Footpaths in Shipton

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Ten footpaths that start in the village are described here, all relating to the sketch map. Later issues of the magazine will cover the footpaths in Milton and Ascott.

Path 1 is called Dog Kennel Lane. This path is off the A361 beside Tall Trees; the early stages are a good track which soon degenerates into squidgy mud after rain. Some people have avoided this by making a track in an adjacent field and therefore off the Public Right of Way. You can follow the official path all the way to Milton where you can enter the village either by Jubilee Lane or Frog Lane.

Path 1 is best reached by Path 2 which takes you through the Wild Garden. Enjoy your walk along the lime tree avenue and by the ponds to exit into Dog Kennel Lane. A very pleasant detour from Dog Kennel Lane is to wander through Diggers Wood, a millennium project when tree planting was encouraged. The woodland is now taking shape and regular maintenance is carried out by the Wychwood Project Volunteers and the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens.

Path 3 leaves the A361 near the New Beaconsfield Hall and goes along Meadow Lane beyond the surgery. This is the Oxfordshire Way, a long distant path of 68 miles starting in Bourton on the Water and finishing in Henley on Thames. It links the two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Oxfordshire, The Cotswolds and The Chilterns. It is a lovely varied walk and a great way to explore little known parts of our county.

Path 4 leads off Path 3 and crosses the River Evenlode to go underneath the railway and on into Lyneham. You can make a good circular walk when you reach Lyneham by turning left and walking along the road until you see the Oxfordshire Way aka Path 3 off to the left.

Paths 5 and 6 leave the A361 at the same point just beyond the garage. The diagonal route joins up with the Oxfordshire Way as it goes towards Ascott. Path 6 keeps to the line of the field boundary and goes over the Evenlode to reach the Ascott Road. You can turn right, walk along the road as far as a path sign on your left and join Path 7. Following this will bring you out at Fiveways. You can either walk straight down Plum Lane to reach the High Street or go up the Swinbrook Road until you reach the allotments. Follow Path 10 which brings you out on Trots Lane and then High Street.

When following Path 8, the first section is fine as it is regularly used by dog walkers (as underfoot conditions prove!) but the stiles up to the busy Charlbury road are in poor condition.

Path 9 doesn’t really go anywhere other than to the Charlbury Road. Historically there may have been a route more widely in use, probably to Swinbrook but disuse has meant the path has been permanently lost.

So how are the paths maintained? Budgets and staffing levels for the OCC department looking after the countryside have shrunk significantly. There is a massive dependency on voluntary organisations such as The Cotswold Voluntary Wardens who can provide labour and expertise to clear paths, check stiles etc.; could this be for you? More details from Rebecca.jones@cotswoldsaonb.org.co.uk

Rosemary Wilson

April – May 2019