Walk 5 - Eydon
Start halfway down the hill opposite Paddocks Farm. The footpath on the other side of the road takes you past Tythe Hall, originally a beautiful old 17th century tithe barn, converted in the 1980’s to a magnificent private house. Originally it would have held the tithes, a payment of one tenth of the produce from the local farmers for the upkeep of the parish church.
Over the stile, following the field downhill through what was part of one of the original mediaeval strip farming fields. At the time of the enclosure in 1612 there were 3 fields in Culworth and Westhill was one of them containing 483 acres. It can be very muddy at the bottom of this field in wet weather. Over the stream, across the field and over 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. At the corner into the next field, the footpath goes straight across, but if unmarked you can walk around the edge of the field parallel with the old railway line. If you cross the field, the footpath continues over the farm track, keeping to the right of the hedge. If you go round the field make sure you take the marked path not the first one.
Continue along the footpath until there is a gap in the hedge. Left here. Once again, the footpath should go right through the field but if not marked you can walk round the outside. Head towards the river and through a small spinney you should find a bridge that crosses the river, through some more trees and then over a stile and into Eydon Park.
The path through the field is well marked, the gate on the other side leads to an estate path. Keep along this tarmac path, past Eydon Hall on the left, and then take a diagonal path across the park on the left towards the church. Turn left and walk through the churchyard. At the end of the churchyard turn left along the road towards Culworth.
Do not take the first footpath on the right, but carry on past the Cricket field and Old Rectory and take the footpath that runs behind the stud farm. Continue straight along keeping the fence on the left. Through the first gate, across the field to the middle of the hedge in front. A double gate and then through the field keeping along the right-hand side by the hedge. The next gate leads you into the site of the Mediaeval village of Trafford. Keep to the left and you will see the bridge which you cross. This bit can be very muddy and may have been the site of one of the many water mills that were along the River Cherwell around here.
Over the bridge and the footpath goes straight across this field. Head for the pylon set on the right. A footpath sign is on here. At the top head for the trees on the far side. (you should keep straight across this field) into a field usually occupied by sheep. There is an old stile on the right of the gate.
The footpath goes across the middle of this field to the hedge by the road.
From here you can turn right along the road and back into Culworth or you can turn left and then right along the footpath. This footpath will lead you past the badger setts. Keep to the right and then through the gap into the next field, diagonally towards the old railway line and retrace your steps back to Culworth.
This is quite a long walk – it took us 2 and a half hours with stops for a chat with other walkers and rest stops to admire the views.