Hanborough to Charlbury walk

Blenheim Palace, its beautiful landscaped parkland, a Roman road, and flint stone villages.

History

This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date Post # Weather
Sat, 09-Apr-22 Saturday Walk Charlbury to Hanborough - Cornbury Park, Finstock, Fawler, Stonesfield, the Oxfordshire Way, River Evenlode, Woodstock and Blenheim Palace 14
Sat, 17-Apr-21 Saturday Walk - Book 1 Walk - Hanborough to Charlbury (A Cotswold Classic) 7 sunny and warm
Sat, 12-Jan-19 Saturday Walk - A Cotswolds Classic: Hanborough to Charlbury 6 dry but overcast
Wed, 09-Aug-17 Wednesday Walk - A Book 1 Oxfordshire Classic in reverse: Charlbury to Hanborough 2 steady stream of persistent rain
Sat, 25-Mar-17 Saturday Walk - The Cotswolds: Hanborough to Charlbury 19 sunny with a cool
Sat, 25-Jun-16 Saturday Third Walk: Book 1 Walk 38 Hanborough to Charlbury 12 sunshine and heavy showers
Sat, 13-Jun-15 Saturday First Walk – Blenheim Palace and the River Evenlode 4
Sun, 19-May-13 Hanborough to Charlbury 4
Sun, 08-Jul-12 Hanborough to Charlbury
Tue, 05-Jun-12 Hanborough to Charlbury
Sun, 18-Sep-11 Hanborough to Charlbury
Sat, 16-Oct-10 Hanborough to Charlbury
Sun, 30-May-10 Hanborough to Charlbury
Sat, 19-Sep-09 Hanborough to Charlbury
Sun, 03-May-09 Hanborough to Charlbury
Sat, 19-Jul-08 Hanborough to Charlbury
Sun, 14-Oct-07 Hanborough to Charlbury
Sat, 22-Sep-07 Hanborough to Charlbury
Sun, 22-Oct-06 Hanborough to Charlbury
Sat, 09-Apr-22
Saturday Walk Charlbury to Hanborough - Cornbury Park, Finstock, Fawler, Stonesfield, the Oxfordshire Way, River Evenlode, Woodstock and Blenheim Palace
Book 1 Walk 38 (R) - Charlbury to Hanborough

Length: 20-5 km (12.7 miles)
Toughness: 6 out of 10
London Paddington: 09-50 hrs Great Western service to Hereford Slough: 10-05 hrs Reading: 10-19 hrs
Arrive Charlbury: 11-01 hrs
Ealing Broadwayers
Ealing Broadway: 09-35 hrs Great Western service from Paddington to Didcot Parkway
Arrive Slough: 09-54 hrs Change trains
Leave Slough: 10-05 hrs Great Western service to Hereford (as above)
Arrive Charlbury: 11-01 hrs
Return
Hanborough to Paddington: 16-19, 17-19, 18-21 and 19-19 hrs
Rail ticket: buy a day return to Charlbury
Today's walk works well in either direction - hence the Walk Directions are written both ways. The advantage of doing the walk "backwards", starting in Charlbury, is we bring into play a lunch pub, for those who like a pub meal en route. Unfortunately, the one pub in the village of Stonesfield - The White Horse - on the main route, closed in 2020 and remains closed as of March 2022.
Leaving the pretty Oxfordshire village of Charlbury you walk through Cornbury Park and head for the village of Finstock, which you walk through to find at its far end your lunch pub, The Plough Inn. Booking ahead is advisable tel: 01993-868333. Your e.t.a is 12-30 pm.
After lunch you head for the village of Fawler, crossing along the way the River Evenlode (which you will come upon three more times on today's walk). On then to the village of Stonesfield, then a long, straight stretch of the Oxfordshire Way to enter the extensive grounds of Royal Woodstock. You now walk through this park and up to the Column of Victory. Ahead of you is Blenheim Palace and the impressive Great Bridge and the Lake. You walk above and alongside the Lake and head for Combe Gate to exit the Blenheim Estate. Over fields and down a minor road takes you back to the River Evenlode. Up a grassy hill directly ahead of you and you enter the village of Hanborough. There are two pubs in this village for walk-end refreshments. Hanborough Railway station is a little further down the road.
T=1.38
Walk Directions are here: L=1.38
  • 10-Apr-22

