Watlington Hill and the Wormsley Estate circular walk
Start: Cowleaze Wood car park
Finish: Cowleaze Wood car park
Length: 13.4 km / 8.4 miles
Weather: Bright and sunny.
This walk takes you around Cowleaze Wood, the Wormsley Estate, Watlington Hill and Pyrton Hill. I completed it on the same day as the EURO 20 (in 2021) football final. I started early-ish to avoid any traffic when traveling back home.
I walked from the car park, through Cowleaze Wood and went through this gate.
Once out of the wood there is a fine view across the Wormsley Estate.
At the bottom of the hill I turned left, walked along a lane and then turned right through this gate. The public footpath takes you past Lower Vicars Farm, which is on your left.
At a crossroads of paths I turned right and followed the white arrows. Along this path I chatted to a man from the Chiltern Society who was repainitng the white arrows along this section.
Wormsley Park is the former home of the philanthropist Sir Paul Getty who moved to Wormsley in 1986. It is now the home of Mark Getty and his family, and the site of the cricket field known as Sir Paul Getty's Ground.
The hedgrows were alive with butterflies and wild flowers.
A right turn took me through a field of sheep, following The Chiltern Way. This photo is looking back from where I'd come from.
Unfortunately my walk didn't take me any closer to this field of poppies and cornflowers.
At the other side of the field I crossed a small estate lane, and joined a path into another field.
I have passed this several times on various walks but never found any info on it.
I followed the path through Blackmoor Wood.
At the other side of the wood I found this concrete block that I used as a seat to eat my lunch. Not the best spot. But sadly one thing I have discovered is that there are few benches in this part of the Chilterns.
At this junction, in Chritmas Common, I turned right and walked down Hill Road.
After a short distance of lane walking I was relieved to go through the car park and onto Watlington Hill.
The Marbled White butterfly is unmistakable, its black and white markings distinguish it from all other species found in the British Isles.
In 1764, the local squire Edward Horne gave Watlington a most unusual talking point. He felt that the Norman parish church of St. Leonard, when viewed from his home, would be more impressive if it had a spire. To create the illusion, he designed the 270 foot steeple-shaped Watlington White Mark, which he had cut into the chalk escarpment of Watlington Hill, perfectly placed to complete his view. Watlington can be seen in the distance.
At the bottom of Watlington Hill I followed the Ridgeway NT for a short while.
I then turned right and followed this lane, which is also part of the Oxfordshire Way.
I went through this gate at the bottom of Pyrton Hill.
The path follows the edge of Shirburn Wood.
I went up the side of Shirburn Hill on a broad path, through a lovely area of chalk grassland with lots of wild flowers and butterflies.
Looking back from the top of the Chiltern escarpment, over Oxfordshire.
Beyond this gate is a field that I crossed. In a short while it brings you out on the lane near to Cowleaze Wood car park.