Ramsden - Wilcote - Topples Wood - Finstock - Ramsden
Approximately 4½ miles; 1½ - 2 hours
From Ramsden War Memorial walk up Wilcote Lane (road running alongside Royal Oak car park, with cul-de-sac sign). After the last cottage on the left, you will come to a No Through Road sign; take the marked footpath leading past a very small plant-choked pond on your right and over a stile. After about 100 yards pass through a squeeze-past and skirt woodland on your right. The path curves right and after about 200 yards bear left around field edge. Follow the path down over a ditch and under telephone wires, keeping the hedge on your right. The path now leads gently uphill through a gap in the hedge with a large oak tree on your right and then bears right towards farm buildings. Shortly after passing the farm buildings on your right, climb the stile and follow the path through a small copse and emerging onto the road.
Turn left and follow the road through the tiny hamlet of Wilcote, passing the little church of St. Peter and Wilcote Grange on your right, and pink-washed Cromwellian manor-house, Wilcote Manor, on your left. Immediately after Wilcote Manor you will reach a crossroads. Turn left here following the sign for Finstock. Note the imposing facade of Wilcote House as you pass along this stretch of road. After passing the gatehouse to Wilcote House, the road bears left and drops fairly steeply. Just after the road begins to climb again, turn right (Hunts Copse) onto the bridle-way towards Topples Wood which you can see in front of you.
This broad woodland bridle-way bears left in a wide arc through the woods. After about ¾ mile it drops steeply and you reach a footpath crossroads. Bear left here (Dark Lane) which leads you between hedges to the centre of the village of Finstock. As you emerge from the lane you will see The Plough before you (real ale and bar food).
Emerging from The Plough, turn left and take the path between the pub and the garages (the path runs to the right of the pub car park). After the second gate, cross it and bear right up hill keeping the hedge on your right. After about 50 yards, turn left. The path continues straight ahead across the field that is ploughed in winter, under crops in summer. On reaching the other side of the field, pass through the gap in the hedge and through a small copse.
Turn left along the edge of the field to the field corner. Go through the gap and immediately right. Keep straight ahead following the way marked route across the field and back to Wilcote Lane and down into Ramsden.