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Walk - Steeple Aston - Rousham - Heyfords - 5.6 miles

Walk Background

Steeple Aston is an ancient settlement with roots going back to Roman times, maybe earlier. Today, with a population of around 1,000.

There may have been people living in this area as long ago as the Iron Age. We certainly know that there was a lot of activity here in Roman times, as a Roman pavement and other remains have been discovered. When the Romans left, the Saxons took their place. Inevitably, little is known about this early history, but both Steeple and Middle Aston are mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.

It is thought that there was a church here before that date, but the first record of a Rector of Steeple Aston dates from 1180. There is a 13th century stone coffin lid in the churchyard. The church’s font is thought to be of Norman origin, and the rest of the church we see today was added over several hundred years. The tower, for example was built at the end of the 14th century, probably replacing an earlier one.

In 1640, the village school was founded by Dr Samuel Radcliffe, the Rector of Steeple Aston and Principal of Brasenose College, Oxford. In Northside, you can see the original school, which is now a private house. Next door are the Old School House built for the schoolmaster, and two almshouses which Dr Radcliffe also funded.

The village has benefited from its close contacts with Oxford and the university in particular. Several interesting characters have lived here, including famous academics and military men. Among the most notorious was Sir Francis Page, known as "the hanging judge", who was the owner of Middle Aston Estate. In 1730 he commissioned a grand memorial to himself and his wife, which can still be seen in the village church.

The village grew and thrived over the centuries. In 1831 the population was 562, by the time of the 1991 census the total had risen to 874. As transport improved, even more people wanted to come and live here, and more houses were built during the 20th century. Many newcomers arrived in the village, including the novelist and philosopher, Dame Iris Murdoch, who lived with her husband Professor John Bayley at Cedar Lodge in Northside for 30 years.

Other newcomers included, for a while, Americans from the US Air Force base at Upper Heyford. The base is now closed, the F111s have gone home, and the skies above Steeple Aston are much quieter as a result. This has made the village an even more desirable place to live in the 21st century.

 

Start Point

We meet in the village hall car park on Fir Lane, which is past the church and opposite the main part of the primary school. There should be plenty of spaces, but please try and car share as much as possible and park responsibly.

The area is better shown in the place link above.

We start the walk at 10AM sharp. (Please ensure your at the start point at least 10 mins beforehand).

Walking grading: Moderate (slight slope at a few sections)

Dog friendliness: unknown, there is a bit of road walking near the Heyfords.

Estimated walk end time: 1.15 - 1.30 PM

 

Lunch

For lunch afterwards, we will be trying the Red Lion in the village, which is about 5 minutes walk away from the village hall car park, or can be driven to, but has very limited parking.

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.

 

Car Shares

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.

There's some comprehensive notes on Car Shares on our message board.

 

Donations

We would welcome a donation of around £1 towards ongoing overhead costs associated with the Meetup service and ancillary costs. We would be grateful if this was done before the start of the walk.

For new members or walkers, please read the Walkers Guide thread in the forum.

 

Contact Number

My mobile number is [masked] for notification of delay or cancellation, or help with directions if lost.

Join or login to comment.

  • Derek

    Lovely walk with good variety of terrain and interest with big cuteness factor at the end. Thanks Beth.

    July 23, 2013

  • Lynda

    Many thanks Beth for a great walk. Have to return to see the alpaca's later this week with my daughter after Terry showed her the pictures !

    July 22, 2013

  • Ora

    This was a delightful walk, with great varieties including crossing the river on a plunk of wood, eating ice cream at Kizzies (thank you, Terry!). The company was great. The weather perfect! Thank you, Beth.

    July 22, 2013

  • Raúl C.

    Thanks Beth, it was a really lovely walk.

    July 22, 2013

  • Terry R.

    Thanks Beth,a really enjoyable walk,with a good group of people.Plenty of interesting things to see,Steeple Aston village was beautiful,various views of Rousham,the folly in the field,the canal and boats,stopping for ice cream,and the river crossing on the fallen tree,a great adventure......and of course,plenty of opportunity to photograph,the various meat ingredients for lunch,including alpaca!!

    July 21, 2013

  • Russell

    Thanks Beth for get organisation and a helping hand at the tree

    I really enjoyed the whole day and enjoyed meeting some great people!

    July 21, 2013

  • Shuk

    Really enjoyed today's walk. As well as great weather and company we had hills, canals, cows, crossing the canal along a fallen tree and even alpaca!

    July 21, 2013

  • Beth E.

    Really enjoyed leading the walk today and glad everyone made it safely across the now bridge-less stream using the rather handy tree trunk. Apologies for uploading so many photos, but there were some from my reccy walk yesterday that I thought suitable for viewing :o)

    July 21, 2013

  • Peter L.

    thanks for organisng Beth and to all for all the chats along the way

    July 21, 2013

  • Peter L.

    this was a very good walk lots of variation somee excitement with the tree crossing alround good day

    July 21, 2013

  • Mark T.

    Sorry - not feeling well this morning. Pity, was looking forward to this walk :-(

    July 21, 2013

  • Angela

    Sorry Beth its going to be a late one tonight and have loads to do tomorrow. Ax

    July 20, 2013

  • Raúl C.

    Lunch, and I could use a lift, please.

    July 18, 2013

    • Beth E.

      Peter is offering you a lift, let me know if that is fixed up, otherwise I may be able to pick you up.

      July 20, 2013

    • Raúl C.

      I think it's ok now, Beth, thanks again.

      July 20, 2013

  • Raúl C.

    I know the place, and it is perfect for me. I'll be there, thank you very much.

    July 20, 2013

  • Peter L.

    sorry it is called the original swan

    July 20, 2013

  • Peter L.

    Hi Raul can you wait just beyond the traffic light up the hill from the turning to the library more or less opposite the pub which I think is caled the black swan at about 5 to 10 past 9

    July 20, 2013

  • Peter L.

    Hi Raul I could pick you up if you still need a lift let me know

    July 20, 2013

  • Martin C.

    looking forward to rousham walk on sunday, could offer lift from oxford.

    July 19, 2013

  • Beth E.

    Use the Reply button below to add a comment to say if you would like to stay for lunch

    July 15, 2013

    • Russell

      Would love to have lunch please, this is my second walk with OSW and I will have more energy than last time because not working overnight!

      July 19, 2013

    • Beth E.

      I've booked the pub for 1.30 pm for the 13 people who have asked to stay for lunch. If any of you have changed your mind, please let me know asap. If the weather stays good we will probably be eating outside.

      July 19, 2013

  • Martin C.

    i hope to make the walk and lunch, not sure if possible yet

    July 19, 2013

  • Mark T.

    I hope I'll be able to make it

    July 19, 2013

  • Shuk

    Lunch please

    July 18, 2013

  • Angela

    lunch please

    July 17, 2013

  • Dips

    Lunch please

    July 17, 2013

  • Peter L.

    lunch please will go for something less rich this time

    July 16, 2013

  • Martin

    Can't come along this time - but I did this walk on my own last summer and the stone villages with flowers in full bloom were gorgeous. Don't miss it!

    July 16, 2013

  • Stephen G.

    Lunch please

    July 15, 2013

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