    11 of us were at Charlbury Station, and 3 walked in the proper direction from Hanborough, so 14 . Three had lunch at Finstock after a few miles. I was intending to go to the pub however inadvertantly missed the path to the village just after the Cornbury Estate due to excessive conversing with another walker. I did not have a map, and cxould not get my Mapsme to work, and could not read my back to front instructions (is there an app that can reverse the directions, however I have just read, belatedly, that the walk directions are written both ways).

    The weather was sunny to overcast, a bit chilly at times. The earth was very hard, and the paths are generally long stretches, rather than forever varying.

    I found some food in the store at Stonesfield. The pub there has been tragically closed for a while. Seeing a report from a year ago, the pub has been bought and it seemed as though there might be people living there, could not be certain. For quite a big village with no pub to go to is a tradegy as far as I am concerned, and for us walkers also as it is about half way through the walk. I would have thought that any changes need planning permission for it not be to be a pub! I note the locals put enough money to have have bought it, however seemed to have been outbid.

    Three of us picnicked by the river Everlode, and others did elsewhere in the shade.

    We walked on in varying groups meeting or not along the way. We bumped into the three going the proper way after Stonesfield. The Palace was palace-like to look at with grand bridge and lakes. Some went to look more closely.

    Three of us had a pint and a half of 'DNA' from the Charles Wells pub, the George and Dragon, at Long Hanborough, which is a lovely pub, and then it was 10 mins to the station. An uneventful journey home on the 17.19, rather than the eventful journey there where the carriage was packed with Sunderland fans travelling to Oxford (result 1-2). The 09.50 train was packed with many many people standing, beware.

Sat, 17-Apr-21
Saturday Walk - Book 1 Walk - Hanborough to Charlbury (A Cotswold Classic)
COVID 19
Track-and-Trace: please provide email address or mobile phone number at the start
Rule of Six: from start to finish please, and up to May 16
Length: 22.1 km (13.7 mi) or 18.5 km (11.5 mi).
Ascent/Descent: 337/327m; Net Walking Time: ca. 5–5 ½ hours
Toughness: 5 out of 10
Take the 09.50 Hereford train from Paddington (Slough 10.04, Reading 10.19, Oxford 10.45), arrives Hanborough 10.54. From Ealing B’way take the 09.21 to Reading and change at Slough (09.44/10.04).
Return trains: xx.12 (72 minutes journey time). Buy a Charlbury return.

Classic Cotswold Scenery: The River Evenlode; soft, easy hills and fertile countryside; Blenheim Palace and its Great Park; Akeman Street (the Old Roman Road from Alchester to Cirencester); some open farmland; delightful stone villages & Lord Rotherwick’s deer park, Cornbury Park.

For a shorter walk: stay on the Oxfordshire Way as described at point 49 in the directions (Grid Reference SP 375 179), first along field boundaries, then lanes, into and through Charlbury to the station: 18.5 km/11.5 mi, or take a more direct route into Stonesfield (obvious from the map).

Lunch: Picnic, as The White Horse in Stonesfield (12.8 km/8.0 mi) is currently closed after a failed community buyout and the The Plough Inn in Finstock (17.5 km/10.9 mi) is fully booked.
Tea: The Bell Inn is closed, but there are The Bull Inn & The Rose & Crown in Charlbury.
For walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. t=1.38
  • 16-Apr-21

    Has anyone booked a pub in Charlbury at the end of the walK?

  • 16-Apr-21

    Was going to join but it looks like the 9:50 train out is sold out. Packed with walkers I guess!

  • 16-Apr-21

    It looks like I could still buy a super off-peak ticket. Can one buy a super-off-peak then take a train that's listed as sold out?

  • 16-Apr-21

    ...just when you thought you had seen everything...

    I have no idea whether GWR will let you book tickets at the machine in P'ton in the morning, but that seems unlikely/illogical if that train is supposedly 'full'.

