This time last year, when we were allowed to travel short distances to enjoy some daily exercise, my son and I headed out to spend some time at Kirtlington Quarry. We’d really just meant to get some fresh air and enjoy somewhere we’ve been before and have a picnic. But it was a lovely day and we both felt like being a bit more adventurous. I’d just started using our OS map app and saw that there were a number of walking options from the Quarry, and one involved a train track. My son was sold, so we spent time exploring footpaths close to home – Kirtlington Quarry to Tackley loop walk. Our particular route worked out at nearly 7km.
We’ve visited Kirtlington Quarry countless times over the years. There’s verge side parking available along Mill Lane in Kirtlington. We always arrive early, I turn my car around and park close to the start of the lane so I can get out easily later, as it tends to be a popular haunt, even in lockdown.
Once parked there are a couple of entrances into the quarry depending on whether you want to start at the top or join the bottom of the quarry grounds.
At the bottom, there’s a stone labyrinth to have a little fun walking around, but a lot of the stones have been moved around over the years.
Our walk would take us along the canal towards Pigeon Lock, which is easy to find from the quarry.
There’s a path that runs along the canal and through the woodland area. It’s always a hit with my son as there are wooden bridges and steps to add to the adventure.
The path leads back onto Mill Lane before reaching the lock itself.
We often stop for lunch at Pigeon Lock as before lockdown we’d often see narrowboats going through the lock. If you cross over the bridge you can see a footpath leading off in front of you and this took us out on our new adventure as we headed in the direction of Tackley. You could also walk along the towpath to your right and complete a loop back to Kirtlington that way.
The pathway takes you past a weir. You can see in the next couple of photos that the weather was considerably cooler on our last visit in April compared to when we first completed this walk in May 2020!
You also have the opportunity to see cows.
and horses in the adjoining fields as you continue on this loop walk.
Before heading towards open fields.
The shot above was April 2021 and the shot below was April 2020 – no t-shirts and sandals have been worn so far this year!
As you follow this pathway you have the option to carry on the path heading towards Old Whitehill Farm and join the loop from a previous walk we’ve completed which takes in Enslow and the Whitehill Earth Station. We took the footpath to the right which heads towards Tackley.
My son was so pleased when we reached Tackley station, even though it was incredibly quiet and we didn’t spot a train until after we’d walked over the footbridge and we started walking back.
Obviously, we then had to stop for a bit of train spotting.
Before continuing on our route.
My son loves finding clearly defined pathways, it gives him the confidence to run on ahead and feel like he’s in charge of our adventure.
We carried along the footpaths and then took a lefthand path heading back towards the canal, weir and Pigeon lock and headed back to the car. This particular walk has given us loads of options for different routes and we will be exploring more of them over the coming months, hopefully in t-shirts, but who knows with the weather we’ve been having lately!
If you’ve explored this area and have any recommendations please let me know.