Towards the end of the half term holidays we were in need of some fresh air and a bit of exercise. Although it was a bit chilly, the sun was shining and it seemed the perfect day to try out a circular walk around Thrupp, just outside Kidlington. I’d bought the Short Walks Around Bicester book last year and really want to start ticking off their suggested walks this year. We’ve tried the town walk and a 5 mile walk around Kirtlington last year, so it was time for another.
In this instance a circular walk around Thrupp starts and finishes in the car park behind Annie’s Tea Room, so my nine-year old knew from the get go, he was walking back towards lunch! As you head along the A4260 from Banbury to Oxford, the left hand turning to Thrupp and the tea room is clearly signposted just before you reach the outskirts of Kidlington. We’ve been to Annie’s Tea Room before some years ago for a birthday party, so I knew I had to drive alongside the Oxford canal and over the bridge to park.
A circular walk around Thrupp would cover 3.5 miles with a suggested walking time of 1.5 hours. So I’d figured we should complete it just in time for lunch. There were plenty of spaces in the car park when we arrived, but it’s a popular place to visit, so my trip would be to get there early.
The book comes with an OS map picture of the walk to covered, along with points of interest along the way. The instructions are very clear, so perfect even if you aren’t particularly familiar with map reading. We started our walk on the towpath for the Oxford Canal with the River Cherwell on our right hand side.
I’d tempted my son with this walk with the promise that we’d pass the site of a serious Great Western Railway train crash from 1874. it might sound rather macabre, but as soon as he knew we’d be going near a railway line he was more than happy to try out a circular walk around Thrupp!
But before we got to the railway line there were other views to enjoy and we had the towpath to ourselves which was lovely.
My son’s school had been having solar panels installed before the holidays and his homework was to write about the process. A canal boat using their own solar panel was the perfect subject for a bit of discussion about what he’d learned.
As we followed the tow path we headed towards the bridge at Shipton-on-Cherwell which would also see us heading away from the canal.
A theme of this particular walk would be the churches, my son seems as taken with church buildings as I always have been. He liked the idea of a church being in the middle of nowhere as opposed to being in the centre of a town. It’s just a shame that in this day and age they are always locked up so you can’t see inside.
From the tow path our walk would take us across fields towards the village of Hampton Gay, and we started by navigating around the flood plain.
I’d stupidly not worn my walking boots, but normal boots, it made for a few interesting moments along our walk with my son laughing at me. Of course I’d made sure that he was correctly dressed. Luckily my boots and I survived the day, not a mistake I’ll make again!
Over the years my son has become adept at crossing stiles and going through kissing gates. The variety of bridges we encounter on our walks are always a talking point.
Across the field we headed towards the first of the railway bridges we would encounter on a circular walk around Thrupp, and the site of the aforementioned train crash. I think my son was expecting to still see some evidence of the disaster, not that was obviously not the case!
But at various spots along the walk he did get to see trains passing by, both passenger and goods trains, so that went down well.
As we walked on towards Hampton Gay my son could see another church, totally alone in a field, he was off on a mission to explore. Of course he won’t ever take my word for it that the door will be locked.
As we turned away from the church we could see the ruins of the Manor House which was destroyed by fire many years ago. Without our walk we would never have known about it.
From the ruins we would continue walking through one field to the next, keeping to the well-worn path as we went.
We only saw two other walkers for the entirety of our walk, it was so lovely and tranquil with just horses, and birds overhead to keep us company.
This way Mummy!
Another church came into view on the outskirts of Hampton Poyle, another investigation required, another locked door.
From the church we followed the edge of the River Cherwell through one more field before entering a nature reserve.
The nature reserve follows the path of the river and has a beautiful avenue of trees running through it.
It was the perfect location to hunt down a stick, with plenty of options to choose from until the perfect accessory was found.
We passed under a railway bridge and where back to where we’d started and we’d certainly earned a sausage sandwich and a hot drink at Annie’s Tea Room to end off our trip.
A successful walk and one I’m sure we’ll enjoy again. Have you got any circular walks that you enjoy with your family?