 miles as it crosses the M40 and passes Cowleaze Woods to eventually arrive at the turn-off for Hill Road on the right. Descending Watlington Hill between gorse bushes in The Chilterns, Oxfordshire.Watlington Hill car-park is around 400 yards along Hill Road on the left but you need to drive slowly as the entrance is buried in the hedgerow so hardly visible.
To start this walk go to the left side of the car park with HIll Road in front of you and take the broad path on the left (there are several noticeboards here) - this goes through trees, crosses a track and then comes out onto the open hill-side. Almost immediately there are excellent view of Watlington and the surrounding countryside below, the hill side itself is nicely populated with beautiful yellow gorse and expect to see quite a few Red Kites wheeling around enjoying the thermals.
Carry on down the hill towards Watlington, passing a white church spire on the left which is cut into the hillside (the chalk "church spire" dates back to 1764 when the local squire had it cut from the turf so that the parish church appeared to have a spire when viewed from his house). After going through a gate near to the bottom of the hill the path ends at Hill Road. Turn left and almost immediately go left again onto The Ridgeway National Trail which is clearly signposted. The Trail starts off as a narrow metal road but quickly reverts to track and is heavily lined with hedgerow. Keep along this to eventually arrive at Howe Road, cross this and continue ahead on The Ridgeway - now a narrow potholed road.
The Ridgeway Path at Watlington in Oxfordshire. Nearing North Farm along The  Ridgeway in The Chilterns, Oxfordshire. North Farm and tumbledown outbuildings, The Chilterns, Oxfordshire. Ridgeway Path close to North Farm in The Chilterns, South Oxfordshire.
This then arrives at a track/road junction with quite a few farm buildings (Lys Farm House) in front of you. The Ridgeway Trail continues almost straight ahead passing to the left of these buildings and is at first a narrow quite overgrown path but this soon widens to become an undulating grassy track. Note that in wet weather this section can become very muddy in places but from time to time there are side paths on the left in the hedgerow which follow alongside and these are much better for walking along.
The trail arrives at a narrow road, cross this and continue along to soon arrive a track junction (this is at North Farm). Turn left, still on The Ridgeway, passing the farm buildings and now walking along a really lovely tree-lined path. This climbs up towards Dean Wood and then continues very steeply through the woods and then eventually drops down to a field edge.
Ridgeway Trail, The Chilterns, Oxfordshire. Very woolly sheep with her lamb, near Swyncombe, Oxfordshire. The pretty little Swyncombe Church in Oxfordshire. Church Woods near Swyncombe in The Chilterns.
Continue on down and then all the way back up again to the far side - to arrive at a gate and a narrow road. Cross the road and continue on The Ridgeway to reach Swyncombe House and then take the side-gate into the Churchyard. The church conveniently has a small bench seat and is a beautiful spot to stop off for a lunch break - also often as not the church doors are unlocked so that you can take a look inside.
Walk through the churchyard and on through the gate on the far side (opposite the church porch), turn left and walk between trees, cross a driveway and keep ahead on a narrow fenced path - once through another gate follow the path up the field to reach Church Woods.

Coates Lane junction at Cookley Green, Oxfordshire. Along Coates Lane in The Chilterns, South Oxfordshire. Coates Farm - outskirts of Cookley Green in The Chilterns. Walking path in the The Chilterns, Oxfordshire.
Keep on the main path as it goes up through these lovely woods to then reach Church Lane where you turn right. On reaching the junction at Cookley Green turn left into Coates Lane. Follow the lane passing houses and then through woods to reach Coates Farm - continue on passing the barns on the left - the narrow hedged lane winds round to reach a road. Cross the road and continue along to reach Woods Farm, take a marked bridleway on the right of the buildings. This is another really beautiful sunken path to walk - it goes through a narrow belt of trees and slowly descends to once again reach Lys Farm House. Turn right and return back along the road (The Ridgeway) to reach Howe Road.
Lovely shaded path to walk along in South Oxfordshire. A beautiful path - almost like a tunnel - in The Chilterns, Oxfordshire. Bottom of Watlington Hill, Oxfordshire. One of the paths heading back up Watlington Hill in Oxfordshire.
Nearing the top of Watlington Hill in The Chilterns. Excellent views from the side of Watlington Hill in The Chilterns. Watlington Hill views, Watlington, South Oxfordshire. Turn right along Howe Road and walk along the grass verge for around 400 yards to reach the entrance to Lower Dean Farm (on the opposite side of the road). Go through the gates and then take the path on the left - this narrow path goes between trees and then comes out the grassy sides of  Watlington Hill. The path continues on often quite steeply up with beautiful views on the right, then goes back into trees before reaching the start point (carpark) on the left.
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