Flooded fields by Bow Bridge, Waterstock
After a foggy start, we met up with Merv and Pud to continue our progress along the Oxfordshire Way. The route led initially along a muddy track and then followed a large, damp, open field which skirted the edge of Bernwood Forest, the southern section of which rejoices in the name Polecat End.
We then followed a lane from Park House farm across the the M40, past Baker's Farm and down into Waterperry. The route skirts the village - thus missing the church of St Mary - and the famous Gardens, to pass quite close to Waterperry House. The house is 18th century, but it was mostly remodelled in about 1820. The Venetian window makes an attractive centrepiece.
The next field was extremely wet and muddy and the prospect of the one beyond looked even worse, but we found our way onto a parallel track which passed a delightful thatched cottage ...
... and brought us down to Bow Bridge, over the River Thame. The river had burst its banks in all directions (see the photo at the head of this post) and the water was still remarkably high under the arch of the bridge.
We passed the attractive old Mill and soon found ourselves in Waterstock, passing St Leonard's church. The tower dates from the late 15th century, but most of the rest is the result of a sensitive restoration by GE Street in 1858.
Nearby Waterstock House is now a training centre, but we enjoyed the unusually shaped gothic garden house of 1898 (the year being marked on the leadwork above the down pipes).
We now walked across a golf course to reach and cross the busy A418. Faced with a choice with walking round the edges of a muddy field or following the line of a former railway, we decided to spare ourselves and take the latter.
This brought us into Tiddington from where we followed a pot-holed lane to the edge of the hamlet of Albury where we had parked.
Conditions: bright and sunny, feeling quite warm.
Distance: 6.5 miles. Distance now covered 47.5 miles.
Maps: Explorer 180 (Oxford, Witney and Woodstock).
Rating: three stars.
The first snowdrops! And even a few crocuses. How wonderful!