Checkendon Walk, Chilterns

A very pleasant walk exploring the attractive woods and landscape in and around the village of Checkendon in South Oxfordshire.

Technical sheet No. 29630613

A Checkendon walk posted on 01/01/23 by Chiltern Society. Last update : 02/01/23
Calculated time Calculated time: 2h45[?]
Distance Distance : 8.73 km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 100 m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 93 m
Highest point Highest point : 185 m
Lowest point Lowest point : 135 m
Moderate Difficulty : Moderate
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Chiltern Hills
Location Location : Checkendon
Starting point Starting point : N 51.531942° / W 1.050331°
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Start: The Highwayman Inn, Exlade Street, Checkendon, (RG8 0UA) (A). Grid ref. SU 659 818

(D/A) From the Highwayman Inn car park turn left along the road for 40m to a footpath on the right (North-East) just after Mulberry Cottage. Follow this footpath (often overgrown) for 100m to reach a field. Keep to the right of the field close to a hedge and head uphill to the corner of the field.

Take the footpath going half right into a copse. Just before a fence with a small gate in it turn sharp left and after 30m pass through a kissing gate into a field. Follow the fence to the left of the field for 390m to another kissing gate. Cross over a bridleway, through the next gate and continue straight on across the field towards a further gate at a road (Uxmore Road).

(1) Turn right along the road to Checkendon Church on the left and The Forge on the right (B).

(2) Turn right just after The Forge along a lane for 50m. Bear slightly left (almost straight on) onto a wide footpath opposite a timber yard. Continue straight along ignoring all crossing paths. After a metal kissing gate continue ahead across a track passing an overgrown gate. Cross the field to a further gate on the far side of the field to reach a road (Whitehall Lane).

(3) Turn right (South-East) along the road for 180m and turn right through a gate. Follow this footpath (South-West) keeping a fence bordering a field on the left and a wood on the right. At the corner of the field turn left keeping close to fence and field to reach a gate. Continue through the gate maintaining the fence on the left and the wood on the right to a T-junction with a bridleway. Turn right (South-West) along the often muddy track for 400m to two isolated houses.

(4) The track bends right but continue straight ahead following the bridleway past Beechwood Cottage on the left. Continue straight along the bridleway, ignoring crossing paths, to reach Lower Farm at a road (C). Cross the road and continue on the bridleway to the next road.

(5) Bear half right over the road and follow the bridleway for 270m to reach a wood. After a further 150m turn right (West) at an unsigned crossing path. Proceed slightly uphill and follow the path for 500m as it winds through the wood to reach an old concrete paved area. Fork right to pass through an opening in a timber fence at a road.

(6) Turn right (North) along the road for 70m and left onto a bridleway. After a short distance cross straight over a busy road (A4074), through an opening in a timber fence and turn left along a well-defined path. At a crossing track, turn right and follow the path as it becomes a gravel track and follow it downhill ignoring paths to left and right. Just before the bottom of the hill fork right and follow the white arrows for 220m to a crossing bridleway at fence openings.

(7) Turn right (West) and follow the path through a wood keeping close to an open field on the right for 600m to reach a crossing track. Turn right (North), and on reaching the houses, turn right along a gravel drive passing Strings Cottage on the right. Stop and admire the extensive views from a couple of points along the way. Continue straight along a concrete drive to reach a road with the Black Lion pub on the corner (D).

(8) Turn right (North-East) along the road making use of the tarmac path lower down on the left that runs parallel to the road. Cross over Grimmer Way and, after a further 180m, turn right to meet the road as it bends left. Cross the road and follow a tarmac drive with a golf course on the left.

Continue along this drive past St Phillip House and follow the waymark discs along the drive of The Oratory School (E). Pass to the left of the Alf Gillham Range and at a ‘field gun’ bear right towards grassed areas and a cricket scoreboard. Continue to a marker post beneath trees and straight on to a gate in the perimeter fence.

(9) Go through the gate and descend the steep steps to a road (A4074). Carefully cross the road and climb the steep steps passing through a gate at the top. Continue straight across a field to a kissing gate at a road. Turn right along the road to return to the Highwayman Inn.(D/A)

"We hope you have enjoyed your walk. Please remember to rate the walk and add comments. We are interested in how we could improve the instructions or the route and would like to hear about any issues with paths on the walk."

