'What a View' walk from Upton House and Gardens
Upton House and Gardens, near Banbury OX15 6HTRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Arable ambling, panoramic vistas, big skies and the frisson of a historic battle
- 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 and 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 set in the hedge on the horizon.
Cross the stile and take the straight path over two fields to Sugarswell Lane.
Cross the road then cross the field diagonally to the left to reach the field gate in the corner next to the woodland.
Go through the gate and follow the woodland track to the right 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.
Shenington Gliding Club lies just a mile or so to the south (on your left) and occupies the site of RAF Edgehill which was a Second World War Bomber Command RAF base. 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.
You are at the escarpment of Edge Hill where a rewarding view of north Warwickshire unfolds. It stands at 700 feet (215 metres) above sea level and is the most north-easterly outcrop of the Cotswolds. If you are lucky the Malvern Hills will be in view 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 Edge Hill. When you are ready, proceed along the escarpment to the next iron gate and through the woodland passing the paddocks on the right and the stables on the left. Viscount Bearsted chose this property for his hunting retreat in the area until his acquisition of Upton House.
In October 1642, King Charles 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. On 23 October, he descended the steep slope to engage in what was to be the first major battle of the English Civil War. Around 1500 combatants died and many others from both sides left the killing fields either to flee or to loot. After an inconclusive result, King Charles continued onward.
At the farm turn right onto the short metalled lane. At the T junction with another lane, turn left down to the A422 at Sun Rising Hill.
Turn right on to the A422, taking great care since there is no pedestrian footway. Follow the verge and cross the minor road on the corner until you reach the green and white topped gate on the right. Walk along the boundary wall and through the gate.
The A422 heads towards the Castle Inn, about a mile away. It reputedly marks the spot where King Charles' army descended the steep escarpment slope to engage Parliamentary forces at Edge Hill. The tower at the inn was constructed to mark the 100th anniversary of the battle.
Proceed down the fields and retrace your steps back to the car park ready to recharge yourself in Upton's restaurant.
End: National Trust car park at Upton House and Gardens; grid ref: SP371461
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 2.3 miles (4 km)
- Time: 1 to 1.5 hours
- OS Map: Explorer 206
Mostly easy going on established footpaths and fields. Parts are slippy in wet weather especially along the edge of the Edgehill ridge and it includes a number of stiles. It crosses farmland in places so dogs must be kept under close control. Dogs are not permitted within the grounds of Upton House (assistance dogs excepted)
- How to get here:
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 hard standing for cars and coaches with grass-surfaced overflow, gates locked at 5.30pm; picnic tables
Within Upton House and Gardens:
- 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 around
- Telephone: 01295 670266
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/upton-house/visitor-information/