Watlington, OX49 5AD
Standing at the foot of the Chilterns escarpment, close to the Icknield Way, Watlington is one of Oxfordshire’s classic old towns – small and compact, and surrounded by some of the prettiest scenery to be found in the county. During the Civil War, Watlingtonstood in the shadow of battle, with Royalist and Parliamentarian armies engagedin bitter conflict in the nearby fields.
The name of the town dates back to AD 880 when it was known as Watelingtone. Springs, wells and watercress beds add to its character and the chalk used as a building material in the town’s early development comes from pits at the foot of the Chilterns. The people of Watlington were given certain rights – including quarrying their own chalk for building houses. By the late 17th century Nettlebed bricks were in use, and tiles from the same Oxfordshire village began to replace thatch.
It is said that Christmas Common takes its name from a significant day in the Civil War. By Christmas 1643, the Parliamentarians held Watlington, while the Royalists held the ridge on which Christmas Common is located. On Christmas Day itself, a temporary truce was called and both armies supposedly met on this site during the festivities – hence the name. Thus the season of goodwill passed peacefully.
This walk starts in Watlington and climbs up the top of the Chilterns ridge-line via Howe Hill with views over vast stretches of the Oxfordshire countryside and a good chance of seeing Red Kites soaring overhead and a few bluebells in Lower Deans Wood near Christmas Common.
We meet in the main car parking area just off the High Street in Hill Road (confirmed free on Sundays). For those with sat navs, select 2 Hill Road for nearest point to the right car park).
The area is better shown on the location map link above.
We start the walk at 10AM sharp. (Please ensure your at the start point at least 10 mins beforehand).
Walking grading: Moderate (Height gain 100m)
Dog friendliness: good (all stiles easily accessible or have dog gates)
Estimated walk end time: 1:45PM
For lunch afterwards, we will hopefully find somewhere local, but at the moment that is proving difficult to book.
If you would like to go to lunch, please add a comment to the post "Use the Reply button below to add a comment to say if you would like to stay for lunch". Select the reply button, enter your comment and then hit the 'Return' key.
On this occasion lunch will only be booked if there are sufficient numbers wanting lunch.
If we don't see a request we will assume "No" for lunch.
We like to reduce the impact on the areas we visit and its sometimes difficult to find places with adequate parking, so we encourage lift shares with our regular drivers.
If you need a lift, please post below indicating that you'd like a lift and from which general part of Oxford and surrounding villages you would like to get picked up. There is sometimes a better chance of being picked up from one of the Park & Rides as people use the ring road en-route. There are some guidance notes on our message boards here.
Please ask for a lift ASAP even if your on the waiting list when you do so as the list is constantly changing.
We would welcome a donation of around £1 towards ongoing overhead costs associated with the Meetup service and ancillary costs.
My mobile number is [masked] for notification of delay or cancellation, or help with directions if lost.
For new members, please make sure you are prepared with well fitting boots and suitable clothing for weather conditions and are ready for the length of walk involved. Please acquaint yourselves with the Walkers Guide thread in the forum as well as the NO SHOW POLICY.
Refunds are not offered for this Meetup.