Walk 166: Eydon Circular…stunning scenery & just the sound of the birds

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 5.1 miles (8.18km)

Time to walk: Roughly 2 1/4 hours, but I was stopping to admire the views, take pictures & just generally chill

Difficulty: Small lanes, fields, & rough tracks. There are several stiles to be negotiated & quite a few of them are not dog friendly so you may struggle with larger canines

Parking: I parked close to the Royal Oak in Lime Avenue

Public toilets: The Royal Oak when open

Map of the route:

I’ll start by saying that if you want a walk that allows you to get away from it all, fantastic scenery, hills for exercise, a stunning village &…peace…yes peace (apart from the bird song) then this is the walk for you. I have to say I had a massive smile on my face the whole time

It’s not a long walk, but it packs a lot into its 5 miles & starts & ends at a pub that has a great reputation

The beautiful village of Eydon lies in the hilly west of Northamptonshire, some 8 miles north-east of Banbury. Take some time to walk around the village & admire the wonderful buildings. The name means “Hill of a man called Aega”

Much of the village was destroyed in a fire that started in an alehouse. The Eydon Historical Research Group has a wonderful website that will give you an idea of the village in days gone by

The Church is dedicated to St Nicholas & has been changed many times over the years, however the oldest part is the Norman Baptismal font

Shall we go & explore this gem then?

Let’s Walk!

1. I parked in Lime Avenue opposite the Royal Oak pub. When I visited in early May 2021 the pub was closed, but readying itself for a mid May opening when Covid restrictions are due to be lifted…

The pub is owned by local farmers & dates back to the 17th century

2. Facing the pub turn left & walk a short distance along Lime Avenue…

…turning right down the delightfully, narrow Blacksmith’s Lane

3. Eydon’s layout is quite unusual in that it has two parallel main streets, Lime Avenue, where we parked, & High Street, where we’re heading. The Lane descends quite steeply at times & also narrows considerably…

4. At the bottom turn left & walk along High Street…

On the right’s ‘The Store’ which I’m sure provides a great service to the local community…

5. At the junction it’s time to say goodbye to Eydon & turn right down Moreton Road…

This is the road that takes you to Canons Ashby & the surrounding countryside is quite beautiful. Although I encountered a couple of cars, the road is generally quiet

6. Pass the gap which was where a railway bridge once stood. We’ll pick up the old railway line again later in this walk…

Eydon Road Halt was a railway station on the link line between the Great Central Railway & the Great Western Railway’s Birmingham – London line, leaving the Great Central at Culworth Junction to connect with Banbury Junction. The station opened in 1913 & closed in 1956

Today nothing remains of the Halt at its former site, but one of its wooden platform shelters was rescued & can be seen today on an allotment behind the Social Club at Woodford Halse

7. Continue up the hill for roughly 50 yards to a footpath sign pointing the route through a gate on the left…

Once in the field, walk straight ahead towards the far hedge

8. On reaching the hedge turn left & now continue in a straight line. You’re now following another old railway line on your right…

Pass through the gap & continue in the same direction through the next field. It was here that I suddenly stopped & realised just how peaceful it was – not a sound!

9. At the end of the next field, cross the lane & carry on in the same direction…

Now at the end of the next one, follow the path around to the left in the direction of the sign arrow…

10. You’ll see the clearly marked & fenced path ahead of you…

…crossing over the old railway line we saw on the road earlier

11. This is really well marked, easy walking. The area on the right, in the old railway cuttung is Woodford Halse Nature Reserve which we’ll be visiting shortly. Again this area is so peaceful with just bird song disturbing the silence

12. Look out for a stile on the right just before the paths bends…this is the entrance & steps down into the old railway line, now Woodford Halse Nature Reserve

Woodford Halse Nature Reserve covers 5.7 hectares & is managed by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire

This site in two disused railway cuttings which were excavated around 100 years ago & has some plant species which are rare in Northamptonshire. Over 160 flower species have been recorded & 17 species of butterflies

