Cotswold Line Cycle Route: Charlbury to Oxford

Following the railway to the dreaming spires

The Cotswold Line Cycle Route is a long-distance cycle route running in parallel with Charlbury's railway - so you can go as far as you like, then take the train back. This ride follows the Evenlode Valley downstream to the university city of Oxford. You can see a dedicated map and route description at the Cotswold Cycling website (showing an alternative route from Charlbury to East End).

  1. Start in the centre of Charlbury by the Bull and Rose & Crown. Cycle down Church Street in the direction of Witney, and continue to follow the road as it becomes Park Street.
  2. After around 500m, turn right down the lane to Cornbury Park, crossing the railway and the river. Before the main gates, turn left on the permissive path. Follow the fence line to a gate, then manoeuvre your bike through, and follow the tarmacked drive past the Southill Business Park to the main road. (Confident cyclists on road bikes may prefer to follow the busy B4022 instead, as shown on the map on the Cotswold Cycling website, but do take care - this is a very busy road with blind bends.)
  3. Turn right uphill on the main road to Finstock. As the village begins, turn left. Continue downhill to the Plough Inn - an excellent, cyclist-friendly pub with real ale and cider.
  4. By the Plough, turn left, then left at the next crossroads after a mile, taking an enjoyable downhill on very quiet roads.
  5. At the crossroads at the bottom of the valley, continue straight on (signposted East End) and haul yourself up the steep hill. At the top of the hill you'll enter East End, where the historically curious can lock their bike and take a walk down a track to the left to the North Leigh Roman Villa. Continue through East End, passing a wood on the left, to a T junction.
  6. At the T junction turn left, then immediately left again on the cycle path along the A4095. Follow the cycle path into the village of Long Hanborough. There are several pubs, a cycle repair shop, and a Co-op here for provisions.
  7. At Hanborough station, you can choose to take the train back to Charlbury, or continue cycling onto Oxford. If you continue cycling, you'll need to join the busy A4095 for half a mile - take care.
  8. After you have left Long Hanborough, take the second rural road to the right, signposted Cassington. Follow this quiet road south, crossing a railway bridge.
  9. Turn left at the next T-junction and follow the road (which can be busy in rush hour) to the pleasant village of Yarnton. Continue through Yarnton to the A44.
  10. At the roundabout in Yarnton, turn right on the cycle track. From here, follow the National Cycle Network Route 5 signs to Oxford. These will take you along the road, down onto the canal towpath, and then into Oxford on back streets. (Alternatively, you can follow the canal towpath all the way.) The railway station is well signposted in Oxford for your return journey!
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