    Chiltern though are running the 09.20 from Marylebone to Oxford, connecting to the posted train from Paddington, which beyond Oxford most certainly won't be full, however they define 'full'...

  • 17-Apr-21

    Following earlier comments, I did indeed travel on the earlier train from Marylebone to avoid potential ticket problems at Paddington, but was the only one doing so. The others reported no problems buying a ticket for the journey at the machines in P'ton, getting onto the train (ok, it departed from Platform 1 which has no ticket gates) and no inspection on the train itself. At Oxford, plenty of folk got off, showing that indeed it was probably 'full' by Covid standards, but hardly anyone on, so - as expected - the train then was not 'full' by anyone's definition of the word. What GWR are trying to achieve by signalling online that one can't get onto a certain train (not even via Marylebone as I did - even that ticket variant wasn't bookable online, but then doing nothing to enforce it at Paddington, is anyone's guess.

    As for the walk: beautiful as always, no mud, plenty of signs of spring, some very new lambs, a hare in a field, bright sunshine, pleasant company (many of whom had not done this walk before). We picnicked on that grassy slope by the River Evenlode just before Stonesfield, stopped at The Plough Inn in Finstock for a drink in the garden (knowing that would cost us the 16.12 train) and then had plenty of time for a second stop in Charlbury at the Rose & Crown. 17.12 train back.

    sunny and warm 7

    [Plus 2 others, walking this independently at the same time, in about the same time.]

Sat, 12-Jan-19
Saturday Walk - A Cotswolds Classic: Hanborough to Charlbury
DAC is away...
Length: 22.1 km (13.7 mi) or 18.5 km (11.5 mi).
Ascent/Descent: 297/287m; Net Walking Time: ca. 5 – 5 ½ hours
Toughness: 5 out of 10
Worried about the daylight? Sunset out there is at 16.20, giving sufficient light to about 17.00 hours, and the last 20 minutes are on tarmac estate lanes and public road, you do the math…
Take the 09.22 Worcester Foregate Street train from Paddington (Slough 09.38, Reading 09.53, Oxford 10.23), arrives Hanborough 10.32. The train is likely to be busy with tourists to Slough, maybe even to Oxford, so be quick to board. From Ealing B’way take the 09.05 to Didcot Parkway and change at Slough (09.27/09.38).
Return trains: 16.07, 17.04, 18.04, 19.07…. (from 79 minutes journey time). Buy a Charlbury return.
The River Evenlode; soft, easy hills and fertile countryside; Blenheim Palace and its Great Park; Akeman Street (the Old Roman Road from Alchester to Cirencester); some open farmland; delightful stone villages & Lord Rotherwick’s deer park, Cornbury Park.

For a shorter walk: stay on the Oxfordshire Way as described at point 49 in the directions (Grid Reference SP 375 179), first along field boundaries, then lanes, into and through Charlbury to the station: 18.5 km/11.5 mi, or take a more direct route into Stonesfield (obvious from the map).
Lunch: The White Horse in Stonesfield (12.8 km/8.0 mi, food to 15.00) or the The Plough Inn in Finstock (17.5 km/10.9 mi, open all day, food to 14.00).
For walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. t=1.38
  • 13-Jan-19

    6 off a not very busy train (January must indeed be downtime for tourists) in drizzle initially. After 20 minutes or so the waterproofs could be stowed away though, and the rest of the day stayed dry but overcast , even getting a little brighter towards the end of the walk.

    The morning is relatively featureless apart from Blenheim Park and the various meetings of the Evenlode River, with the remainder being mainly field boundaries and country lanes, but - with virtually no mud - even those were pleasant enough. The soil out there is of a brownish/reddish/orange tone, so the ploughed fieldscapes looked quite attractive in fact. 4 had food at The White Horse, with the quality being good, but again the front-of-house gave the distinct impression of not quite knowing how to run a pub. Charming, all in, though.

