Do you love taking in your history on foot, perhaps with a four-legged friend at your side? For me, it is combining two of the greatest pleasures in life. Often this way of taking in historic Tudor buildings opens up vistas on picturesque properties that you don’t see as a visitor arriving with the crowds, and by the usual routes.
So if your walking boots are your best friend, and you want to take in swathes of glorious English countryside and enchanting Tudor properties all in one go, then this section of the blog is just for you!
Each walk that I cover here will either have been walked by me, or another Tudor time traveller contributing to the site. Some I will write-up myself; others I will borrow (with full credits and links given to the original site). After all, in walking these routes, I invariably go to professional walking sites or books for inspiration. I am not a serious rambler, just a Tudor history enthusiast who loves roaming the English countryside and uncovering the next ‘hidden’ gem. My aim is to find some of the best of these walks for you and bring them together here, in one place.
This first walk is close to my heart, as it starts and ends in the sleepy Warwickshire village of Tysoe, close to where I live. It takes you on a circuit which, toward the end, has fine views out over the simply delectable manor of Compton Wynyates.
Compton Wynyates – Background
Compton Wynyates is without doubt THE Tudor house I most lust after seeing the inside of. It once belonged to Sir William Compton, who died here of the dreaded Sweat on 30th June 1528. He was subsequently buried in the nearby chapel. It was also visited by Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon during the early years of the king’s reign. Sadly, (and I weep at the fact) the house, once open to the public, is now the private home of the Marquess of Northampton and is entirely inaccessible. A big notice at the top of the driveway makes it clear that interested visitors are not exactly welcome! However, it is supposed to be one of the most unspoilt Tudor manor houses in the country – and will be the subject of an up-and-coming blog post on this site. I will get you inside by hook or by crook!
So, to whet your appetite, let’s take a walk. This one is taken from the excellent AA travel / walks site. Click on the link if you wish to print off a map of the walk.
Top Tips for Walkers:
Bring your binoculars to get the best view of the manor from Windmill Hill. On a fine day, a picnic on the hill is a great option. You can just sit and enjoy the unspoilt view. Alternatively, I can recommend The Castle Inn at Edgehill, about 3 miles away. It is a pub with fabulous character and views across the plain below, where the Battle of Edgehill was fought during the English Civil War on 23rd October 1642.
Distance 6 miles (9.7km)
Minimum time 2hrs 30min
Ascent/gradient 298ft (90m)
Level of difficulty Medium
Paths Field paths, tracks and roads, 10 stiles
Landscape Undulating countryside on edge of Cotswolds
Suggested map aqua3 OS Explorer 206 Edge Hill & Fenny Compton
Start/finish SP 338437
Dog friendliness On lead or under control across farmland
Parking Spaces in Tysoe
Public toilets: None on route
Refreshments: The Village Stores, tea room and deli (Postcode:CV35 0SE) on Main Street, Tysoe.
1 Make for the southern end of Upper Tysoe and look for the turning signposted ‘Shenington and Banbury’. Follow the road, keeping Middleton Close on the left, and turn right just before the speed de-restriction signs at a gate and footpath sign. Keep alongside the field boundary to a stile in the corner and continue ahead across the field to the next stile. Keep ahead in the next field, passing under power lines, and make for a plank bridge and stile in the boundary hedge ahead. Go straight on up the field slope and, on reaching the brow of the hill, look for a stile and plank bridge in the hedge by the road.
2 Turn left and follow the road as it curves right and up the hill. Pass Broomhill Farm and continue ahead to the first crossroads. Turn right here, signposted ‘Compton Wynyates’, and pass a turning on the left to Winderton. Follow the lane along to the main entrance to Compton Wynyates on the right.
3 Keep walking ahead, passing a house on the left-hand side and, as the road begins to curve left, look for a galvanised gate and stile on the right. Join the green lane and follow it to the next gate and stile. Continue ahead and, when the track curves to the left, go straight ahead over a stile and up the edge of the field. Pass a ruined stone-built barn and make for the top corner of the field. Take some steps up the bank before climbing steeply but briefly up to a stile. Keep a stone wall and a restored windmill on your left-hand side and look over to the right for a splendid view of Compton Wynyates house.
4 Make for a stile a few paces ahead and then follow the path over the high ground, keeping to the right of the windmill. Make for a hedge corner ahead, pass through the gap and then descend the field slope, keeping the hedge on your right. Pass into the next field and keep close to the right-hand boundary. Aim a little to the left of the bottom right corner of the field and make for a stile leading out to the road. Turn right and return to the centre of Tysoe.
I hope you enjoy your walk across this sleepy patch of English countryside. Don’t forget, if you are out and about, I’d love to see your photos; just include #thetudortravelguide!