Braunston Grandborough round

Walked: Wednesday 22nd July 2020
Distance: 10.54 miles (17km); Total ascent: 441ft (134m)
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Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database right (2020)

Today’s was a solo circular walk, starting from Braunston and going via Wolfhampcote, Flecknoe, Sawbridge, Grandborough, and Willoughby. It was a walk of village churches and challenging stiles.

All Saints Church, Brauston, with the spire visible for many miles around

I parked outside All Saints church, then walked down the hill to the canal and on to the section which seems to be both the Grand Union and the Oxford Canals. I left the canal and walked towards Wolfhampcote but did not get as far as the disused church. That’s an excuse for another outing!

The view down the hill from the church to the canal
The Grand Union Canal, just south of the junction
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The bridges at the junction of the Oxford and Grand Union Canals
The canal heading west from Braunston
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
The horizon east and north from the road between Wolfhampcote and Flecknoe

I left the canal and walked towards Wolfhampcote but did not get as far as the disused church. From there, I went cross country to Flecknoe. One short section of ROW had crops growing, with no sign of the path; fortunately the road alternative was not much further. I stopped in Flecknoe for a short break; it seems to be a pretty village.

Coming in to Flecknoe
Stocks, apparently in use at least as late as 1987!
Charming Flecknoe

I took an ROW from Flecknoe towards Nethercote and found it went between the garden and tennis court of a superior house. From there, I followed a country track towards Sawbridge, but turned off before the settlement on to an ROW. I faced a field of cows but they seemed docile so I opted to carry on and they largely ignored me.

The fields heading for Grandborough
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St Peter’s Church, Grandborough

I walked across fields to Grandborough, planning to stop for lunch by the church. I could see the spire from some way off but it never seemed to get closer! I got there eventually and I enjoyed my lunch on a bench near the church. Many years ago when I was a reporter for the local paper I got to know a resident of Grandborough – Len Coling. I think he volunteered to be the local village correspondent. The Colings were clearly a significant local family. On the First World War memorial in the churchyard there were the names of four Colings; I wondered if a family had lost four sons. [I discovered later on line that three were brothers.]

The horizon to the north, from just north of Grandborough
Looking back on the way in to Willoughby
St Nicholas’ Church, Willoughby

I had to tackle a few challenging stiles and obstacles on the way to Willoughby, but enjoyed a brief rest near the duck pond.

Duck pond, Willoughby
Alpaca, Willoughby
A challenging stile

From Willoughby, the route went across country back to the Oxford Canal. After crossing the A45 I had trouble with the stile on the far side. The stile would have been OK on its own, but there was a fence just inches beyond it. There wasn’t enough room to get both legs over the stile and stand between it and the fence, but getting over the stile and fence in one go was too far. I managed to cross somehow, not very elegantly.

Back at Braunston, just the hill to climb up to the village

It was a pleasant walk, done in good walking weather – warm but with a breeze. The countryside was not spectacular, but that is characteristic of this region.