Circular Walk 14 (5 Miles)

Walk Overview

A short 5 mile circular walk near Napton. Wonderful views and the famous Napton Windmill. For over half the walk you enjoy a delightful section of the MILLENNIUM WAY. The way is clearly signed with our distinctive black and white waymarkers.

Walk Details

  • Start: The Folly Inn, Napton CV47 8NZ
  • Start Grid Ref: SP457 607
  • Parking: The Folly Inn if taking refreshment otherwise limited roadside.
  • Refreshments:
    • The Folly Inn (01926 815185)
    • Red Lion Hunningham (01926 632715)
  • Maps: OS Explorer 222 & 206 or OS Landranger 151
  • Distance: 5 Miles
  • Time: 2 Hours
  • Stiles: 1 (dog friendly)
  • Download: Walk GPS (GPS Exchange Format, GPX)
  • GPS and GPX explained
  • Find a mobile app on the Apple App Store or Google Play

Updated June 2022


Walk Instructions

Section A

The Folly Inn is at the end of Folly Lane, just by the Oxford Canal, and accessed via Napton-on-the-Hill. As long as you intend taking refreshments afterwards please park in the lower car park or field.

As you exit The Folly Inn car park bear slightly right to join the canal tow path (joining the Millennium Way). Go immediately left under bridge (No:113) and continue along the tow path with canal on your right skirting around Napton Hill until you arrive at bridge 111. ( Number sometimes obscured by plant overhang.) Pass under the A425 main road taking the gap immediately left (by the side of the fenced dwelling that used to be The Bridge Inn) to reach the main road. Turn left onto the main road (you are now leaving The Millennium Way before rejoining at Point C ) to proceed over the canal bridge for approx 120yds then take the first turning on the right. Immediately ahead, but slightly to your left, take the waymarked metal kissing gate and go up the field keeping hedge right to take  another gate and go straight on continuing on a rising path, still with hedge right, to take the next kissing gate. At top of field take a further kissing gate then go quarter left diagonally up the field aiming just to left of the first telegraph pole to find a kissing gate in the hedge. Go through this kissing gate and walk straight cross a small field to exit through a gate onto lane. (To your right before the gate you may see Napton Windmill, which can be traced back to 1543 but is now a private residence not open to the public - take a detour right if you wish to get a better view.)


Napton Windmill

Section B

Having arrived at the lane turn left and immediately take the right hand fork to go downhill. After some 300 yards take fork left, passing some dwellings on right to reach a junction. Continue left at this junction to pass High View and Hill Rise cottages on your right. Turn right into Chapel Lane and after approx 50 paces bear right at the concrete bollard to go downhill with wooden fence & cottage on left, then continue past an attractive thatched cottage - The Old Bakery - on your right, to reach the road. Continue gently downhill through the village turning left at the bottom into Dog Lane. ( If you fancy a coffee and cake you can turn right here for a few yards to reach the Napton Post Office where there is an attractive cafe and shop, then retrace your steps to continue the walk.)  Go past St Lawrence School, then past St Lawrence Close, to arrive within 50 paces at a waymarked bridleway on right, next to a red brick house. Proceed down the bridleway ignoring the first stile ( next to second metal gate ) on your left and continue gently uphill on grassy track to take the large metal gate ahead of you into a field. Keep ahead with hedge right and go through a metal gate. Continue on to reach a second metal gate - do not take this gate - turn left just before the gate to stay in same field and now keep hedge right for nearly 100 yds to take metal gate on your right into another field. Now, stay ahead with hedge right for approx 150 yds to the field corner, to cross a small concrete bridge and through metal gate. Continue ahead with hedge right taking a further metal gate to turn right onto the Millennium Way.

