Walks and countryside
FOOTPATHS AND BRIDLE WAYS IN THE PARISH of Appleton with Eaton
There are ten footpaths and six bridleways in the parish. The paths appear to be well used. In the appraisal survey (of 1996) 18% of the 421 respondents said that they walked a footpath or bridleway daily, 29% weekly and 26% monthly. These rights-of-way also seem to be in goad condition, as 87% of the respondents said that they could usually follow them without much difficulty. 84% said that they would like to see maps of footpaths and bridleways displayed in the parish, but only 26% appear willing to help maintain the paths. That is perhaps not too serious a matter as the paths appear on the whole to be sufficiently used to be kept in good order simply by being walked on. The main exceptions to this are FP1 alongside the Eaton allotments; the southern end of FPI6 in Appleton Upper Common which is often boggy after rain; and parts of BWs 9, 12 and 13 in Appleton Lower Common, which can be difficult to negotiate after bad weather.
If you notice a problem with a footpath or bridleway while you are out walking or riding, please report it to the Countryside Service at Oxfordshire County Council by clicking on this link.
The Upper Appleton Common Woods, which are in our Parish, are open to the public from Good Friday to Easter Monday each year.
There are ten footpaths and six bridleways in the parish, as follows:
FP 1 goes from the ‘Eaton straight’ along the southern side of the allotments to the
Besselsleigh road south of Caps Lodge Cottages. Although signposted it is almost unwalkable and at one time had a chicken run built across its eastern end.
FP 2 runs from the ‘Eaton straight’ slightly south of FP1 and in the opposite direction (i.e. westward) to join FP5 (the Eaton Church path). It is signposted and the surface is good.
FP 3 runs southwards through Long Close meadow from just east of the stile leading out of the churchyard to the parish boundary at the Osse Brook. It crosses Park Lane where there are stile and signposts. The surface is good.
FP 4 goes from the stile leading out of the churchyard east-north-eastwards to the parish boundary at the Osse Brook where it joins Besselsleigh FP1 at a footbridge over the Osse leading into Besselsleigh Woods. The surface is fair.
FP 5 the ‘Eaton church path’ turns off the ‘Eaton straight’ just northeast of Hengrove and runs west and then north past the junction with FP2 to the Bablockhythe road at West Farm. The surface is fair.
FP 6 runs from FP4 southwards across Long Close to join FP3 just north of the stile leading into Park Lane. The surface is good.
FP 7 goes from the point where the ‘Eaton straight’ turns east-southeast towards Caps Lodge Cottages across Mr Farrant’s land to a point on the Cumnor Road just north of, and on the opposite side to ‘Wayside’. The surface is good.
FP8 links up with Fyfield and Tubney FP1, which runs due west from a point in Oaksmere opposite Tubney Manor Farm drive entrance, at the Osse Brook and continues westwards to the Netherton Road through a paddock. The surface is fair.
FP15 is the part of the Thames towpath, which is in the Eaton ‘panhandle’ extending northwards from Bablockhythe to near Lower Whitley Farm. This narrow strip of land has long been coveted by Cumnor, and, indeed, a few years ago when the then landlord of the Ferryman Inn (on the far bank of the Thames) re-opened the ferry crossing, the first boat across was greeted by a delegation of Cumnor parish councillors on Appleton-with-Eaton land! The surface is good.
FP16 runs initially along a concrete drive from the Netherton Road in a southerly direction alongside the Sports field, it then turns east alongside Appleton Upper Common to join Fyfield and Tubney FP18 at the Osse Brook a short distance from the A420. At its southern end it is usually very boggy.
BW9 joins Fyfield and Tubney BWs 8 and 9 and Fyfield and Tubney FP 7 (the one which runs along the west side of Appleton Lower Common Lower just outside our parish boundary) and goes north-eastwards parallel to the Thames to join BWs 12 and 13.
BW10 is the long track which leads from the end of Badswell Lane (in fact Badswell Lane is technically part of it) past the end of BW13 to the Thames a little south¬west of Northmoor Lock. It passes Bad’s Well, an ancient physic well, and was at one time the route for the haulage of coal from the river barges to the village from what is known by the river as the "Appleton Clearing".
BW11 Pigeon (or Doctor’s) Lane runs from near the War Memorial north-west to join BW10 at the end of the made-up part of Badswell Lane.
BW12 runs from the Netherton Road opposite FP8 at Millway Lane past the junction with BW14 through Appleton Lower Common to the junction of BWs 9 and 13 near the Thames. This has a surface of sorts until it enters the Common, from which point it becomes almost a quagmire in wet weather.
BW13 continues BW9 northeast-wards parallel to the Thames past its junction with BW 14 to its junction with BW1O near to the river. Near the junction with BW9 it is usually impassable in wet weather, the rest is satisfactory
BW14 runs along the east side of Appleton Lower Common and because of the houses along the river is usually in a reasonable condition.