    The afternoon has a more continuously pretty landscape, and we breezed along, despite a stiff breeze in our face. We saw a pigeon falling out of the sky right next to us, dead, apparently having been attacked by a wake of kites (8 of them riding on the one updrift), a large herd of deer in Lord Rotherwick's Cornbury Park, the Lord himself being helicoptered in as we passed (or maybe it was just the kids being dropped off from boarding school?) and some magnificently woolly brown sheep.

    In Charlbury we were greeted by more than a handful of EU flags on houses and some EU buntings as well, with no Union Jacks in sight. A Remainer's enclave in deep Oxfordshire?

    At the church we could turn left for the 16.07, or right for the pubs. We turned left.

    At Oxford then, an apparition: a SWC regular got on, returning to The Smoke after a day of organ tuition at a College.

    We then got delayed due to a trespasser (or maybe a signalling problem, as a later announcement suggested), but were still back at P'ton at 1/4 to 6.

Wed, 09-Aug-17
Wednesday Walk - A Book 1 Oxfordshire Classic in reverse: Charlbury to Hanborough
Length: 22.0 km (13.7 mi)
Ascent/Descent: approx. 300m; Net Walking Time: 5 hours
Toughness: 5 out of 10
Take the 10.22 Hereford train from Paddington (10.36 Slough, 10.52 Reading), arrives Charlbury 11.37.
Return trains are on xx.22. Buy a Charlbury return.
Why walk it in reverse? The pub in Stonesfield proved a bit disappointing the last time around, so let’s try out the one in Finstock, which got good reviews from the group that went there for an afternoon break…
The River Evenlode and its soft, easy hills and fertile countryside; Lord Rotherwick’s deer park, Cornbury Park; the delightful stone villages of Charlbury, Finstock and Stonesfield; Akeman Street, the Old Roman road from Alchester to Cirencester and the extensive grounds of Blenheim Palace.
Lunch: The Plough Inn in Finstock (4.6 km/2.9 mi, food to 14.30) or the White Horse in Stonesfield (9.1 km/5.6 mi, food to 14.00).
Tea: Cafés at Blenheim Palace (ticketed entry), or The George & Dragon and The Three Horseshoes in Long Hanborough, about 10 minutes from the station.
For summary, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here.
T=1.38
Next Week: Margate to Ramsgate (via Broadstairs Folk Festival)
  • Marion
    06-Aug-17

    Ealing broadway residents take the 10.05 and change at Slough.

  • 10-Aug-17

    Given the woeful Wednesday weather forecast (third in a row!), just 2 resilient regulars on this picturesque ramble through the Cotswold. Initially, the forecast seemed to unfold as promised as we encountered a steady stream of persistent rain en route from Charlbury to Finstock during which we interestingly observed the ongoing dismantling of the Wilderness Festival at the Cornbury Estate. We soon arrived at the early lunch pub and practically had the charming Plough Inn to ourselves and so enjoyed our main courses we opted to stay and have a second "chocolate course" which did not disappoint either....During lunch there were some tantalizing periods of dryness outside -- and, amazingly, when we set off for the bulk of the walk to Hanborough conditions were largely dry with atmospheric dark clouds and some blue skies . The route in this direction is very scenic with lots of great vistas. Definitely recommended....We paused in Long Hanborough for a quick half before catching the 18:44.....back into rainy London...

Sat, 25-Mar-17
Saturday Walk - The Cotswolds: Hanborough to Charlbury
Length: 22.0 km (13.7 mi) [shorter walk possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 286/277m; Net Walking Time: 5 ½ hours
Toughness: 5/10
Take the 09.15 Worcester Foregate Street train from Paddington (09.33 Slough, 09.54 Reading), arrives Hanborough 10.34. From Ealing: 08.58 Oxford train, change at Slough.
Return trains from Charlbury are hourly on xx.02/xx.03, from 89 mins journey time. Buy a Charlbury Return.
The River Evenlode; soft, easy hills and fertile countryside; Blenheim Palace and its Great Park; Akeman Street (the Old Roman Road from Alchester to Cirencester); some open farmland; delightful stone villages & Lord Rotherwick’s deer park, Cornbury Park.

