Middleton Cheney

Circular Walk 36  (8.25 Miles)

Walk Overview

This delightful circular walk takes in the beginning, or end, of the MILLENNIUM WAY - depending which way you look at it. It is mostly across open country with gentle undulations. The route is clearly signed with our distinctive black and white waymarkers.

You may wish to use Henry's Cafe for breakfast before you start - it is only 100 yards away.

During the first half of the walk you enjoy a delightful section of the Millennium Way.

Walk Details

  • Start: All Saints Church, Middleton Cheney OX17 2NR
  • Start Grid Ref: SP498 426
  • Parking: Roadside near church
  • Refreshments:
    • George & Dragon, Chacombe (01295 711500)
    • Henry's Cafe Middleton Cheney (01295 711444)
  • Maps: OS Explorer 206 or OS Landranger 151
  • Distance: 8¼ miles 
  • Time: 3½ hours
  • Stiles: 19 (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 June 2022

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Walk Instructions

Section A

Facing the front of All Saints Church the route takes Church Lane to the left of the church. Go past Rectory Lane and continue down to reach the T-junction opposite No. 24 - Stoneleigh. Turn right here into Glovers Lane. At the end of the lane the pathway crosses Chacombe Road and takes the unmade vehicle track to the right of the footpath sign, passing between the gardens of domestic properties and then along a narrow passage at rear of houses, with tall wooden fence left. After 300 yards the track becomes a footpath and ends at a gap with a damaged gate leading into large field. Take the gap and go immediately left with hedge left, following path around field edge under power lines to find stile. Take stile and go ahead with hedge left to exit by stile to road.

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Roof painting by
William Morris
All Saint's Church
Middleton Cheney Church

Section B

Cross road to drive and after 10 paces take stile right signposted "Footpath to Thenford" Follow field edge with fence and stream left, crossing double stiles / footbridge to continue ahead with hedge left and fence right to cross stile, to reach a further stile tucked in field corner by a damaged stone wall. Take this stile then cross stone bridge and go right with ditch right to wide gap. Take gap and go diagonally ½ left across field under power lines aiming for field corner by trees. On reaching trees go right following Millennium Way waymarker on hedge post with hedge left to gap, then bear left along side of field keeping hedge and tree line left and on reaching waypost at end of hedge/tree line stay along same line across large field to pass through waymarked hedge gap. Bear right across field corner to take small timber bridge, over a stream and turn left with hedge left to stile. Take stile and go diagonally ½ right across field to road, aiming for green footpath sign.

Section C

Cross road and ditch / stream and go ahead diagonally right climbing gently up field passing under mid field power lines to top corner gap to join a farm track. At the top be sure to look back at the glorious 180° view with the majestic spire of All Saints Church in the middle distance. Follow track left to pass bungalow right, along farm driveway to the road. Cross road and take stile into field, continuing with hedge right to exit by far right field gap. Go directly ahead over next field (or right to go left down drive) to pass under power lines at corner of field to arrive at far right corner gap where drive meets road. Cross road and take track marked bridleway continuing along with hedge left, under power lines, to reach a lane at crossroads.

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Open country

Section D

Here we leave the Millennium Way and turn left along the lane signposted Upper Wardington. Continue along lane to reach the T-junction with glorious views ahead. Turn right following the lane down to cross the large bridge over the dismantled Great Central branch railway line and ahead to pass Hanglands Farm and eventually reach the outskirts of Upper Wardington. This section is over 2 miles.

Section E

Pass 30mph restriction signs at entry to the village and then take footpath left through the metal kissing gate (here we share the route with the Jurassic Way - which is well waymarked back to Middleton Cheney). Go diagonally across field towards far corner then go through gate by damaged stile and go ahead with hedge right to take next corner stile. Continue directly ahead through several fields and over stiles, following the Jurassic Way, keeping the village of Chacombe ahead and to the left, eventually to pass through tunnel under dismantled railway, emerging on to a farm track. Go straight across keeping fence right to reach bridge. Cross wooden bridge over stream then a second bridge rising slightly uphill, passing a row of houses left to enter the charming village of Chacombe.

