The Shenington Round
Upton House and Gardens, near Banbury, OX15 6HTRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Arable ambling in Warwickshire's green countryside. Huge vistas, big skies and the frisson of a historic battle. Stop off at an inn overlooking the village green.
- Bus stop
Start: National Trust car park at Upton House and Gardens, grid ref: SP371461
In the car park, with your back to the main road head for the grassy knoll in the far right hand corner of the boundary. Cross the stile, keep to the right. When the farm buildings come into view continue to the end of the fenced compound then turn left, cross the valley and head for the stile on the horizon.
Take the straight path over two fields to Sugarswell Lane.
Cross the lane, take the field gate and proceed diagonally to the left to the far corner next to the field gate. Turn left and follow the track along the woodland edge until you reach a narrow road. Turn left and walk up the road to the boundary crossing back over Sugarswell Lane and down the track immediately ahead and through the gate.
You are following the Macmillan Way, a long distance footpath from Boston in Lincolnshire to Abbotsbury in Dorset stretching some 290 miles (476 km). The route was devised to raise much needed funds for Macmillan cancer relief to which all proceeds are donated. Continue on down the pasture land following the arrows through Upton Estate. At the field gate turn right and follow the boundary hedgerow along the bottom of the arable field and past the old stone barns.
Picking up the track to the north of the barns and below the woodland turn right to the iron gate. Carry straight on following the obvious field tracks through the gate and slightly heading off to the right past the field jump and upwards to the iron gate on the right at the bottom of the steep hill. Follow the field track along the woodland boundary to the next field gate. Proceed through the gate and head slightly right before heading down to the bottom right hand corner of the field and through the gate. This area can be very boggy! Over the narrow bridge and back up the field and through the kissing gate at the top.
Turn right heading for Shenington and walk up the road for 300m. You can turn off right when you see the Bell Inn. Overlooking a charming village green you can halt a while for a rewarding refreshment stop with great food. Made of the local Hornton ironstone, as is much of the village, the pub dates back to 1722.
Take a break at the Bell Inn at Shenington Village.
After refreshments carry on down through the cottages to the field gate.
Continue along the stone track to the first of the old airfield run ways. Cross over with caution and proceed along the boundary fence passing over the next run way to the iron gate way at the end of the track.
Shenington Gliding Club occupies the site of RAF Edgehill which was a Second World War Bomber Command RAF base. It would have been named RAF Shenington but for the existence of a base in Scotland with a similar name. It was used for both bomber training and operational bombing flights to Germany. In 1942 it was also selected for test flights of the first British jet aircraft, the Gloster E28/39 Pioneer invented by (Sir) Frank Whittle. His manufacturing company was nearby, as was his birthplace, just 30 miles away in Coventry.
Follow the track diagonally down the arable land and around the headland to the right of the next field to the gate way. Turn left passing by the stone yard and Sugarswell Business Park on the right to Sugarswell Lane some 400m ahead.
Cross over the road and follow the track to the woodland.
Turn right at the woodland to follow the undulating track along the top of the woodland boundary to the narrow road and cross over. Follow the woodland track all the way to the end and through the iron gate. Note that although this section is not a public right of way it is open to walkers by permission of the Upton Estate.
You are at the escarpment of Edgehill, 700 feet (215 metres) above sea level and the most north-easterly outcrop of the Cotswolds. A little farther on a rewarding view of north Warwickshire unfolds and, if you are lucky, the Malvern Hills some 40 miles away. Look out for gliders from the local club or birds soaring on the updraughts caused by the escarpment. You are also looking down on the site of the Battle of Edgehill. Proceed along the escarpment to the next iron gate and through the woodland passing the paddocks on the right.
In October 1642 King Charles had left Shrewsbury to march his army to London where he intended to confront the Parliamentarian army. The King unexpectedly encountered Parliamentary forces near Edge Hill and on 23 October descended the steep slope to engage in what was to be the first major battle of the English Civil War. Neither side was capable of inflicting a decisive result. Around 1500 combatants died and many others from both sides left the killing fields either to flee or to loot.
At the farm turn right on to the metalled lane. Viscount Bearsted chose this property for his hunting retreat in the area until he purchased Upton House which in due course was vested to the National Trust. Notice the old kitchen garden over the road with the interesting but now derelict glass houses. Follow the metalled lane, turn left at the T junction and at the main road turn right.
Caution: there is no pedestrian footway so take care to keep on the wide grass verge (you do not need to cross the road). Follow the verge and cross Sugarswell Lane on the corner until you reach the next green and white topped gate on the left with the arrow. Walk along the boundary wall and through the gate. Proceed down across the fields and at the farm you will recognise the perimeter fence of the compound from where you continue on to the left, back to the car park at Upton House, leaving enough time for tea and a slice of cake at the Pavilion Restaurant (closes at 5pm; closed all day Thursdays except in July and August).
End: National Trust car park at Upton House and Gardens, grid ref: SP371461
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 7 miles (11 km)
- Time: 3 to 4 hours
- OS Map: Explorer 206 Edge Hill and Fenny Compton
Mostly easy going on established footpaths and fields. Parts are slippy in wet weather, especially along the escarpment edge, and it may get boggy near Shenington village. It includes a stile and crosses farmland in places so dogs must be kept under close control. Dogs are not permitted within the grounds at Upton House (assistance dogs excepted).
- How to get here:
On the edge of the Cotswolds between Banbury and Stratford upon Avon
On foot: Footpath SM 177 runs adjacent to property; Centenary Way 0.5 mile, Millenium Way 1 mile
By bike: NCN5 5 miles; Oxfordshire Cycleway 1.5 miles. View local cycle routes on the National Cycle Network website
By train: Banbury station 7 miles then taxi
By car: 8 miles from M40 Exit 12, on A422 7 miles north west of Banbury, 12 miles south east of Stratford upon Avon
Upton House Car Park: Free hardstanding for cars and coaches with grass-surfaced overflow. Gates locked 5.30 pm. Picnic tables.
Inn serving food at 3.7 miles (6 km) from the start
Within Upton House and Gardens (see website for entrance charges):
- Toilets with baby-changing facilities
- Restaurant with hot and cold meals using local produce
- Shop with a wide range of gifts and memorabilia
- Large grounds with beautiful gardens and bags of open space to run round
- Contact us