Saturday, 31 August 2013

Woodcote and Checkendon

A shortish walk (six mile) through chalk downs and woods around the villages of Woodcote and Checkendon in Southern Oxfordshire.

The first thing we saw was a village cricket match in progress at Woodcote. Good to see such a traditional summer event in full swing and not yet over.

cricket match

It was then off north on the Chiltern Way path into the woods. The first wood is owned and managed by the Woodland Trust (North Grove). From the edge of the wood was a view north-west to Didcot power station and Wittenham clumps.

view

From the path a patch of red was spotted in the hedgerow, going over to investigate it was suggested it was Guelder Rose with black Elderberries near by. In fact this shrub was not Guelder Rose but another Viburnum the Wayfaring Tree (V. lantana).

wayfaring tree

A lane running along the bottom valley led, appropriately to Bottom Farm, here late summer was evident by the conkers born by a Horse Chestnut tree. This year the ravages of the leaf miner (Cameraria ohridella) moth larvae have been less severe.

horse chestnut,conker

The Chiltern Way gave good views along the valley.

valley view

Back into the woodland and there was a convergence of many public footpaths as you can see from this post indicating some of the many options available. Here we left the Chiltern Way and headed East.

path signs

In the woods by the side of the path was a low growing plant that looked like a balsam. It turned out to be Small Balsam (Impatiens parviflora).

Small Balsam,Impatiens parviflora

In places the afternoon sunlight lit up the woodland.

woodland view

Out again onto a lane and Scot's Farm had a number of attractive farm buildings. This rather decrepit barn had a very old oak (at the stag's head stage) growing next to it.

Scots Farm,barn,oak

Back into another wood and this time there was the unexpected bonus of some modern sculptures dotted around.

sculpture

Another sculpture, or could it be that one of my companion's has the Medusa touch?

horse,Paul Kerswill

The path led to Checkendon church, one of my favourites. It has many historic features. I like the round Romanesque arches (it is 12th century) with the apse behind the chancel. You can see a view of the outside on my previous posting.

Checkendon church

One of the features I missed out on last time, is one of the most modern features, a stained glass window by John Hayward. I don't know of any other which has music actually in the window. Appropriate as the window is dedicated to St. Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians.

Checkendon church,stained glass

The walk back to Woodcote took us through a field of maize (or corn depending) six feet high.

maize,corn

The final section was through the grounds of the Oratory School, where acorns were ripening.

acorn,oak tree

The walk brings my total mileage of just the walks in these posts up to 992.8 miles, so the next one should take me past the fairly impressive thousand mile mark.

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