Section F

When you reach the road turn right signposted the Jurassic Way and continue on to pass the George & Dragon village pub (17th Century). Go right at pub then take first road left, signposted Middleton Cheney then almost immediately take the gravelled drive on your right past houses and through the metal kissing gate into a small copse. Just before you reach another metal kissing gate take footpath right, through wooded area taking kissing gate to follow mid field way markers steeply up field to corner kissing gate. Take kissing gate and stay ahead with wire fence left. On reaching field corner take stile into narrow passage exiting via wooden kissing gate to field. Stay ahead up field towards the narrow pylon to reach a gate. Take wooden gate to proceed along attractive tree lined path. Exit by stile then go ahead up field with hedge left then through wide metal gate and continue up track at field edge keeping hedge right. About halfway down this large field edge you should find a hidden way post in the hedge on right (often obscured by overgrowth). At this point you must turn left across the field on usually well defined path, heading slightly left of the spire of Middleton Cheney church, to find and enter a hedge gap at edge of field. Cross track and continue across next field heading directly for the church. Go through gap and cross track to continue through gap opposite to cross road then stay across next field with wire fence right heading towards church. Halfway down the field take care not to miss gap on right. Take gap and over stile to then continue with hedge left. The path gradually descends to a gated wooden bridge. Take bridge to go uphill towards church and then take stile adjacent to stone wall. Stay ahead through narrow passage, then down access track to road. Turn left to arrive back at the Middleton Cheney church.

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George & Dragon
Chacombe

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

by Andy Botherway

Middleton Cheney is one of the largest villages in South Northamptonshire and is located on the ancient trackway between Banbury and Northampton. The village has two pubs - The New Inn and The Dolphin. There is cafe called Henry's Cafe near the start, suitable for breakfasts before you set off. A Co-op and Sanderz are both convenience stores. We have discovered just one B&B, Manor Cottage. Contact details are available on our "Pubs" page.

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All Saints
Middleton Cheney

All Saints

All Saints Church was built in 1302 and is known for the ceiling panels painted in 1865 by William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelite stained glass windows by Edward Burne-Jones in 1870. Its spire is 153 feet high.

In the churchyard is the ornate family tomb of Mary Horton, benefactors of the hospital in nearby Banbury. There is a WW1 memorial and Commonwealth Graves.

Also buried here are forty six roundheads of the Civil War killed in a skirmish near Middleton Cheney on 6th May 1642. Two hundred and seventeen rebels were also killed.

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W M Horton Memorial

Chenderit School is a mixed 11–18 county comprehensive school. The name 'Chenderit' is an adaptation of the medieval Lord of the manor Simon de Chenduit in the 12th C. It has an Art Gallery called the Michael Heseltine Gallery.

After Fernhill farm entrance, cross the abandoned railway, a branch line of the Great Central Railway running nearly nine miles from Banbury to Culworth Junction. It was closed in April 1965.

Upper Wardington
In 1469, during the War of the Roses, the Battle of Edgcote Moor was fought near Wardington.

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Chacombe Priory

Chacombe

Hugh de Chacombe, lord of the manor of Chacombe, founded Chacombe Priory in the reign of Henry II (1154–89). In 1536 the priory was suppressed in the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Today the only visible remains are a small chapel apparently built in the 13th century and a set of mediaeval fishponds. Part of the priory site is now occupied by a house, also called Chacombe Priory. The house has a large Elizabethan porch.

From 1605 until 1785 the Bagley family of Chacombe were bellfounders, casting more than 440 bells for churches in England, including the four 1694 bells in Chacombe parish church.

The George and Dragon, a 17th century building with original beams, fireplaces and a well, offers a very welcome break.

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