Priors Marston

Circular Walk 22  (5.75 Miles)

Walk Overview

This delightful circular walk starts from The Hollybush public house in Priors Marston. Opening hours are quite restricted. An easy walk of nearly 6 miles, mostly across flat farmland and passing through splendid woodland. The early part of the walk along the bridleway can be very muddy after wet weather. There are only a few inclines. During the first half of the walk you will enjoy the delights of The Millennium Way where you will be guided by our distinctive black and white waymarkers.

Walk Details

  • Start: The Hollybush Inn, Holly Bush Lane, Priors Marston CV47 7RW
  • Start Grid Ref: SP489 574
  • Parking:
    • The Hollybush Inn or roadside
  • Refreshments: The Hollybush Inn, Priors Marston (01327 260934) Restricted opening hours so please check in advance.
  • Maps: OS Explorer 206 or OS Landranger 151
  • Distance: 5¾ miles
  • Time: Under 3 hours
  • Stiles: 18 (not all 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 March 2024


Walk Instructions

Section A

With your back to The Hollybush pub, go left down the lane to the corner then straight across down the alleyway signposted to the Church. Go through gate into the churchyard and stay ahead keeping St Leonard's Church (c1863) to your left to exit via gate ahead, passing thatched cottage left to a lane. Go straight across lane and stay on narrow path to pass the Old Vicarage on right. On reaching a driveway go left, cross over road and take signed footpath just to the left of red post box. Here you will see the first distinctive black Millennium Way waymarker and these will guide you along the first part of the walk to point C. Go down track alongside Priors Hall and at the end of the track cross the stile and bear 1/2 right to pass along the rear boundaries of houses to exit by stile. Continue on to pass through two fields via stiles. On entering a larger field, including a pony paddock, cut across the near left hand corner, by stile, to reach timber bridge ditch crossing (this bridge is dangerous, so go right following the hedge left until you reach a bridleway in the left corner of field then go left to join bridleway). Follow the bridleway left towards Napton and you will pass a footbridge and stile on left which is at point B on the Circular Walk Map.


St Leonard's Church


Tree Lined Paths

Section B

Carry straight on along the bridleway and you will now be back on the Millennium Way.  Follow the bridleway track, which can be very muddy after heavy rainfall, for a long way between a line of trees. ( you pass an unusual memorial to Eric and Mary Bond and another to Joanne Eve BondThe Bond family live at Barnrooden Farm just east of here). The path continues between the line of trees and eventually descends, passing through a gap with an old disused steel gate as you reach a field of pasture. Maintain same direction down the field past a large dwelling with hedge and fence left towards the village of Napton visible through the trees. Come to full width metal gate. Go through gate and stay head down to far right corner to find metal gate.

Take the gate, go across the track and proceed ahead with hedge right for 130 plus paces to take another gate, (you now have a lovely panoramic view with Napton-on-the-Hill ahead) then go ahead with hedge / trees on left. Exit field via bottom left corner gap and continue ahead with hedge left to reach metal gate. Pass through gate into another large field and continue along edge of this field with fence and hedge right. Notice a farm appearing a few hundred yards to your left. When you draw level with the farm take the large gate which leads to a minor road.

Section C

Continue ahead up the road passing Panthedge Barn on right, ( now converted to a dwelling place - note the 1890 date mark etched in dark bricks on side wall.) You still have fine views of Napton-on-the-Hill. Stay on the road round a gentle bend and  just opposite a metal roofed barn, take the stile left into field. (Here we are leaving The Millennium Way) Go diagonally 1/2 left across field, along an ill-defined path, aiming for a wide gap at the end of the tall hedge over to your left. Keep to the left of the marshy area. Go through gap passing a small damaged wooden post (with no way markers) and continue on same line diagonally across next field heading towards a mid fence stile. Take stile into field and go diagonally left towards top left corner of field where you will find a stile in hedge gap.


