Thrupp and Shipton on Cherwell walk along the Oxford Canal
Thrupp and Shipton on Cherwell are only minutes from the excitment of central Oxford. The tiny Oxfordshire picture postcard villages of Thrupp and Shipton on Cherwell (near Kidlington) are secret treasures of the English countryside. From the very first step of this gentle walk you will experience pastoral tranquillity as you view pretty Cotswold stone cottages, waterside wildlife and uniquely styled narrowboats and canal barges. At a leisurely pace this circular walk takes 1 hour.
From the A4260 (Oxford to Banbury road) take the turnoff marked Thrupp only. As you approach Thrupp village take note of The Boat Inn. You may want to visit The Boat Inn, a traditional canal side country pub, on completion of your walk.
Park near the pub which is at the start of this circular walk.
Begin your walk at the little lane which starts at the left of the pub. You will pass several beautiful stone cottages on your right. Pass through the farm gate that leads to a field and shady tree lined path. You will soon see the Oxford canal on the right. Continue straight on until you come to a gate which leads down to the canal.
Follow the tow path until you arrive at Shipton on Cherwell and the Holy Cross parish church. There are wonderful views over the Oxford Canal from the church yard. The quiet village of Shipton on Cherwell is well worth exploring. Although the village seems to be lost in time, Shipton manor house was once owned by none other than Richard Branson.
Cross the canal using the footbridge. Here you can take a detour straight on across farm fields to the forgotten village of Hampton Gay where you will find tiny St. Giles' church and the ruins of Hampton Gay's 16th century manor house. Once you are back on the tow path continue on towards Thrupp.
This is a particularly pleasant part of the walk. Stretched along the banks of the canal are converted narrowboats and barges of every description. The boats vary from no-nonsense house boats, to extravagantly appointed pleasure palaces sporting satellite technology and powerful bow/stern thrusters for precision handling on the narrow Oxford Canal.
Another point of interest here is that you notice you are walking between two waters... the Oxford canal on the right and the River Cherwell on the left, creating an attractive habitat for a multitude of water fowl and other wildlife.
Continuing on, you reach the turning basin. This is where the canal is wide enough to turn even the largest boats around so they can head in the opposite direction. At the mouth of the turning basin is a drawbridge which can be raised so narrowboats may pass.
At this point you may be in need of refreshment. If so, instead of crossing the drawbridge turn left and enjoy a popular canal side treat, Annie's Tea Room.
Once you cross the drawbridge, (make sure it's down) walk along the lane between more beautiful narrowboats and a row of picturesque stone cottages. By the way, this row of cottages once featured in an episode of the Oxford based television series Inspector Morse, starring John Thaw and Kevin Whately.
At the end of the row of cottages follow the lane around to the right and you are back where you started at the Boat Inn.