Southern England Wychwood Forest, Oxfordshire
Distance: 13km/8 miles
Type: Countryside and woodland
Where: Circular walk from Charlbury via Wychwood Forest.
Start/End: Charlbury railway station (SP352195).
Terrain: Field tracks, woodland paths and quiet country lanes.
Maps: OS Explorer 180 & 191; Landranger 164.
Charlbury lies at the heart of what was once the royal Forest of Wychwood, which covered much of what is now west Oxfordshire, and where the deer were reserved for the king to hunt. Over the centuries, much of the woodland was cleared for farmland and settlements. The largest remaining piece of this ancient woodland, which lies to the south-west of Charlbury, was – until the 1980s – out of bounds to walkers, as no official right of way was recorded by the local authority on its definitive map, drawn up in the 1950s, despite evidence of woodland trails having been used by locals for centuries. Thanks to a seven-year campaign by Oxfordshire Ramblers, a public footpath was finally created through Wychwood Forest in 1988, saving a long walk round the perimeter and providing an essential link for a very pleasant circular route from Charlbury. As well as Wychwood’s unspoilt oak, beech and ash woodland, it visits a charming 12th-century church in Shorthampton and the grand parkland of Cornbury Deer Park.
Click below to see a route profile and view the route on an Ordnance Survey map