A medium length walk with some steep climbs around The Unicorn.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) Start from the car park of The Unicorn and walk left past the front of the pub and down the main road towards Sonning Common.
(1) After 300m turn left on to a side road, past Peppard House – note the interesting sculpture in the garden and further on the aptly named ‘The Old Cottage’ opposite the cricket pitch. Follow the road round to the right and observe some fine tree specimens in the garden of the Manor House, including an old false acacia. After the metalled road surface ends, continue to follow the track round a long left hand bend ignoring two footpaths off to the right. As the track straightens take the footpath on the right that takes a windy route downhill. Keep to the same path and bear left when other paths come in from the right then walk up to a minor road.
(2) Cross the road and slightly to the left follow the bridleway through a continuation of the woods. For about 400m the track follows the boundary of a flat area with banks around it. (Does anyone know what this area might have been once?). After 400m the track crosses another track and passes through fields up along the dry valley bottom. (The views here are exceptional and it is worth taking a short rest to take in the panorama. Further along the path the hedge has an interesting mixture of species, including the usual blackthorn, hawthorn, hazel and dog rose, but also a lot of wild gooseberry and spindle which has very attractive but deadly poisonous pink-orange fruits in autumn).
(3) At the end of the fields the path enters a mature beech wood, follow the path for 300m then take the left fork up the hill and along the field edge and left again near the top of the hill.
(4) Cross the road linking Kingwood Common to Witheridge Hill and enter Kingwood Common. Take the right fork soon after entering this section and continue walking in a westerly direction for about 600m, until you reach a small road. When you reach the road turn left and look for a right turn almost immediately. This path continues through some houses to the main road between Sonning Common and Stoke Row.
(5) Cross the road and follow the track through more woodland in a westerly direction towards Wyfold. After about 300m you will pass some houses on your right and shortly after you should reach a road leading to Wyfold Court.Continue across the road towards Wyfold and after about 200m the path leaves the woodland and crosses farmland to the left, with superb views to the south. To the right you may catch a glimpse of Wyfold Court but it is very well screened by trees and hard to see.
(6) Continue along the path until you reach Wyfold Road and turn left. (The vineyard to the left, which produces an award winning sparkling wine, with the rather original name ‘Wyfold’). Walk on along the road until you reach Wyfold, a hamlet of about half a dozen houses. Just after the entrance on your right to Wyfold Grange, turn right into a field. Walk slightly downhill through the field for about 400m, at the field boundary follow the path into a magical tunnel of laurel, it’s very easy to miss this entrance but it is marked by a partially obscured waymark post.
(7) After another 400m pass by a wooden gate and enter the woods of New Copse then after a short distance go through a gap in a wooden fence and immediately turn left on to a footpath marked by another waymark post. Follow the path through the wood for about 800 m in a north easterly direction following white arrows on trees. As the woodland starts to thin the path splits; take the left hand fork following the white arrow on a tree, ignoring an unmarked but well used permissive path off to the right. Follow the path for a short distance then take the next right hand fork and follow the path for a few more metres until you reach a metal kissing gate at the north eastern edge of New Copse. Walk out of woodland into a field and follow the path in a south easterly direction, for about 200m, towards a mature hedge on the left.
(8) At the hedge the path intersects with another path (going north – south); turn left on to this path and go through the hedge via a style (that is almost hidden by the hedge). Walk slightly uphill and after 400m the path meets Wyfold Lane, go through a metal kissing gate and turn right onto Wyfold Lane and continue on for about 500m. At the end of this road you will reach the main road linking Sonning Common and Stoke Row. Cross the road and the Unicorn will be visible in front of you.(D/A)
D/A : km 0 - alt. 116m - The Unicorn
1 : km 0.22 - alt. 112m - Peppard House
2 : km 0.9 - alt. 90m - Colliers Lane
3 : km 1.61 - alt. 100m - End of the fields
4 : km 2.53 - alt. 132m - Road
5 : km 3.24 - alt. 134m - Road
6 : km 4.43 - alt. 118m - Wyfold Road
7 : km 6.03 - alt. 128m - New Copse
8 : km 7.03 - alt. 97m - Intersection of paths
D/A : km 7.8 - alt. 116m - The Unicorn
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Wyfold Grange is probably linked to the original grange belonging to Thame Abbey and is now a Victorian house surrounded by a major earthwork. The earthwork may be Iron Age in date, or it could possibly represent later defensive works. The former seems more likely.
A medium length walk with some uphill sections around The Unicorn.
A short easy walk with one downhill and one uphill section.
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