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 146 m - The Highwayman Inn
1 : km 1.07 - alt. 171 m - Uxmore Road
2 : km 1.47 - alt. 173 m - The Forge - Lane
3 : km 1.99 - alt. 171 m - Whitehall Lane
4 : km 3.32 - alt. 163 m - Cottages - Right bend
5 : km 4.02 - alt. 141 m - Hook End
6 : km 5.08 - alt. 156 m - Road
7 : km 6.19 - alt. 144 m - Crossing bridleway
8 : km 7.22 - alt. 185 m - Black Lion Pub
9 : km 8.54 - alt. 153 m - Perimeter Fence
D/A : km 8.73 - alt. 147 m - The Highwayman Inn

Useful Information

Start & finish: The Highwayman Inn, Exlade Street, Checkendon, (RG8 0UA) (A). Grid ref. SU 659 818

Parking: The Highwayman Inn, Exlade Street, Checkendon, RG8 0UA. Walkers may use the car park and the Inn opens at 9.30am to allow walkers to use the facilities.

Local transport: Bus X40 runs between Reading and Oxford all week and stops near Woodcote.

Terrain: A fairly easy walk which can be muddy on the bridleways around Heath End. One climb up to Greenmoor Hill. There are steep steps with handrails each side of the A4074.

Food & Drink: The Highwayman Inn at Exlade Road and The Black Lion pub at Greenmoor Hill. If you wish to have lunch or dinner at the Highwayman Inn it is recommended booking in advance as it is very popular.

These notes were drawn up with the assistance of Tim Corbishley, a local resident and parish councilor. Find more walks and information at Chiltern Society here.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

(A) The Highwaymann Inn : Dates back to the 16th century and was previously called The Greyhound. It is now described as a restaurant & café and won the Chiltern Society’s Walkers’ and Cyclists’ Pub Award for 2015.

Exlade Street: Evidence of early man in the area was found when a Neolithic flint tranchet axe dating from 3,000 BC was found in the garden of Mulberry House near the Highwayman Inn. Exlade Street was up to the 18thC a settlement of over 50 buildings including 6 barns, plus several roadside ponds. It formed a major stopping place one day’s march from Oxford towards Reading. Musket balls have been found on the hillside probably from a civil war position. Several houses in the row have remnants of a medieval cruck frame style of construction.

(B) Checkendon Village: Records exist showing that there has been a continuous settlement in the area since the 7th century AD. The current population of 500 has remained constant since the national census in 1931. Walking through the village, on the right is the former Four Horseshoes public house. Next on the right is Langtree Cottage which is an elaborate Arts and Crafts house built in 1907. On the left is the 15thC The Lodge and further on the right is Foundry House, part of which is a two bay cruck beam house typical of this area, timber ring dated to a construction date of 1468. Opposite this house is the 12thC church of St Peter and St Paul which was built by friars from the monastry at Bec in Normandy. The Lych Gate is the village war memorial with names engraved internally along the top beams. Inside see the typical dogtooth Norman arches, and medieval paintings around the altar. There is also a Whistler window in memory of local artist and sculptor Eric Kennington.

(C) Hook End Manor south east of Checkendon once housed a recording studio where bands such as Marillion, the Cure and Manic Street Preachers have made albums. The Manor is now owned by an absentee Russian oligarch and falling into some disrepair.

(D) Woodcote: The walk passes the outer edge of Woodcote village, one of the highest in the south Chilterns. It has a number of listed buildings. The large mast just before the village was erected after WWII to carry out radio and television experiments.

(E) The Oratory School: The school moved to Woodcote House in 1942 but was founded in 1859 by Cardinal Newman, at the request of a group of eminent Catholic laymen. It is an independent Roman Catholic boarding and day school for boys. It now educates about 400 boys from all religions.

Opinions and comments


Global average : 4.33/5
Number of opinions : 1
Clarity of route description : 4/5
Clarity of route map : 5/5
Walk interest : 4/5

on Sat 28 Jan 2023 11:54:28 CET

Thanks for the review. We plan to check the walk in the next few months - I will ask the checker to look at that turn to see if we can improve the instructions.

on Sat 28 Jan 2023 11:00:43 CET

Global average : 4.33 / 5

Date of walk : 28/01/23
Clarity of route description : ★★★★☆ Good
Clarity of route map : ★★★★★ Very good
Walk interest : ★★★★☆ Good

A lovely walk on a frosty but very sunny January day, with some variety of habitats, lovely woods, and pleasant scenery on the whole, but no exceptional viewpoints. The walk wasn't muddy because it was frozen, but I think on another day you'd need really good shoes. Instructions were very clear, and mostly I ignored the map and GPS, except we missed the turn-off between #5 and #6 and arrived at the main road in the wrong place - possibly because I wasn't paying attention - which is when the GPS came in handy!

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