Several Fyfield and Tubney paths (in addition to those mentioned under BW9 above) link up with Appleton paths, especially those on the land of Tubney Manor Farm. Perhaps the neighbouring path most walked by Appletonians, however, is Besselsleigh FP1 through Besselsleigh Wood, which continues on to the Besselsleigh—Eaton road. Running off this are three paths known as Besselsleigh 8, 9 and 10. These were the subjects of two Public Enquiries in 1988 and 1992. The first of these concluded that these were not rights of way, but the second reversed this and the paths are now to be included on the definitive map and have been waymarked.
WALKS PARTLY IN APPLETON AND PARTLY IN TUBNEY (3 MILES OR 4.5 MILES)
What to see: Appleton church and manor; a moated farmhouse; a ‘physic ‘well.
Begin the walk at Appleton's St Laurence Church (begun in the twelfth century). Notable for its famous peal of ten bells; see the memorial in the churchyard near the south door of the church to one of the White family, bell-hangers and bell-ringers. ( Whites bell-hangers is a village business that continues to this day along the Eaton Road.) There is a fine wall monument in the church to John Fettiplace, died 1503, one time owner of Appleton Manor. Cars may be parked in Church Road or opposite it near the post office.
Enter the churchyard and go round the tower end of the church. Note Appleton Manor on our right. The house has a moat 3/4s around the house and the earliest work in the house dates from c. 1180. It was considerably altered in the sixteenth century. Turn left to pass the main (south) door of the church to a gate and bridge ahead. Cross the bridge and immediately turn right to a stile at the bottom of the field. Cross this and bear very slightly left across the lane to climb a fence opposite into a small field at the bottom of which cross a concrete bridge over the Osse Brook. Turn right on the far side of the bridge (N.B. the path has been diverted around the right side of the field and no longer goes straight across as shown on older maps). Follow the path around the right side of the field to a bridge over a ditch in the tar right corner. Cross this bridge and bear very slightly left across the field, aiming for the stile on the far side of it at the rear left corner of the farm buildings. Cross this stile and go straight ahead with the moat of Tubney Manor Farm on your right. Do not turn right down the farm drive but pass the barns on your right and turn right behind them and then right again to bring you back to the farm drive where you turn left. Walk along the drive to the road (Oaksmere). Cross this road to the stile opposite.
For the shorter walk, take the path indicated by the right-hand arm of the footpath sign. This runs at first across open fields and then skirts a wood on your right before you cross the Osse Brook by a plank bridge. Continue along the right-hand edge of the field. At the far end of the field turn left and then after a few yards cross the stile on your right into a paddock (there are often donkeys here, so please keep dogs on leads). Go straight across the paddock and cross the stile at its far side and after a few more yards walk between the gardens of two bungalows to emerge onto a road by means of a gate. Cross this road into Millway Lane opposite. From here follow the directions for the longer walk from the point marked.
For the longer walk: at the stile in Oaksmere take the left-hand path. This has been diverted and no longer runs diagonally left across the field to the stile and gate into the woods which are visible away to your left, but runs along the edge of the field at first parallel to the road, then turns right with the wood on your left, then left with the wood still on your left, then right again to the gate and stile. Cross this stile into Tubney Wood. Follow the clear track through the wood, ignoring all side tracks to the left and right (most of them are gated anyway) to emerge eventually on the A420 road. Here turn right and walk along the grass verge for about 500 yards to a stile on your right just beyond the lay-by. Cross this stile and follow the path along the left side of the field, skirting a small pond (which is only a small marsh excepting in wet weather) to a stile on your left. Cross this and go halt right across the next field to a stile into a wood at the far left corner of the field. Cross this stile and a few yards into the wood bear left to a bridge over the Osse Brook. Cross this and go straight ahead with the wood of Appleton Upper Common on your left. At the end of the field cross another stile and turn sharp right along the right side of the field, eventually joining a concrete driveway running in the same direction. Turn right along the road for about 400 yards to Millway Lane on your left. Turn left into the lane. *Both walks continue from here.
Proceed along the somewhat pot-holed surface of Millway Lane with bungalows on your right, eventually leaving them as the lane turns left. Continue along the lane to the edge of Appleton Lower Common where the lane turns right with the woods on your left (in very dry weather one could proceed straight ahead into the woods instead of turning right with the lane. In that case one would eventually come to a T-junction of bridleways where one would turn right finally to join the lane again lower down. This adds about 3/4 mile to the walk but is not recommended except in conditions of absolute drought). If not taking the alternative route into the woods, proceed along the lane to a T-junction where you turn right away from the woods and follow this bridleway, which runs parallel to the Thames at one field’s width to another T-junction where you turn right. (Although if you want to look at the river turn left for about a hundred yards and then retrace your steps). Follow this bridleway uphill, passing on your left a ‘physic’ well, noted in former times for alleged curative properties. You will emerge eventually onto a road with council houses on your right. Follow this road (Badswell Lane), noting the former post office (dated 1690) on your left, to a T-junction opposite the manor pond. Cross the road slightly left into Church Road.