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To The Lady Well

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To The Lady Well
Author: Rebecca, Published: 28 Aug 2018 Walk Rating:star1 To The Lady Well - Oxfordshire Walking Guidestar1 To The Lady Well - Oxfordshire Walking Guidestar1 To The Lady Well - Oxfordshire Walking Guidestar1 To The Lady Well - Oxfordshire Walking Guidestar0 To The Lady Well - Oxfordshire Walking Guide
Oxfordshire, North Leigh
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
To The Lady Well
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot To The Lady Well - Oxfordshire Walking Guide boot To The Lady Well - Oxfordshire Walking Guide
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A circular walk of just over 4 miles from North Leigh in Oxfordshire, visiting the Lady Well. “…… an old well of beautiful clear water, surrounded by a wall, with stone steps going down to it. It is called the Lady’s Well, and on Palm Sunday the girls go there and take bottles with Spanish juice (liquorice), fill the bottles, walk round the well” Violet Mason, Oxfordshire Folklore, (Dec. 31, 1929). This circular walk takes in two old churches – St Mary’s at North Leigh and St Peter’s at Wilcote – and the isolated Lady Well spring. The Lady Well is approached by the ancient avenue of trees – largely ash, interspersed with holly and oak.

It’s an easy walk across gently rolling countryside, fields, green lanes and woodland. It has two stiles and one step-over, otherwise only kissing gates and ordinary pedestrian gates. There will be livestock in some of the fields, including horses. There are a couple of pubs in North Leigh but both are a fair walk from the start of the walk. Allow 2 hours.

The walk starts at St Mary’s Church on Church Road in North Leigh, Oxfordshire OX29 6TX. You can park on the roadside or in the car park, opposite the church, for the church hall (Turner Hall) and cemetery. If you are coming by public transport, the Number 11 bus runs through North Leigh, en route between Oxford and Witney; and the Number 233 running between Burford and Woodstock.

Walk Sections

Start to Puddle End Farm
Start to Puddle End Farm

Start point: 51.8201 lat, -1.4388 long
End point: 51.8181 lat, -1.4513 long

Walk into the churchyard and up the path, past the entrance to the church to a wooden gate in the left-hand stone wall of the cemetery. Go through this gate and along a fenced path to a kissing gate into a field.

Walk across the field, bearing right. Maintaining the same direction, cross a further three fields (going through gates along the way) and exit onto a tarmac lane.

Turn right along the lane and then, after a very short distance, turn left (the first left) into a wide track as the lane bears right, just before the sign for Puddle End Farm (this sign can be obscured by bushes at times).

Puddle End Farm to North Leigh Lane
Puddle End Farm to North Leigh Lane

Start point: 51.8181 lat, -1.4513 long
End point: 51.8187 lat, -1.4575 long

Having turned down this left-hand track, before the sign for Puddle End Farm, carry on down this tree-lined track. It exits onto North Leigh Lane, facing a double footpath sign for New Yatt and the Wychwood Way.

North Leigh Lane to Wilcote Signpost and Gate
North Leigh Lane to Wilcote Signpost and Gate

Start point: 51.8187 lat, -1.4575 long
End point: 51.8215 lat, -1.4623 long

Turn right on North Leigh Lane and continue for about 0.3 miles until you reach a footpath post to Wilcote on the right-hand side and a gate.

Wilcote Signpost and Gate to End of Stone Wall
Wilcote Signpost and Gate to End of Stone Wall

Start point: 51.8215 lat, -1.4623 long
End point: 51.8236 lat, -1.4616 long

Turn right, edge around the side of the gate and walk up the right-hand field edge. Walk almost to the end of the second field, to a point where the stone wall on the right ends at a wide field gap.

End of Stone Wall to Coneygar Copse
End of Stone Wall to Coneygar Copse

Start point: 51.8236 lat, -1.4616 long
End point: 51.8266 lat, -1.4617 long

As the stone wall on the right ends, do a mini right-hand dog leg (turning right and immediately left) so that you are walking up the next field along its left-hand edge (continuing in the same direction as before, but now with the hedge on your left).

Walk along the field edge, onto a wide track which joins from the left and which shortly bears right as it reaches woodland. Look out for a left-hand turning and wide gate into the woodland called Coneygar Copse.

Coneygar Copse to Stile into Field
Coneygar Copse to Stile into Field

Start point: 51.8266 lat, -1.4617 long
End point: 51.8336 lat, -1.4685 long

Turn left into Coneygar Copse, edging past a gate onto a wide and clearly marked track. Coneygar Copse becomes Holly Grove as you cross over a low embankment. Records date the woodland back to Roman times. Holly Grove was largely cut down in the first world war but has now regenerated, Coneygar Copse was untouched - both sections have wonderful bluebells in the spring.

