Getting to the start and where to park. Take the A40
heading from Stokenchurch towards
Oxford and turn left at the signpost marked Christmas Common - the road crosses the M40 and then after about 1 mile you will see Cowleaze Woods on your left - where there is ample parking.
We have walked round this area so many times and I don't believe we have once failed to have the pleasure of watching lots of the red kites wheeling around above us, also there are frequent sightings of buzzards, kestrels and other birds of prey too.
With the road in front of you go right through the parking area and as you get to the end just before the grassed picnic area turn left to cross the road and take a lane/gravel track (Hill
This track winds down through woods (Rowant Nature reserve is either side of you) and eventually flattens out in an open area with
the M40 visible on your right - continue straightish on with Hill Farm on your right and shortly afterwards arrive at
a major cross track - this is were The Ridgeway crosses. Turn left and now follow this ancient trail as it wanders through open countryside for a while and then
dives into woodland. Just keep following this trail until the next cross-junction (which is in fact a metal road and also the Oxfordshire Way).
Carry straight on along the Ridgeway until you see a kissing gate on your left which has "The Ridgeway" signpost (if you reach the metal road you have gone too far) - go through
the gate - now you have some wooden steps in front of you but don't use these - instead turn left heading around the hill on a sunken path which then starts to climb fairly easily
upwards - continue on up the hillside now with lovely views to your left and after a little while you will see Pyrton House down below you.
Just continue along until you enter a woodland area - shortly after going up some wooden steps the path ends at a field -
cross the stile and turn right and follow the field edge to the road.Turn left and take care as you walk along this road as it gets quite busy especially during the summer - fortunately
you do not have to go very far on it since after around 200 metres turn right onto a track - going past aerial masts on your left - when the track
bears right continue left on down through the woods. At a junction (white arrows on a tree) go right and at the next junction - again arrowed - go
left and down through the woods. This path continues for some distance and you should ignore any side paths.
It eventually becomes a grassy track which goes through small recently planted trees - when it bears right you soon pass a monument (urn?) and then here go slightly left and the path
then continues on passing a walled garden on your left and arrives at a private road. Go right just a little way and then left over a stile into a
field, cross this field, then cross another small private road and yet another field and arrive onto a grassy track.
Turn left and follow this track as it goes through a small copse and then follows a field edge to become a wider track which eventually arrives at a metal road - Wormsley Estate is on your left. Continue straight on along the
tarmac road until you come to some houses - having passed a thatched yellow cottage take the footpath which goes off to the left. This path winds up through woods for some distance and becomes a grassy
track after a while - after it more or less flattens out you will find a cross track - take the path going left down through woods - cross a field with Lower Vicar's Farm below and then on your right. Passing
to the left of the buildings you arrive at a small road, turn left and after a few metres look for a gap in the hedge on the right with a stile - this path takes you up and across the field towards the wood edge (Cowleaze Woods).
Enter the woods and continue straight on through the woods with a field on your right - this will bring you back through the picnic area and to the car park.