Tiddington and Rycote Manor
A lovely circular walk starting from the accessible Tiddington just off the M40 and taking in sections of the Oxfordshire Way. The route crosses the Oxfordshire Golf Club before looping back in a figure of eight via Rycote Manor and its historic chapel.
Distance: 10.63km / 6.6 miles
Total Climb: 114m
Walked: June 2018
10.6 km, 02:44:23
Start from the Fox and Goat pub (http://www.thefoxandgoat.co.uk) on Oxford Road (A418).
Cross the road and take Albury View past the village hall, through the remains of the old railway bridge and a long and up the hill. At School Lane you will meet the Oxfordshire Way. Turn left and take it along the road, and then over the style and in to the field. The route goes through some kissing gates and a short bridge in to another field where it climbs up towards Albury. Here you will find it files in to an overgrown pathway narrow pathway in to the hamlet.
Turn right in to the road past Albury Grange and up to the church.
When you get to the little church you will need to wiggle little around some hedges to find the style that keeps up the Oxfordshire way. You then pass along a narrow pathway to the right of some barns and to the left of the chapel. Suddenly you are into the open air again with some beautiful views across the Thame Valley and you stay with the Oxfordshire Way for another half a kilometre or so until you arrive at Home Farm.
Here is where the loop of the route begins. You a choice of going clockwise or anticlockwise at this point. My own personal preference is to leave the really interesting stuff until last. If you feel the same, then turn left onto the concrete road way and we will do the route clockwise. (Don’t go into the farm!)
After 300m you pick up the Thame Valley Way and turn right onto the old railway line. There doesn’t seem to be a signpost at the turn and the old railway line looks more like a farm track now. After 100m the trackway turns to the right and heads off to some old kennels, don’t go that way, stick with the more overgrown pathway in a straight line eventually going through a gate. Another hundred metres along and you’ll see the Thame Valley Way disappear off down the embankment to the left but you continue straight on.
Turn right once the pathway comes to an end and opens out into a field you should see the sign for the footpath pointing right following the edge of the field. The path heads in a straight line through four fields following the edge, there are some rickety bridges and kissing gates to navigate along the way. You should end up at Rycote Lane (the A329).
NOTE: In order to come out of the final field you need to cross a very rickety and partly Broken bridge, so take care.
Cross the main road which is very busy - you will find the footpath picks up to the left of the main entrance of the golf club.
Take the path that turns to the right and then regions a short section of the Oxfordshire way. When you meet a tarmac path go left (leaving the Oxfordshire Way) and follow it through the golf course past the 18th. Watch out for flying balls and don’t distract the golfers!
Keep one lake to the left hand side and soon on the right you will see the footpath turns to cross the bridge over another. Cross the bridge saying hello to the owl as you pass it.
Once over the bridge cross over tee and then pick up the path which turns to the left following the shore of the lake. At the T-junction take the right towards the Club house.
At the end of that stretch of pathway the public footpath disappears into a hedge (it is signposted). Follow it and then take a right when you get onto the unmetalled country track. Follow this once again towards the clubhouse.
Once at the clubhouse and its confusion of lanes and carparks try to keep a straight line past the golf practise area on the left and pick up a concrete pathway and roadway that climbs a little hillock. That becomes a short stretch of unmade track and when you reach a fork of pathways take the right hand. It’s not particularly clear but keep the golf course to right and crosses the golf clubs overflow car park. You should have picked up the Oxfordshire way again. You will find there is a short style that takes you through a hedge that makes it all obvious again.
Pick up the roadway again at the bottom of the little hill and after a short distance where the road turns the left the footpath resumes up on the other side heading off in a straight line. You’ll get a cracking view at the top of the little hill. Follow the path back down the hill until you reach a point where the Oxfordshire Way takes a left - keep on the Oxfordshire Way so take that left! Cross the access road and then shortly afterwards cross the main road again (don’t forget to take care!)
As soon as you have crossed the road there is a kissing gate in the Hedgerow which takes you into Rycote Wood. Follow the yellow Oxfordshire way signs.
Once through the wood, pick up the Oxfordshire way again going through the gate and on in that nice pleasing straight line. Then it’s through two gates and back into the woods and again follow the yellow signs of the Oxfordshire Way.
Suddenly out of nowhere appears the right Rycote Chapel.
Go through the gate and follow the pathway beside the chapel. Take A breather here for a few minutes. If you’re lucky the chapel might be open.
Directly after that you follow the Oxfordshire Way again and can look across the fence into the old Rycote Manor grounds looking all very prim and proper.
Resume along the Oxfordshire way which does a hard right following the fence (in effect making two sides of a triangle) before going left again to cross a field. It’s well signposted. The other side of the field the path disappears into the hedges again.
Once through the thickit cross the field keeping the hedge to your right. Then into the farmyard, keep the silo to the right after the barns and take the track out to where we began our clockwise loop all that time ago.
Then it’s back the way you came (still on the Oxfordshire Way.
When you get back to Albury you could choose to duck through the churchyard and even cut a corner and follow the road back into Tiddington rather than the Oxfordshire Way (I didn’t have a chance to check what happens once you get to the main road so you are on your own if you go that way). The footpath veers off down the overgrown pathway slightly to the left just after the Grange and then crosses the fields before you get back in to the village… turn right at Albury View and you will soon be back at the pub.