A wander in the Wychwoods

“You should get out more,” as it is said, so here is an ideal local walk of around four and a half miles that takes in many of the Wychwoods’ many wonders.  While it can be sticky in places after rain, nothing can detract from the beauties of the Wild Garden or the several improvements that have been made to the environment in Milton.  The walk forms a satisfying circuit that can be started anywhere around the route but for the purposes of this description, the starting point is at the end of Green Lane (*) in Milton.

Green Lane itself is virtually traffic-free, passing the back of The Paddocks and, almost opposite, a farm, before the surface turns into a track leading to a wooden bridge over Littlestock brook.  The path continues through trees up to the Lyneham road where a quick left and road crossing leads the walker beside the allotments and down past a community orchard, each newly planted tree bearing the name of its donor.  What was once a very muddy track has been covered with hardcore, running alongside the brook and past another collection of newly planted trees.

The main bridge – ignore a smaller bridge unless you want to take a short cut – then leads the walker through a muddy patch and a swing gate into a wide field with Bruern Grange on the far side; look out for a looming figure outside the Grange!  From here, join the main bridleway that leads back towards Milton, through a chestnut glade and past blackberry hedges.  At its lowest point, look out for a catchment pond, another local improvement designed to hold back flooding before releasing the water slowly back into the brook.

Reaching the High Street, turn right and immediately left up Jubilee Lane, beside the Baptist chapel.  When the lane peters out, carry straight ahead through a gateway and past another, deeper catchment pond.  Both ponds are proving a magnet for wildlife.  A small stream is crossed before the path crosses a field, through a gateway and rises up towards a prominent tree on the skyline where a bridleway is joined.  This leads past the millennium woodland named Diggers Wood on the right before a wooden gate leads into the splendour of the Wild Garden with its twin lakes, mature woodland and aquatic wildlife.

The main avenue of the Wild Garden, lined with lime trees, takes the walker down to the main road, facing the Jacobean mansion of Shipton Court. (Sharp eyed walkers may spot the carved figures of an owl and a squirrel perched high up in the boughs of trees in the avenue).

Further down the main road, opposite The Shaven Crown, the route continues down Church Street, past the green and turns along the footpath beside the church, a path famed for its winter snowdrops.  Turn left back at the main road and fork right at the Milton turn then, once past the school, the walker has reached the end of a walk that highlights much of what is so good about the Wychwoods.

Bob Forster

April – May 2022