Some good friends of mine had mentioned that they got a train from Haddenham Thame Parkway to Oxford rather than using the car then Park and ride. It got me thinking I prefer the train to busses. I took a look and realised I could get to the Cotswolds in an hour so I planned a walk from Kingham to Moreton-in-marsh. It was an early start, the weather was forecast hot and walking in the hot sun is no fun. I caught the 0639 train from Haddenham parkway to Oxford then with a half hour wait I got the train to kingham, which was time enough to grab a coffee.
On leaving kingham station I pavement at the edge of the B road into the village of Bledington, where I found an unsigned footpath which follows a river Evenlode. Although that was hard to find, the footpaths are otherwise well marked and generally you’ll find that there are kissing gates more often than styles. I was headed north roughly following the Diamon Way but kept close to the river and Eventually I reached Daylesford where I used the track to cross the railway.
In a field near the farm a whole circus with setup it was the Giffords Circus. I rested for a while at the church in Daylesford village where I found a bench with a lovely with a view across the fields. Leaving the churchyard I followed the B road down past the circus and Daylesford organic shop. There appeared to be a 4×4 event going on. Where the footpath finishes the Daylesford Estate has kindly provided a permissive path which runs the other side of the hedgerow keeping you off the not too busy road. Turning left in to a private drive that is a public footpath, I then followed the walls that surround Daylesford house which seems to be quite a large estate. I never caught sight of the house itself.
The farm building and stables of the Daylesford estate are extremely well maintained even to the point of the gravel outside one of the building being raked like a Japanese Zen garden. All the vehicles appear to be kept clean and shiny and there was no clutter that you might normally see around a farmyard, they obviously take their work very seriously.
As you leave the buildings and follow a track the reward for the climb up to the stables is rewarded I great views across the Gloucestershire or Oxfordshire countryside. The fields around on mainly horse grazing. In the woods and the fields there are two bronze sculptures that I saw. Of a horse grazing but just the head, I believe they were by Nic Fiddian-Green either that or they are copies.
Just as you leave the estate you need to take a little footpath, because the last 50 yards to the gate is not a public footpath. Cross the A406, quite busy and you’ll see your left a footpath that takes you to the village of Adlestrop where there is a post office. Adlestrop is a lovely little village all in Cotswold stone. I took a detour to have a look at the church where people were arriving for a wedding in quite posh cars. On exiting the village you need to pick up the footpath which is marked with the MacMillan Way and follow it for a mile to Chastleton.
Just before Chastleton there’s a long slog up a hill, when you get to the top the surrounding views are magnificent which makes it worth all the effort. The village is a national trust and there are old buildings including at least one folly. The house itself wasn’t open from 1300 but I was there at 11 so would miss out on the house. I took the opportunity for a rest sitting in the lovely churchyard to eat my cheese sandwiches. I left the village taking the bridleway downhill towards Evenlode village. I missed a turning on the bridleway which would lead to Evenlode. There was no obvious alternative so I backtracked to get me back on the correct footpath. Evenlode appears to be a sleepy little village on the parish noticeboard I there was an advert for molecatchers.
Once I exited Evenlode I looked for a sign pointing me to the diamond way. The signposting is not as good at this end of the walk which by the time you get there may be a bit tired, be careful to not miss any. This part of the walk the paths are very straight and lead you into the south of Moreton-in-marsh town. It is a very touristy place basically it’s full of cafes and antique shops. I grabbed a sandwich and coffee from a patisserie and they he made up cheese sandwich specially because they only had meaty ones available. I sat and watched the traffic queuing through the town and the world go by.
I found the station and got the train back to Oxford, the air-con on the train was very welcome. At Oxford I grabbed a 500ml bottle of water for £2.85, which I soon finished then I got the same brand from a Sainsbury’s 1.5l for £1! By the time I got back to Haddenham it was 15:20, it had been a fairly long day but the train ride and the long (13 miles) walk made it worth the effort.