Walk 3 - Trafford & views
This footpath steers clear of any HS2 activity, is quite hilly in places, but you are rewarded with some lovely views towards Edgcote, Eydon and Chipping Warden.
From The Green take the footpath to the right of The Manor through Fulford Stables. You start off with a stile and then follow the path down the fields which are divided into pony paddocks. The footpath takes the left-hand side by the hedge. This way there are a few stiles to cross. In wet weather the horses make the areas around these and the gates rather muddy.
At the bottom of the fields, cross a stile and take the footpath on the left which winds its way round the field. A bit overgrown, but passable. The footpath sign further round on the left, crosses a small bridge and then a diagonal path across the field towards the old railway line.
This line opened in 1913 and was part of the link line from Woodford Halse to Banbury. It connected the Great Central line to the Great Western line. Culworth station closed in 1956 and the last train ran along this line in 1966. Today this old railway line is in private hands and unlike some old railway lines is not part of a public footpath system.
After crossing the old railway line, up a small slope and then turn right along the field, parallel with the line. When you get to the old bridge (originally part of the footpath but now closed because of fears of it falling down) cross the field diagonally to the left-hand corner. Here it is worth a stop to look back and admire the view back to the western part of Culworth.
Turn left here keeping to a very well-maintained footpath, but take care… this is badger country and their setts have extended to take in this footpath. Further along on the left is a well-established badger area with many setts…. if you pass by in the evening you will be sure to see many badgers either playing or setting out on foraging expeditions.
Follow the path round by the fences and hedges. There are some wonderful views here towards Edgcote House and Eydon Hall. Over the stile onto the Eydon road, turn left along the road for about 20 metres and then right at the footpath sign into a field with sheep. Walk diagonally to the right-hand corner of the field, and straight over the next field. The path goes straight through the middle of the field down towards the River Cherwell. (Once again stop to admire the views. Listen for a skylark.) You should see a small bridge at the end of the field on the right. Cross the river, turn left across a beautiful if very wet buttercup meadow (this is the site of the Mediaeval village of Trafford) towards another bridge.
At this point keep straight ahead to the left of Trafford Farm and don’t follow the bridleway sign. The third bridge is on the left, through a small copse, then a field, tackle a most difficult stile on the opposite side and then start coming back towards Culworth.
Always keep the hedge to the right. The path goes through a copse of relatively newly planted trees, round a small lake with an island surrounded by bullrushes. The footpath is the next gap (signposted… just).
Follow the path keeping the hedge on the right by the edge of a field. Keep on the same path (ignoring the footpath sign on the right!), keeping the hedge on the right all the time. At the end of the field carry straight on… hedge on the left this time. At the barns take the footpath diagonally across the field, over a stile, across a field and out to the Eydon Road junction at the bottom of the hill and then up the road back to the start at The Green.
This walk is quite strenuous, but even allowing for stops and slower than average walking we still managed it in an hour and a half. Some of the walk is through fields with sheep so dog owners must make sure their charges are on leads. There are some wonderful views and the prospect of seeing badgers adds to the interest.