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Dorn Valley Ramble

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Dorn Valley Ramble
Author: Carley, Published: 10 Apr 2018 Walk Rating:star0 Dorn Valley Ramble, Oxfordshire Walking Guidestar0 Dorn Valley Ramble, Oxfordshire Walking Guidestar0 Dorn Valley Ramble, Oxfordshire Walking Guidestar0 Dorn Valley Ramble, Oxfordshire Walking Guidestar0 Dorn Valley Ramble, Oxfordshire Walking Guide
Oxfordshire, Middle Barton
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Dorn Valley Ramble
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot Dorn Valley Ramble, Oxfordshire Walking Guide boot Dorn Valley Ramble, Oxfordshire Walking Guide boot Dorn Valley Ramble, Oxfordshire Walking Guide
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0002_sunny_intervals Dorn Valley Ramble, Oxfordshire Walking GuideToday's weather
19 °C, Partly cloudy, Wind: 15 mph ENE
Next few days: Hover over icon for more info.
0006_mist Dorn Valley Ramble, Oxfordshire Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals Dorn Valley Ramble, Oxfordshire Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals Dorn Valley Ramble, Oxfordshire Walking Guide 0018_cloudy_with_heavy_rain Dorn Valley Ramble, Oxfordshire Walking Guide 0009_light_rain_showers Dorn Valley Ramble, Oxfordshire Walking Guide

This varied and pretty 6 mile circular walk in Oxfordshire traces the valley of the River Dorn, taking you through the village of Steeple Barton and along green lanes and riverside fields. There are some lovely views, including a lakeside view of Barton Abbey. Steeple Barton is a small but very old settlement, now dominated by the large and gracious Barton Abbey and a 12th century church. Humps in the fields indicate that there was once a sizable village whose population was ravaged by the Black Death. There are some medieval fishponds, accessible from the main road through the village.

There are a number of gates but no stiles on route. You will also cross pastures where you are likely to encounter livestock. There is a small amount of road walking on quiet lanes with verges. The landscape is undulating with a couple of very short ascents and descents but generally easy going. A few stretches of the walk can be very muddy in the winter and some of the riverside fields can get waterlogged, so you may need to wear wellingtons if there has been very wet weather recently. Allow 3 hours.

There are no refreshments available on the walk - the nearest pubs, shop and tea rooms are in Middle Barton, very near the start of the walk.

The walk starts at a small hamlet called Bartongate, just east of Middle Barton on the B4030 at a junction with the Duns Tew Road. Post code OX7 7DD. There are several lay-bys for roadside parking. Alternatively, park in Middle Barton and walk the short distance on the pavement out to Bartongate.

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Walk Sections

Start to Woodmans Cottage
Start to Woodmans Cottage

Start point: 51.9299 lat, -1.3551 long
End point: 51.922 lat, -1.3487 long

Standing on the south side of the Bartongate junction and facing a road name sign for Rayford Lane, look to your left and you will see a short grass path between two houses. Take this path which leads to a kissing gate, with a footpath sign to Steeple Barton.

Enter the field and, with the River Dorn on your right, walk straight ahead to a railway sleeper over a ditch and a pedestrian gate leading into a wood. Follow the footpath climbing gently though the wood to exit via another gate and enter a large field. Go straight ahead, keeping close to the wood on your right. When the woodland ends, continue ahead between two clumps of trees. By now you will be able to see the stumpy tower of the Steeple Barton church on the other side of the valley. Bearing slightly right, drop down to go through a five-bar gate (there is an enclosed fishponds area to the left of this gate) and over the River Dorn.

Walk gently uphill in the next field, keeping close to the left side of the field to exit via another five-bar gate leading onto a lane. Walk straight ahead on the lane for about 60 metres, passing a post box in a house wall on the right. Continue to the point when the lane swings left. You will be facing the driveway of Woodmans Cottage with a footpath post on the road bank on your right.