Follow this track for about 0.6 miles through the woodland to a road. The track exits onto this quiet road. Turn left and then after less than 50 paces, turn right into a field entrance (by telegraph poles and a footpath sign to Finstock which is buried in the hedgerow) with a stile beside a wide metal gate.

Stile into Field to Stepover Stile at Wilcote
Stile into Field to Stepover Stile at Wilcote

Start point: 51.8336 lat, -1.4685 long
End point: 51.8352 lat, -1.4639 long

Climb over the stile and walk up straight ahead up the right-hand field edge. At the junction into the next field, turn right and walk along the field edge, with the hedge on the right-hand side, to another field junction (with an oak tree on the right and a concrete trough on the left).

Turn right at the oak tree into the next field and keep to the right-hand field edge until it reaches a kissing gate into woodland. Go through the kissing gate and follow the fence a short distance, until a path bears left into the wood. Follow this path through the wood until it reaches a step-over stile by a gate onto a road.

Stepover Stile at Wilcote to The Lady Well
Stepover Stile at Wilcote  to The Lady Well

Start point: 51.8352 lat, -1.4639 long
End point: 51.8301 lat, -1.4586 long

Step over the stile into the hamlet of Wilcote. Turn left and walk the short distance up to the small and simple St Peter's Church. It's usually unlocked and worth the very short diversion. After visiting the church, retrace your steps to the stile at waymark 7.

Turn left into the cluster of houses. Skirt right round the pond and dovecote. The pond is one of two restored fishponds originally part of the Wilcote Manor estate.

Carry on along the wide gravelled and fenced track which bears right and then left to a wooden five bar gate. As you go through the gate, towards your left you have a lovely view over the valley, back to North Leigh and the squat tower of St Mary's.

Continue straight down the avenue of trees towards the Lady Well which soon comes into view.

The Lady Well to Bridewell Farm
The Lady Well to Bridewell Farm

Start point: 51.8301 lat, -1.4586 long
End point: 51.8285 lat, -1.4529 long

You can usually enter the small stone enclosure of the Lady Well spring to see the fern shrouded spring. And if you look at the map, you can see that the direction of the avenue of trees, although now diverted, was directly back to the church.

The Lady Well was associated with fertility and regularly visited by women, especially on Lady Day (March 25th) and in more recent centuries on Palm Sunday .... neither tradition is observed any longer.

From the Lady Well, continue straight ahead over a stile and through a small woodland area by a stream to exit onto an unsurfaced lane.

Continue straight ahead to take the path up over a field and onward, through a field gap, across the next field until you reach a tree line. Turn right, with the treeline now on your left, to head a short distance downhill and turn left as the path levels out into Bridewell Farm.

Bridewell Farm to End
Bridewell Farm to End

Start point: 51.8285 lat, -1.4529 long
End point: 51.8201 lat, -1.4388 long

Walk past the elegant Grade II Bridewell Farmhouse (date stone 1761) to a footpath post on the right-hand side, with barns on the left-hand side.

Turn right at the footpath post, up a track which swiftly heads uphill a short distance and then levels out. Follow the hedge on the left-hand field edge until it turns away to the left.

At this point, the tower of St Mary's is in clear view in the distance ahead of you. You continue straight ahead across the field in the direction of the tower, towards a hedge gap.

Go through the hedge gap and follow the path as it skirts round a farm on the right. The path leads you to a tarmac lane by the farm. Follow the lane back to St Mary's Church and the start of the walk.

Remember...the best way of following our walking guides is to use the iFootpath App (iOS and Android) where you will have all the information in the palm of your hand and see your exact location on the live map as you travel. You can also add comments, photos, ratings and track your own routes.

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network To The Lady Well - Oxfordshire Walking Guide Original GPX source file

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


1 comments for "To The Lady Well"

A good walk but we did get a little lost twice. At point 1 as you come out onto Green Lane, bushes hide the sign for the farm. Better to say turn right as you emerge onto the road and first left before the sign. We turned left along the road by mistake. At point 4 it is clearer just to say carry on in the same direction but with the hedge on your left. We turned down a different path by mistake. However, the extra exercise did us no harm and we enjoyed the walk very much.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Glad you enjoyed the walk and thank you for the suggested changes. We have updated the guide a little. Please remember to use the iFootpath App's live GPS map (not just the wording) to help with navigation - this shows your live location (a blue dot) on the route map (a red line) and will always help prevent any wrong turns.

By Mythellin on 12 Sep 2018

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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