Section C

Keeping wire fence and hedge right, you will notice a farm appearing a few hundred yards to the far left. When you draw level with the farm you will be at a gate in the field corner, which leads to a minor road. Here you will notice the distinctive black Millennium Way waymarker. Take the gate and follow waymarker up the road to pass a small dwelling with "1890" inlaid in the wall. After some 400 yards come to a T-junction and go ahead signposted Napton / Stockton. Pass four small terraced cottages left (The Fens) and immediately take driveway on left to a house called Eureka. Go ahead through the waymarked big black metal gate up driveway and go right down by garage with hedge right to come in 20 paces to stile. Take the stile and follow waymarker 1/4 right across the large field keeping to right of a hollow. (*Alternatively it is possible to take the large metal gate right,  straight into the large field). In the dip ahead find and take bridge over brook and then go 1/2 left up field passing to the right of a derelict pylon to exit by far left corner gate to road.


Lock Gates

Section D

Go right on road over canal bridge then immediately left down to reach the Oxford canal tow path. Go immediately left under the bridge, No.115, continuing with canal right. Looking ahead you will have a fine view of Napton-on-the-Hill with its high set windmill. (This canal was designed by James Brindley and eventually links up with the Grand Union canal further north). Follow down a flight of locks to eventually arrive back at bridge No.113 with The Folly Inn on left.

Points of Interest - What to know and what to see...

by Andy Botherway


The Folly Inn at Napton is ideal for refreshments, but does get busy at peak times. They have a very big garden with an outdoor bar.

Perhaps also worth adding that

  • Napton Village Stores and Post Office (New Street, Napton) does very good takeaway food / coffee and ice creams, as well as groceries.
  • There is a 2018 Cidery in  the village up from the Folly Inn - Worth a visit for drinks and snacks, open 10am-5pm Monday-Saturday (and some Sundays till 4-00pm). They do one hour tour / tasting on Monday, Thursday and Friday – check website or call ahead
  • The Kings Head is back on the main A425.

In the Middle Ages, Napton was one of the largest towns in Warwickshire with a population of approximately 1000 people, which is more or less the same as today. The name Napton is derived from the Anglo Saxon meaning hilltop settlement.

500 feet above sea level, the village has commanding views over Warwickshire. Seven counties are said to be visible from the top on a fine day and it is probable that an Iron Age fort once crowned its summit.

Remains of extensive medieval strip farming systems can be seen in the surrounding countryside.

St Lawrence Church

St. Lawrence Church dates from the 12th Century and has three Norman windows in the north wall. On the vestry door is a strange grill covered by a heavy shutter. Nobody knows the purpose for which it was intended; a spy hole or maybe a confessional; who can tell? Two grey-gowned Elizabethan ladies are said to haunt the church. They kneel in the front pew quietly praying. Several present day villagers say they have seen them, but who they are/were nobody knows.


St Lawrence Church

The Windmill

The Windmill existed before 1543 and was derelict by 1966, but is now beautifully restored.

The Domesday Book records the manor as being held by Robert de Beaumont, Count of Meulan. In 1107 Henry I made de Beaumont Earl of Leicester. Edward II granted a charter for a market but after this died out the village has stagnated, the population today being the same as in 1400, around 1000.


Oxford Canal

The Oxford Canal

The Oxford Canal reached Napton in 1774, this was the head of navigation until 1777 and goods for Banbury and beyond travelled by road. The Warwick Napton canal joined the Oxford Canal at Napton Junction in 1800.

The Folly Inn by the canal was originally a farmhouse, then became known as the Bull and Butcher and catered for the brickworks in nearby Kiln Road. It closed just after the second world war, but reopened in 1992 and is now a well-used boating hostelry.

A much more direct route between London and the Midlands, the Grand Junction Canal, was completed in 1805. Much of the London-bound traffic switched to this faster route, as it avoided passage of the River Thames. This greatly reduced Oxford Canal traffic south of Napton.

During the 1960s pleasure boating began to grow in popularity and replace the old trading boats. After a fact-finding cruise on the canal, Barbara Castle (then Minister for Transport) rejected a proposal for closure. The canal is now thriving. In the summer it is one of the most crowded canals on the network.

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