The Wychwood Loop

Along the Evenlode valley and through the secret forest

Developed as part of the Cotswold Line Cycle Route, this circular route takes in some of the very best country lanes around Charlbury and offers a terrific day's cycling. You can see a dedicated map and route description at the Cotswold Cycling website.

  1. Start in the centre of Charlbury by the Bull and Rose & Crown. Follow the one-way system along Sheep Street (signposted Hixet Wood), then take the first left past the Catholic and Methodist churches, and left again towards the Playing Close. Here, by the Co-op, turn right uphill.
  2. At the crossroads, turn right, then shortly afterwards left (signposted Ditchley). Follow the road out of Charlbury along a gentle uphill.
  3. At the gate of Ditchley Park, turn left along the Salt Way, a slightly bumpy traffic-free 'restricted byway'. Continue along here, as the surface becomes better, to a crossroads with a B road.
  4. Go straight across, and cycle along the undulating road through the village of Taston (take care: gravel on road). Bear right at the headless cross in the village centre, then turn left by the grassy island in the road. Continue out of the village, passing a barn conversion on the left, to Spelsbury.
  5. At Spelsbury, go straight on and follow the road towards Chadlington. You'll pass a turn to the hamlet of Dean on the right - the residence of Prime Minister David Cameron!
  6. In Chadlington, turn right by the cycle-friendly Cafe de la Poste (excellent refreshments available). Pass the deli and butchers, then turn left, descending rapidly to the Tite Inn (currently closed). Haul yourself uphill to the A361.
  7. Head straight across the main road (slight left-then-right dogleg) and follow the quiet lane. Ignore the first turning, and the private drive into the Sarsden Estate (where controversial News International boss Rebekah Brooks lives), and turn left at a crossroads towards Sarsden.
  8. Follow this lovely, quiet road for almost two miles to a T-junction. At the T-junction, turn right, continuing for a short way to a junction with a B road.
  9. Take the B road left (beware traffic), passing the farm belonging to ex-Blur bassist Alex James. Bear left at the next junction, passing Kingham station - offering a route home if you've had enough!
  10. At a junction where the B road makes a sharp right, turn left to Foscot. Take the next left to Foxholes.
  11. Foxholes is a tiny hamlet. Continue roughly straight on, doglegging through the houses, onto a broken-up road (passable for road bikes but with some care). Follow this road as the surface recovers, and continue through the wood to a T-junction.
  12. Turn right and follow the minor road for two miles, ignoring the turn to Milton-under-Wychwood, and passing through farms.
  13. At the Hill Farm crossroads, turn left on a gloriously scenic road halfway up the hillside. Follow this road for two miles, through Upper Milton, and along a tree-lined avenue.
  14. At the A361, go straight across. Turn left at the end of the road, skirting the village of Shipton-under-Wychwood, and continue downhill to the turn for Ascott-under-Wychwood. Turn right and cycle to Ascott.
  15. In Ascott-under-Wychwood, turn right at the junction by the level crossing, and continue steeply uphill to the B road (take care for traffic).
  16. Turn right then immediately left towards Leafield, with excellent views behind you over the Evenlode Valley. After Fairspear Farm, turn left again and cycle into the village, emerging near the newly reopened Fox pub.
  17. At the Fox, turn left, and cycle through Leafield past the church on the right. Turn left towards Chadlington on Hatchings Lane.
  18. Follow this splendid, undulating cycling road down a sharp downhill then up again, with Wychwood Forest and the Cornbury Estate on your right. When the road eventually forks, head right towards Charlbury.
  19. At the main B road, turn right and head downhill into Charlbury, passing the railway station. Watch out for deer darting out from the side of the road!
  20. In Charlbury, turn right halfway up the hill, along Church Lane. At the end of the lane, push your bike through the churchyard. Once out of the churchyard, cycle back up Church Street to return to your start point.
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