Blenheim Park

The long drive behind the Column of Victory. Hanborough to Charlbury

30-May-10 • moontiger on Flickr

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Not as daft as it looks

Stock (or is it people? ) are controlled using temporary electric fences. The gates stay put. Blenheim Palace. Hanborough to Charlbury

03-May-09 • moontiger on Flickr

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Toblerone topiary, Charlbury

Hanborough to Charlbury

03-May-09 • moontiger on Flickr

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Bleinheim Palace

10-Nov-13 • JonCombe on Flickr

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Blenheim Palace grounds

11-Apr-04 • Peter Conway on Flickr

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Onward route from Blenheim Palace

11-Apr-04 • Peter Conway on Flickr

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Blenheim Palace

11-Apr-04 • Peter Conway on Flickr

swcwalks book1 walk38

Hanborough to Charlbury walk

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


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
Wed, 09-Aug-17 2

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.
Next Week: Margate to Ramsgate (via Broadstairs Folk Festival)
Ealing broadway residents take the 10.05 and change at Slough.
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 19

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
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.
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".
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.
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 12

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!
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 4

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

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.

The only pub in Stonesfield is the excellent White Horse ( 01993 891063 ). 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.

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

More directions here
the Bell in Charlbury does excellent teas and coffees and when I was there midweek earlier this month there were cakes.
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.
Why avoid it? Could be fun!
I'm told 4. Slow progress through Blenheim Park because of a triathlon event. Would be nice to have a first hand report...
Sun, 19-May-13 4 Hanborough to Charlbury
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