Wander through crops on clear Pain

Take stile over shallow ditch into next field and continue between wire fence right & hedge left. Go past  a large metal gate adjacent to road. On reaching this gate, stay in field and go along field edge keeping hedge and trees left & wire fencing right. Cross field boundary marked by a thin line of small trees then eventually cross a small ditch, still following parallel to minor road on other side of hedge. Shortly you reach a second large metal gate. Go past this gate and after 50 yards go 1/4 right to reach a mid hedge stile, some 30 yards in from corner of field. Take stile into next field. Go 1/4 left in the direction of the yellow way mark to find another way marked stile at top of field at the right hand end of the fence adjacent to copse. Cross a rather angled stile and continue directly across centre of field towards visible waymarker disc to take mid hedge stile and plank bridge into next field. Go directly across centre of field aiming for large yellow waymarker disc to take the adjacent double stiled wooden bridge across ditch then continue across field towards a large white board, signed "footpath", cross track and go over stile. Continue along with wire fence left and turn left on reaching the canal continuing with fence left to reach a metal gate. Take gate then go ahead on path to eventually exit by large metal gate to road, a few yards to left of canal bridge.

Section D

Go left on main road for just over 1/2 mile. The road climbs gently past Nedge Hill Farm and Cotswold Lodge. Where the road flattens out you will see a communications tower directly ahead and approx 100 yards ahead on left take a gap (not waymarked) into large field. Go right with hedge right then cut diagonally left across field corner to reach mid-hedge yellow topped waypost. Cross wooden plank bridge into field then go directly across field passing just to left of clump of trees then staying ahead to field corner. Turn right at field corner to cross small wooden bridge into short section of woodland. Go along woodland path to emerge by waypost. Cross the stile here and go diagonally 1/2 right to cross corner of field to take mid conifer damaged fence stile to emerge between barns left and house right.

Continue forward between the barns and house then cross directly over farm track and stay with hedge left to head in the direction of the communications tower in the far distance. At the field corner go through large double wooden gates, which are to the right of a completely hidden kissing gate. Go 1/4 right across centre of field ( or follow well worn path to right, around field edge ) to reach far right corner heading to the right of a large modern house. Here take the kissing gate to reach the road. Cross road and go up School Lane, turning right at the corner into Holly Bush Lane returning to your starting point at the Hollybush Inn.


Time for relaxation

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

by Andy Botherway

Priors Marston

The village originally belonged to St. Mary’s Priory, Coventry, hence the ‘Priors’. The ‘Marston’ comes from Old English ‘merse’ or lake and ‘tun’ meaning settlement. The ‘merse’ was a fishery which served the village. The primary school was one of the first ‘free’ schools to be established, state funded but independently managed. Local children attend free whereas pupils from outside the local catchment pay fees.

The Hollybush a 16th century inn, with an excellent restaurant, can provide refreshment if needed. It has a few rooms for accommodation.

The Church of St. Leonard 

The Church of St. Leonard is largely a Victorian rebuilding from 1863. The remoteness of the village meant that it only received a mains supply of electricity in 1934 and of water in 1948.

The village is set on the very ancient Ridgeway track, an Iron Age trading route locally linking Nadbury Camp Edgehill to Arbury Camp at Catesley.

The Salt (Welsh) Road dating from at least the Roman occupation links Droitwich to Northampton and was used to carry salt for meat preservation and general trading. It runs across the centre of the Parish east to west.


The Church of St. Leonard


Marston Doles Lock

Marston Doles – Oxford Canal features

The site of the old wharf, just above Marston Doles lock. The old lock keeper's cottage and the stable block for the boatmen's horses can be seen to the left of the lock. These buildings were extensively renovated in 1989 and used as the local British Waterways offices for 4 years after which they have been occupied by private business.

Memorial seat beside Marston Doles lock

This seat is beside Oxford Canal lock 16 at Marston Doles. It commemorates Esme Dowling, a popular and long-standing canal employee who worked as a lengthsman and lock-keeper on this section during the 1950s, 60s and 70s.


Memorial seat

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