Woodmans Cottage to Churchyard Gate
Woodmans Cottage to Churchyard Gate

Start point: 51.922 lat, -1.3487 long
End point: 51.9203 lat, -1.3486 long

Walk up the short driveway of Woodmans Cottage. Swing right in front of the house to pass through the gap between the right corner of the house and a garage, to a pedestrian gate into a field, with the church beyond.

Cross the field to a dilapidated gate in the churchyard wall and go up a handful of steps into the churchyard. Bear left to follow a grass path through the churchyard to reach an iron gate under some tall yew trees.

Churchyard Gate to Gate out of Barton Abbey Grounds
Churchyard Gate to Gate out of Barton Abbey Grounds

Start point: 51.9203 lat, -1.3486 long
End point: 51.9187 lat, -1.3432 long

Go through the iron gate out of the churchyard and turn left. Follow the track as it meanders gently downhill and then turn left through a gate and cross a footbridge over the Dorn to a lakeside view across to Barton Abbey. Turn right and within 60 metres, turn right and cross back over the Dorn.

Turn left and follow the footpath signs through the outskirts of Barton Abbey grounds. After a short distance the path climbs uphill to a gate into a field.

Gate out of Barton Abbey Grounds to Field Exit
Gate out of Barton Abbey Grounds to Field Exit

Start point: 51.9187 lat, -1.3432 long
End point: 51.9174 lat, -1.3377 long

Enter the field and maintain your direction, alongside the very large and old trees, to a gate in the left corner of the field.

Field Exit to Dornford Lane Hedge Gap
Field Exit to Dornford Lane Hedge Gap

Start point: 51.9174 lat, -1.3377 long
End point: 51.8953 lat, -1.3335 long

Go through the gate out of the field, pass through some woodland and quickly come to a wide bridleway. Turn right onto this bridleway. At one point the bridleway becomes tarmac as it passes some houses - when the tarmac lane swings left, you continue straight ahead on the bridleway. Stay on this bridleway for 1.3 miles, passing New Barn Farm along the way, until it reaches a road.

Cross the road to a tarmac lane opposite, with a footpath sign for Dornford Lane and Woodstock; and a separate cycleway post. Go down this lane for 0.2 miles, until there is a wide gap in the hedge on the right with a footpath sign pointing diagonally across the neighbouring field.

Dornford Lane Hedge Gap to Tittenford Bridge
Dornford Lane Hedge Gap to Tittenford Bridge

Start point: 51.8953 lat, -1.3335 long
End point: 51.8984 lat, -1.3411 long

Go through the hedge gap and follow the direction of the waymark for 0.25 miles, heading diagonally right until you reach a road and then turn left. Follow the road down to Tittenford Bridge over the Dorn to a pedestrian gate on the right-hand side, just after the bridge.

Tittenford Bridge to Bottom of Church Lane
Tittenford Bridge to Bottom of Church Lane

Start point: 51.8984 lat, -1.3411 long
End point: 51.9062 lat, -1.3442 long

Turn right through this gate to enter the field. Walk ahead, keeping the Dorn on your right-hand side, passing through two five-bar gates and passing below an isolated field barn. After about 0.7 miles (after a patch of woodland and when the river swings right), keep straight ahead to cross the field to a pedestrian gate.

Bottom of Church Lane to Steeple Barton Crossroads
Bottom of Church Lane to Steeple Barton Crossroads

Start point: 51.9062 lat, -1.3442 long
End point: 51.9218 lat, -1.3512 long

Go through the gate and walk gently uphill, keeping the field edge on your right, to enter a broad bridleway (Church Lane). Follow this track for a mile, the surface becoming tarmac when you pass the church and approach the crossroads in the village.

Steeple Barton Crossroads to End
Steeple Barton Crossroads to End

Start point: 51.9218 lat, -1.3512 long
End point: 51.9258 lat, -1.358 long

At the crossroads, go straight across onto Church Lane, signposted to Middle Barton. Walk up this quiet lane for 0.4 miles until, just before a bungalow, there is a byway sign for Rayford Lane on the right.

Take this Rayford Lane right turning and follow the track which leads you down to a footbridge over the Dorn and back to the start point of your walk.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2018 by the author Carley and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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