Skip to content

Saturday Morning Bunkers Hill / Sturdy’s Castle

The route does not actually go through Bunkers Hill or Sturdy’s Castle but passes close enough to define it. One field in particular can get very heavy or “claggy” underfoot in Winter, whilst in Summer, nettles or “stingers” can bring a tear to one’s eye. Approximately six miles.

Assuming a start in Woodstock, head out along Shipton Road, past the Marlborough secondary school and the open-air swimming pool. The pool was funded by public subscription in the 1970s, but insufficient money was raised to roof it and the district council have never felt minded to complete the project. It is only open in the Summer. Where the road turns sharp right, turn left up Sansoms Lane along the footpath until the Banbury Road is reached. Without crossing the road, turn right through a gate and across the fields, to the main A4260, which runs between Banbury and Kidlington. Take care crossing the road, because the traffic can be fast moving. The footpath runs straight across the field to a gap in the hedge on the opposite side. Conditions in Winter can be so unpleasant underfoot that you may prefer to trek around the field boundary. The footpath is now enclosed within the hedge and in Summer can become so overgrown that it is easier to turn left into the adjacent field and follow the hedge, returning to the footpath at its end. Exiting the hedge north of Bunkers Hill, turn left along the A4095 for about a hundred yards until the crossroads. Go straight over and down the hill following the road, past Lower Whitehill Farm. Then keep left, past Field Barn on the left and the remote telephone exchange in a hut on the right. Soon after, turn left through a hedge on the Oxfordshire Way, which follows the route of the old Roman Akeman Street. There is a long straight drag up a hill that eventually flattens out and then meets the minor road to Tackley. Turn left for a short distance to the main A4260. The Study’s Castle Inn can be seen across the road on the left. Estimated at 400 years old, the original coaching inn has been much extended. Cross the main road and continue through another hole in the hedge. The path is a favourite with rabbits, who dig their borrows to trap the feet of unwary runners. There is soon a crossing of footpaths, go straight across and through a gate to an open field. At the bottom of the field, there is another gate, go through and turn left on to the Dornford/Green Lane, a common route for the Harriers. The path is also part of Sustrans cycle route 5. Cross the B4027, which is the road to Wootton from Bletchington, and was originally a coaching road to Stratford-on-Avon. Past the sewage works, hopefully no overflows, the cemetery and Owen Mumford’s factory, back to Woodstock.