St Birinus Part 1: Blewbury Down – Churn Hill - Blewbury

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The first part of this walk follows a gently sloping path over the shoulder of Churn Hill, where in summer lots of wildflowers can be seen, up onto Blewbury Down. Here it turns onto a bridleway slightly below the famous Ridgeway long-distance path. The views over the Thames Valley are stunning, with Blewburton Hill and Wittenham Clumps rising above the valley floor. The walk then briefly drops, to rise again alongside racehorse gallops, heading for the top of Churn Hill. A short distance away (but on private land) can be seen the tumulus of Churn Knob, where St Birinus preached and King Cygnalis listened and became a believer in the Christian Gospel. The walk then descends a bridleway to the village of Blewbury, following the route of the annual Birinus Pilgrimage.

The final part of the walk explores the charming village of Blewbury, which sits at the level where springs emerge from the chalk, providing crystal-clear streams that lace the village. There are many thatched cottages with 'chocolate-box' gardens full of colour. Even some of the footpaths are bounded by walls which are thatched. The walk passes through the churchyard of the church of St Michael, which is well worth a visit – its nave dating from the 11th Century and various additions being made up to the 15th Century. The graveyard is now managed for wildlife as a meadow where a wide array of flowers can be seen in season. From here the walk turns back over more streams and past more beautiful cottages to the car park on the edge of the village.

For more information about the St Birinus Walks please go to St Birinus

England - Central England - Oxfordshire - Thames Valley

Features

Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Church, Flowers, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Pub, Wildlife
30/08/2011 - Cathy Block

I completed this walk on the August Bank Holiday and was struck by the variety and profusion of wild flowers on the path up to Churn Hill and alongside the gallops further along the route. The views from Churn Hill across to Wittenham Clumps and beyond are worth seeing and this is a pleasant undemanding route suitable for the whole family. Look out for the disused railway, old chalk pit and plenty of red kites circling above en route. We slightly lengthened the walk by taking the second field path back to Churn Hill instead. I think it was slightly more overgrown but worth it if you enjoy wildflowers.

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