For a shorter walk: stay on the Oxfordshire Way as described at point 49 in the directions (Grid Reference SP 375 179), first along field boundaries, then lanes, into and through Charlbury to the station: 18.5 km/11.5 mi.
Lunch: The White Horse in Stonesfield (12.8 km/8.0 mi, food to 14.00).
Tea: The Bell Hotel and Four Pubs in Charlbury.
Summary, map, height profile, walk directions, photos, a video and gpx/kml files here. T=1.38
  • 13-Mar-17

    Now I might do the Walk on Saturday. But I can't Guarantee I will. I have been to the Cotswold before. But only Boulton on the Water. But it wasn't a Walk on the day I went.

  • 24-Mar-17

    The Plough Inn at Finstock looks to be worth a visit during the afternoon - a traditional 18C thatched village inn, with 1 regular beer and 2 changing beers, open all day. In Charlbury it seems there are only 3 pubs - the Old Three Horseshoes (formerly the Farmers), the Bull Inn, and the Rose & Crown with "one of the best beer selections in the area with eight handpumped ales plus six traditional ciders and perry".

  • Karen
    25-Mar-17

    19 sunny with a cool =breeze

    19 off the train from Paddington. Who knows how many were left behind in London? Queues of people waiting to board at each door of the 3-carriage train meaning a bit of a crush to get on. Fortunately a good number of people alighted from the train to enjoy a day out in Slough, so things were slightly more comfortable from that point onwards.

    A lovely sunny morning walking through gently rolling countryside. Pretty hamlets with plenty of daffodils making it feel like a true spring morning. The pre-lunch highlights were walking through the grounds of Blenheim Palace and later the sight of a rape oil seed field beginning to turn yellow. Spring has arrived!

    The group spread out and split up over the course of the morning, with one sub-group taking what they described as a detour (shortcut?) that meant they were the first to arrive at the lunch pub. About 15 people dined there. An aesthetically pleasing interior and nice garden, but the food was a little underwhelming.

    This walker and 3 like-minded individuals felt compelled to check out The Plough Inn at Finstock, a teeny bit off route. A pleasant hostelry, with what looked like a decent food menu and a friendly landlord. After a swift half, got back en route and enjoyed the pleasant last hour to Charlbury. More easy hills and nice views and a huge herd of deer in Cornbury Park.

    The group arrived in Charlbury in dribs and dabs, with some taking tea at The Bell Hotel ( an 'inn' probably a better description than 'hotel'), some at CAMRA-approved Rose and Crown, some had a wander around the village, and some took the first train available. A few on earlier trains, with the majority of the group on the 18:02 train back to London after taking it easy in Charlbury. A very nice day out in good company, as always.

  • Anonymous
    26-Mar-17

    A subgroup of 7 did the 'detour' before lunch - about 6 miles making the walk more balanced for those seeking a short cut. As the official short cut at #49 makes the afternoon very short but the morning very long (8miles). It is wort hnoting this for future outing of this walk.

Sat, 25-Jun-16
Saturday Third Walk: Book 1 Walk 38 Hanborough to Charlbury
T=1.38 Book 1 Walk 38: Hanborough to Charlbury – Blenheim Palace; the Evenlode River and Cornbury Park

Length: 12.7 miles (20.5 kilometers for those metrically inclined)
Difficulty: 6 out of 10
Train: Take the 9:21 Great Western Worcester train from London Paddington to Hanborough, arriving at 10:34. Return trains from Charlbury are hourly at 17:03; 18:02; 19:03; 20:03; 21:07. Buy a day return to Charlbury.
This walk makes a peaceful stroll through the Cotswold, passing through the impressive grounds of Blenheim Palace en route. It then passes along the River Evenlode near some old slate quarries and through a few typically Cotswold stone villages before arriving in Charlbury. More information and the instructions for the walk can be found here.
The lunch stop is at the White Horse in Stonesfield (tel 01993-891063). It serves food until 2:00 – a booking has been made for 1:00. In Charlbury, tea can be had at the Bell Hotel. Alternatively, for those seeking something stronger, there are apparently 4 pubs in Charlbury (3 on Sheep street and 1 on Market Street) – perhaps some research is required......

