Having spent much of the election traipsing around rural Oxfordshire, I decided to spend the Sunday afterwards exploring the countryside for at a more pleasant pace! Wanting to make use of a new OS map I’d recently bought, I plotted out a circle route starting and ending in Streatley (although technically I suppose it ended in a pub in Goring!).
Starting at the bridge across the river, I followed the Thames Path north towards Moulsford. It was a quiet route and absolutely gorgeous in the June sunshine – although the presence of a black narrowboat decorated in the colours of Alestorm was somewhat disconcerting! At Moulsford itself I managed to get slightly lost amidst a few overgrown paths and some playing fields, but eventually I found myself on the westward path out towards Unhill.
I hadn’t actually decided on a firm route by the time I got to the junction of paths at Starveall Farm, but with an eye to time I opted to cut through the valley called Unhill Bottom. It was a lovely route – the valley was farmed with fields of still-green wheat, but the hills on either side were wooded, channelling the wind right along the valley floor and making the crops ripple like waves. It was so refreshing, and the perfect antidote to several weeks staring at constant breaking news.
Climbing the hills at the end of the valley, I caught a good view of Didcot with its famous power stations, before turning south and cutting through Unhill Wood. Finally, I reached the ancient Roman road of the Ridegway, and followed that back into Streatley. All in all I think it came to about ten miles in total – not bad for a short summer walk!