Pete's Walks - Cowleaze Wood and Turville Heath (page 1 of 4)

If you are considering walking this route yourself, please see my disclaimer. You may also like to see these notes about the maps.

Google map of the walk

I did this circular walk of about 11 miles on Saturday, 5th May 2018. It was a repeat of one of my favourite walks in the Chilterns which I hadn't done for several years.

I parked in the large car park at Cowleaze Wood (Grid Reference SU 726956) and started walking about 10.30am. I walked through the car park with the road to my right, taking a short path out of the end of the car park that soon brought me to the road. On the other side of the road two paths start either side of a narrow tree belt, and I took the furthest one. This crossed a huge empty pasture (there are occasionally cows here), aiming just left of the left end of a line of conifers. On the far side of the pasture I went over a stile and followed a short track through a narrow part of Shirburn Wood. The path soon left the wood, and gradually descended the southern side of Shirburn Hill, with a wonderful view ahead over the Oxfordshire Plain. At the bottom of the slope, the path goes through a gate and immediately turns right (a track goes straight on), then after a few yards turns left to follow the bottom edge of Shirburn Wood with fields on the right. This goes on for several hundred yards, the path going right at a field corner before turning left again after another couple of hundred yards. The path then leaves the fields and briefly enters the wood, going slightly left to a gate beyond which a track leads on round the foot of the scrub-covered Pyrton Hill, eventually reaching a surfaced drive, where I turned left.

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The start of the path from Cowleaze Wood to Pyrton

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The path descending the south side of Shirburn Hill

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The path descending the south side of Shirburn Hill

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The path continuing past Shirburn Wood

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The path continuing past Shirburn Wood

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The path continuing past the foot of Pyrton Hill

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The path continuing past the foot of Pyrton Hill

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The path continuing past the foot of Pyrton Hill (Watlington Hill now directly ahead)

I followed the drive to its end, passing a Timber Yard and 'Cat Hotel' on my right, then continued straight on along a bridleway heading uphill - I usually describe this as going up Pyrton Hill, but it actually goes up the end of the short valley between Pyrton Hill (to my left) and Watlington Hill. I looked for and soon spotted some Fallow Deer on Pyrton Hill, it's one of the most reliable spots I know for seeing them (although they are always a fair distance away). Towards the top of the hill I took a footpath that forked half-right, crossing part of a sheep pasture to a path junction by a kissing-gate in a hedge, where I turned left and followed the hedge (on my right) to reach a minor road on the edge of Christmas Common.

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The start of the bridleway from Pyrton

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Fallow Deer on Pyrton Hill (this is usually a good place to see them)

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Looking left to Pyrton Hill

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The bridleway from Pyrton

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The path to Christmas Common

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The path to Christmas Common

I turned right and followed the road through Christmas Common, going straight on where roads went off to the right and then half-left. Shortly after passing the Fox And Hounds pub on my right, I took a footpath on the left that passed the former church (to my right) and entered Queen Wood. On the far side it turned left down a drive for a few yards to reach Hollandridge Lane, where I turned right. Just after passing the last house on the right, I took a bridleway on the left that dropped gently downhill through a wood called Prior's Grove.

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The road through Christmas Common

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The path through Queen Wood at Christmas Common

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Hollandridge Lane, Christmas Common

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Near the start of the bridleway in Prior's Grove