A Walk around Oddington and Noke
This walk starts at the Green in Oddington and is 4-5 kilometres (max 3 miles) long and takes 1.5 hours. Being circular it can be walked in either
direction and I would commend doing it both ways – of course on different
occasions - as inevitably it provides a
different experience as you see the same ground from a new perspective. The route is shown below: -
the directions are as follows: -
- From the Green head off down the road past St Andrews Church
and around the corner towards Logg Farm.
- Take the marked footpath through the broken down gate and
overgrown hedge into the corner of the first field. The fence around it can be electrified
and a green insulating pipe allows safe passage. Cross diagonally over to cross the
fence via two black insulating pipes and gain the farm drive. There were three horses in the field
when I passed which studiously ignored me and carried on grazing.
- Follow the drive for 25m until a waymarker directs you right
down a green lane alongside the garden of the new house. At the end cross a farm track and over a
stile (no stepper) on the left of the gate into a field. There were also three horses here who
were so friendly one nudged me gently in the back as I walked off. Ignore the white painted bridge and weir
over to the right and keeping to the hedge line go under trees to find
green metal bridges over the twin streams of the River Ray. The first is the New Cut and the second
the original River Ray. Pass
carefully over the two bridges and turn right along the riverbank for
- At the field boundary turn left and follow the path over two fields to join a
track way beside a huge concrete tank.
As I approached it a pair of herons took flight perhaps there is
water inside? Take in the expansive
views of Wood Eaton Hill, Elsfield and Beckley.
Follow the track to the edge of Manor Farm, Noke where you pick up
a path signposted on the left past Rectory Farm which brings you to a
track/driveway. After two
semi-detached bungalows (the first called ‘Digby Cottage’) a path is
signposted on the left – this avoids the road through the village and
takes you along the back of the gardens but I found it more interesting to
walk along the road which you meet a few metres to the right.
- When you reach the road on a sharp bend turn left and follow it through the village for 300m. It is interesting to see the mix of
ancient and modern houses mainly on the left, what there have in their
gardens and maybe chat to any locals you meet. I only managed to exchange nods with a
woman getting out of her car and the few others I saw were all in cars
leaving for work (it being about 8.30 am).
On the right a small donkey started racing along the hedge (thoughts
of availability for the Palm Sunday re-enactment sprang to mind) and you
also pass the village pond surrounded by yellow irises.
- Eventually you reach Lower Farm where a marker directs you
leftwards along a green lane which after 150m passes between a man made
lake on the left and the end of the Moat on the right to a
T-junction with a major farm track (often muddy even after drought). Restoration of the water meadows has
been so successful here that the track remains flooded and I had to wade
through a maximum depth of two inches of water for 20m or so. I was however distracted by the
cacophony of sound from the many species of bird disturbed by my
passing. Heron gulls, lapwings,
pigeons, crows and a solitary cuckoo were the ones I recognised but I am
no ‘Twitcher’ and if you can, I would strongly recommend taking someone
with you who can identify birds from their calls because without doubt it
would enhance the experience to know you were passing this or that bird
even though you are unlikely to see them.
- Turn left and follow the green lane between hedges for 1100m
through various guises until it becomes a track proper just before
crossing over the River Ray. I like
to look over the rail into the water, which is usually clear enough to see
the bottom, to look for crayfish or fish swimming about. The New Cut should now be on your left
although mostly a high thick hedge obscures the view. Fortunately a low hedge on the right
permits an extensive view across Otmoor towards Brill Hill.
- Follow this for 600m, passing the bridge to Logg farm until you
have past St Andrew’s Church on the hill to your left (now obscured by
trees) when you should be at a major track intersection. On the right a gate leads to a farm
track whilst parallel to this on the other side of a hedge and ditch runs
a green lane onto Otmoor. The New
Cut is still on your left but a substantial bridge permits passage over
the river and up the lane back to the Oddington Green.
The latter half of this walk skirts the
edge of the RSPB Nature Reserve so be sure to take a camera and binoculars to
spy out the bird and other wildlife along the way.