13. Continue in the same direction along the cutting. If you felt solitude before then this is another world

Lots of logs etc have been left to create wildlife habitats

14. Pass under the high road bridge. There are several benches if you fancy a ponder for a while

Shortly after the bridge you arrive at an information board & then the exit onto the road

The Nature Reserve does continue on the other side of the road &, for research purposes only, I went to have a look, but it arrives at a dead end after a 100 yards or so, so don’t bother. The dog signs are quite interesting…

Although it’s not advertised, after you go through the gate, if you turn right & walk into the Equestrian Centre you’ll find  Harley Equestrian, Country Lifestyle Shop & Cafe which apparently does very good cakes!

15. This route continues over the road up the track on the left to the gate…

16. Now walk straight towards the bottom left of the next field – towards the bushes in the above picture to arrive at a rickerty double-stile beside a large tree trunk

Carefully cross both stiles & continue in the same direction on the Jurassic Way

As people are aware, there is a Jurassic Way section on my website as we’re following Ann Pugh & her intrepid band of ladies as they make their way along it. The Jurassic Way connects Banbury with Stamford. It largely follows an ancient ridgeway traversing Britain & most of its 88 mile (142 km) route is in Northamptonshire on the Jurassic limestone ridge in the north of the county

17. The path heads diagonally left down the field to exit onto the road, over the stile, beside the buildings…

The sign points you across the road to the right where there’s another stile to take you into a paddock

18. Guess what’s awaiting you to exit the paddock? Yes, another stile…

Cross this & continue up the narrow grass track beside the stream

19. Cross the bridge into another pasture. There were long horned cattle in this field but they were gentle giants & not in the least slightly interested in me

The path heads diagonally left towards the house…

20. Exit into the next field & follow the wall around to the right to the gate onto the lane…

Welcome to the hamlet of West Farndon whose name means “west of the hill growing with ferns” – see if you can spot it

There’s been evidence found that there was a settlement here in Roman times & the Domesday Book in 1086 tells us there were two manors. There are earthworks nearby which show that the village was much bigger. Agriculture has always played a major part in West Farndon’s day to day life & you can still see evidence of ridge & furrow in the fields today

21. Walk through the gate & up the lane…

It was here I met a wonderful local character & her dog. Aged 92, she’d lived in the hamlet for the last 20 years. She certainly didn’t look that age & put it down to walking every day.

I’m also sure living in a place like this with its slower pace of life helped, but she did say both her parents lived to well over 100, so she had a bit of time to go yet! 

22. It’s time now for some incredible Northamptonshire views & hills so at the junction turn left & follow the narrow lane for about 100 yards…

23. Look out for a footpath sign & gate on the left, but before you pass through it, maybe just lean on it for a few moments & take in the fantastic view that’s before you

Take a deep breath because to get back to Eydon we’re heading straight over the big hill in front of you & it looks even bigger when you’ve walked down this field to the bottom

24. At the bottom of the hill turn right through the gate into the meadow…

…& follow the beautiful stream to the new bridge

25. Cross the bridge & begin the steady climb diagonally left to the gate. There were some very friendly long-horned fella’s in this field

26. Turn right & follow the track up the steep hill…

There was a very friendly bull in the field who came over when I called him & he enjoyed a scratch behind the ear

27. At the top of the hill the track bends right & continues to rise. Take some time to stop & admire the views across to the right…

28. Shortly the track arrives at the junction in the picture below…

Turn left & continue to reach the road

29. Now it’s simply a case of turn right & walk the short distance along the quiet road back into Eydon…

It was here that I got “Hoodie Spotted” & had another great chat with a local. Continue straight into Lime Avenue & the Royal Oak where we parked

So that’s the end of a rather wonderful, peaceful & surprising short walk. It’s one that I’ll definitely return to again as a “get away from it all” walk, but maybe next time spend longer just sitting & taking it all in…& so should you

Go Walk!