Enjoy the walk!
  • 26-Jun-16

    12 on this walk on a day of sunshine and heavy showers Actually we were not doing badly on the showers for most of the walk, with just one as we approached lunch. But then near the end of the walk, where we had a proper drenching: a good test for the waterproofs!

    This turned out to be a lovely walk at this time of year. There was lush grass everywhere and lots of flowers (in particular pretty blue meadow cranesbill that one doesn't see much in the south east proper). There were ringlet and marbled white butterflies. The sun and dark clouds made for some wonderful lighting effects and when the sun was shining it felt steamy hot. Even an afternoon section (just before the downpour) where we walked for about a kilometre up a valley through chest high grass and other vegetation was rather entrancing - like exploring in some remote part of Africa. The directions had their problems. We should have taken notes and made some changes really, but I am afraid this idea occurred to us too late...

    It was of course nice to see Blenheim Palace and walk up its processional way to the monument. The lunch pub was very friendly and had a nice garden, though due to the threat of showers we sat inside. The publican was friendly but his pub was totally empty apart from us, so one wonders how long it will stay open. We had a long and interesting debate over lunch about certain events dominating the news.

    Close to Charlbury it sounded like a rock concert was in progress. This turned out to be a beer festival in a field by the station - apparently an annual event. Some popped into this for tea while waiting for the train: Four of us went fordrinks in one of the very busy pubs in the village and then spent an hour at the festival before getting the 8.02 train.

    All in all a great day out and a bit different from the normal SWC walk.

Sat, 13-Jun-15
Saturday First Walk – Blenheim Palace and the River Evenlode
Book 1 Walk 38 : Hanborough to Charlbury
20.5km (12.7 miles) or 16K or 12K if you take one of the shortcut options
6 out of 10
Explorer 180 or Landranger 164

Take the 09.21 from Paddington Station to Hanborough arriving at 10.34.

Trains back from Charlbury are hourly, leaving a few minutes past the hour.
Journey time about 90 minutes.
Buy a day return to Charlbury.

You can cut something like 4 Km off of the walk but staying on the Oxfordshire Way - point 50 on the directions
or catch a bus from Stonesfield, the S3, (which saves about 8km of walking) that go at 9 minutes past the hour apparently as it says so here http://www.stagecoachbus.com/pdfs/XOAS003.pdf

The River Evenlode and its soft, easy hills and fertile countryside inspired Tolkien’s Hobbit Shire. At lunchtime you could take a dip in the river (if you are slightly barking or if you really very very hard) and picnic in the meadow by the Stonesfield Ford and the old slate quarries.

Before lunch, there are the 2,100 acres of the Great Park leading to Blenheim Palace, its lake and the Column of Victory that the first Duke of Marlborough had placed on the horizon so that he could see it from his bedroom. Once over the wall out of the Park, the route is along Akeman Street, the Old Roman road from Alchester to Cirencester, with big stone slabs from the old road still visible in places. This is now part of the Oxfordshire Way and the leg of over a mile to Stonesfield is through open farmland
The walk through the Park is on public footpaths or permissive paths and there are no admission charges if you keep to the walks directions. For further information, and for information on what’s on, phone 08700-602080.

Lunch
The only pub in Stonesfield is the excellent White Horse ( 01993 891063 http://www.whitehorsestonesfield.co.uk/ ). Best give them a call to let them know that you are coming for lunch and you should get here after around 3 hours walking.

Tea
Plenty of options in Charlbury but all pubs rather than tea rooms.


More directions here
https://www.walkingclub.org.uk/book_1/walk_38/index.shtml
  • 08-Jun-15

    the Bell in Charlbury does excellent teas and coffees and when I was there midweek earlier this month there were cakes.

  • 10-Jun-15

    The pub has a "hen party" at 1.30 so the place should be avoided. Fortunately, this walk has one of the best picnic spots going so pick up those sarnies on the way through Paddington and enjoy lunch by the river. Also there is a local shop in the village.

  • 11-Jun-15

    Why avoid it? Could be fun!

  • 17-Jun-15

    I'm told 4 . Slow progress through Blenheim Park because of a triathlon event. Would be nice to have a first-hand report...