Ramsden - Finstock - Cornbury Park - Charlbury - Shorthampton - Chilson - Wychwood Forest - Finstock - Ramsden
Approximately 12 miles; 4 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; go through the open gateway on your left and continue across the field and follow the way-marked footpath which takes a dog-leg route across a cultivated field. At the opposite side of the field follow the marked path through a narrow copse and then continue straight ahead across the field that is ploughed in winter, under crops in summer. On reaching the other side of the field, turn right and continue to the stile in the field corner. Cross the stile and pass downhill over a second stile to reach the road (the Plough - real ale and bar food). (This is the reverse of the last section of Walk No. 4.)
Cross the road and continue straight ahead and then turn right at the next junction. Follow this road uphill through the village of Finstock, passing the village shop and Post Office on your right. At the junction with the B4022, turn right and walk down the road for about 30 yards, keeping a look out on the left for a stile through an archway cut in the hedge (sign-posted to Charlbury). (Take great care crossing this busy road.) Cross the stile and continue straight ahead across what appears to be a private lawn, to a 5-barred gate immediately to the right of a derelict barn.
Continue along the track for about ¼ of a mile. Keep right when you join another track and then, after a few yards and when the fence bears left, you also bear left and continue slightly downhill through the broad avenue of trees towards the buildings (with Cornbury House visible on your left and horse paddocks on your right). Continue down through the trees and you will emerge onto the metalled track. Turn left and cross the bridge over an ornamental lake. (Notice memorial stones to two hunting dogs at either end of parapet of bridge.) At the other end of the bridge, pass through large wooden gate to the right of the cattle grid and, a few yards further on, go through the metal gate.
Your path now leads in a straight line along the eastern boundary of Cornbury Estate deer park. Keep the metal fence always on your left. You will see the facade of Cornbury House through the trees and probably herds of deer.
After about ¾ mile you will reach the North Lodge gatehouse. Pass through the grounds of the gatehouse and take the road over the river Evenlode and the railway. At the main road turn left and follow the road for about ¼ mile to Charlbury church. (There are pubs in the centre of the town.) Go through the cemetery and on to the main road. Turn left down Dyers Hill and follow the road for ½ mile out of the town, over the river Evenlode and over the railway. About 200 yards past the railway bridge turn right at a bridle-way and Oxfordshire Way sign, along a tarmac drive to Walcot Farm. Continue, passing cottages on the right, along the bridle-way.
You will eventually emerge on a small country road; turn right and immediately left (sign-posted to Shorthampton). Continue along this narrow road and, as it swings sharp right, you continue straight ahead along the bridle-way. Continue along this track until you reach the village of Chilson. Turn left taking the road out of the village. On reaching the main road (B4437), turn right and immediately left onto a track passing cottages on your left. The path is well sign-posted and leads uphill to Wychwood Forest. Continue through the forest keeping to the way-marked route.
When you emerge onto the Leafield/Chadlington road, turn left and continue along the road for about ½ mile. Just after passing the entrance to a farmhouse on the left, you take a track on the right (sign-posted 'circular walk'). Continue along this way-marked path which takes you through the forest for the next 1½ miles - along undulating paths and broad rides, through woodland and grassy glades with plenty of fine ancient trees. After crossing the end of a narrow plant-choked lake on the right, turn sharp left, and then right, still following the way-marked route, and head steeply uphill. Continue ahead, at first by the side of woodland on the left, then across fields, and finally between cottages to reach the main road almost opposite Finstock church.
Cross the road and take the track opposite. After the cemetery, turn right through a gate and across to another gate. Now continue straight ahead to the other side of this open piece of ground and then turn left downhill to emerge onto the road. Turn right and continue up the road. After about 200 yards keep a look out for a cottage on the left called 'Yewcroft' (no. 109) and take the signed footpath that runs immediately behind the cottage, crosses a narrow field, and then turns into a wooded track. When you emerge on the road, turn left for the centre of Ramsden.