Blenheim Park, Combe and North Leigh Roman Villa

This pretty long circular walk explores Blenheim Park with great views of The Lake and the Palace. Then, follow paths (Palladian and Wychwood Ways) in the countryside following River Evenlode until you reach the remains of a large Roman courtyard villa. You finally go back to Woodstock using a section of Oxfordshire Way.

Technical sheet
No. 4278574
A Woodstock walk posted on 30/10/20 by charentimoy. Update : 09/08/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 5h15[?]
Distance Distance : 10.42mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 479ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 482ft
Highest point Highest point : 400ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 233ft
Moderate Difficulty : Moderate
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Cotswolds
Location Location : Woodstock
Starting point Starting point : N 51.847546° / W 1.356303°
Download : -
Straight to Blenheim Place from the Column of Victory The Grand Bridge and Blenheim Palace North Leigh Roman Villa The Column of Victory


Start : The walk starts from Woodstock Town Hall close to "The Bear Hotel" and the post office. OX20 1SL

(D/A) From Woodstock Town Hall, walk West along Park Street for 150 metres and turn right North in Chaucer's Lane (dead-end signpost). Then, ignore Harrison's Lane which bends right but go down the stairs in front of you.

At the road, walk along the pavement in Oxford Street for 150 metres until you join a green entrance gate that leads to Blenheim Park. Turn left (West) towards Queen Pool. At the junction, bear left to the concrete path with great views to Queen Pool and Blenheim Palace far away.

(1) When you reach a building (renovation work), bear left following the concrete way for 100 metres (with Queen pool on your left-hand side) before you go through the stile on the right (West) and ascend straight the grassy slope which leads to the Column of Victory you catch sight of far away.

(2) From the top of the hill, the column (134 feet) and the view are really impressive!!! Descend the grassy way left (South-West) leading to the Grand Bridge over the Queen Pool. Don't cross the bridge (No free public access), head to the concrete way on the sharp right (North-West) for 100 metres.

(3) Bear left (South) when you see a small gate. Follow the path which slightly goes down with the Great Lake on your left-hand side until you reach a famous and impressive Cedar of Lebanon tree (probably from the 18th century). This is an iconic feature site because it's known as the "Harry Potter tree"! Enjoy the view of Blenheim Palace and the Grand Bridge as well! Continue this path, go past Rosamund's Well (Built by Henry II) until you reach a junction at the end of the Great Lake.

(4) At a path junction, ignore the way which goes up on your right, bear left (West-South-West), go through a gate following the path in fields, entering New Park leading to the road. Turn left (South-West-South), walk this road for almost half a mile enjoying beautiful Oak trees through New Park/Great Park.

(5) At the next junction, bear right, go through a green massive portal and turn right immediately (West) on East End Road. Follow the road for 300 metres before you turn left (South-West) on Bolton Lane at a grassy triangle in the middle of a fork.

Go slightly down the road for 250 metres until you reach the footpath to Combe on the right (Green sign post with yellow arrow written Combe 1). Go West across the open field (can be muddy!) parallel with the electric lines, then, walk along the edge of Frogden woods on your right-hand side as it curves right. When you reach the end of the woods, go North-West- West across fields again targeting for St Laurence Church far away.

(6) Go past playing fields, walk across St Laurence Church cemetery until you reach Combe. Have a look at the beautiful church! When you are out of the churchyard, then turn left, walk along Park Road and continue straight ahead to the paved road (Church Walk) for 250 metres. Then, continue Horns Lane on your left (South-West) past Combe Primary School on your left-hand side until the road bends sharply left.

(7) Leave this road and take the footpath "North Leigh" in front of you (South-West). Cross the bridge over the railway (Grintleyhill overbridge) before you cross a footbridge over the River Evenlode. Over the bridge, carry on this path in the same direction South-West with the river on your left-hand side.

(8) Cross two other footbridges, then, go straight along the brook ignoring a path in the woods on your left!

(9) Carry straight on South-West) and at the next junction, leave Wychwood Way, by going down to the path on the right (West) . When you get close to the hamlet, ignore the track from the left and bear right (North-East) along the fence.

(10) After 200 metres, enter the woods and take immediately the left narrow path. This way overlooks the River Evenlode for 500 metres on your right-hand side.

(11) At an unwell-marked junction, bear right North (if you reach a road, you went too far), descend the path a bit steep down hill along the fence which leads to an open meadow going North towards Roman Villa. Cross the meadow until you reach North Leigh Roman Villa. (If you reached the road, turn right (North) along the path and carry on at waypoint (12) Roman Villa)

(12) Visit the remains of the villa with a gorgeous nearly complete mosaic tile floor!!! Then, head to the path next to the hedge on the left which joins a track. Turn right (North), follow this track for 300 metres crossing a bridge (White Hill bridge). When the track bends right, enter the path across the meadows and go straight ahead for half a mile with the river on your left-hand side until you find a footbridge that crosses River Evenlode.

(13) Past the bridge, go through the gate on the right to follow the "Oxfordshire Way". Then, after the gate, follow the straight path (East then North-East) along fields for 700 metres.

(14) When you reach a read, cross over Combe Road and continue in the same direction on the path "Oxfordshire Way" in front of you for one mile. Cross over a second road (Akeman Street) still following "Oxfordshire Way" in the same direction.

(15) You finally reach a high wall and stairs. Go through this wall, and turn right (South-East) immediately following "Shakespeare's Way. Go through a gate at the end of the woods and go across the field for 350 metres. Past another gate, follow the track on the left (North-East) along the woods.

(16) At the gravel road, turn right (footpath signpost) for a few metres and go through two gates on your left leaving this road which leads to Park Farm. The path goes straight (South-East) across the park, then sharply goes left (North-Esat) before it bends right to reach an asphalt road.

Turn right and walk this road on the right side between trees. The road bends left and goes down until you reach the building next to Queen Pool you've seen at the beginning. (1) From now on, you just need to use the way you know to go back to Woodstock.(D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 328ft - Woodstock (Union Street car park for example)
1 : mi 0.5 - alt. 285ft - Building (renovation work)
2 : mi 0.79 - alt. 335ft - Column of Victory
3 : mi 1.29 - alt. 305ft - Small Gate
4 : mi 2.02 - alt. 308ft - Junction
5 : mi 2.55 - alt. 394ft - Entrance gate
6 : mi 3.5 - alt. 377ft - St Laurence Church
7 : mi 3.88 - alt. 344ft - Footpath North Leigh
8 : mi 4.43 - alt. 262ft - Two footbridges
9 : mi 4.6 - alt. 302ft - Junction
10 : mi 4.89 - alt. 361ft - Woods
11 : mi 5.22 - alt. 377ft - Unwell-marked junction
12 : mi 5.59 - alt. 266ft - Remains of the villa
13 : mi 6.36 - alt. 266ft - Footbridge over River Evenlode
14 : mi 6.82 - alt. 335ft - Combe Road
15 : mi 8.09 - alt. 361ft - High wall and stairs
16 : mi 8.67 - alt. 364ft - Gravel road
D/A : mi 10.42 - alt. 328ft - Woodstock (Union Street car park for example)

Useful Information

Start : The walk starts from Woodstock Town Hall close to "The Bear Hotel" and the post office. OX20 1SL

Parking : Park your car in Woodstock (Union Street car park for example).

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

Opinions and comments


Global average : 3.67/5
Number of opinions : 2
Description quality : 2.5/5
Routemap quality : 4/5
Walk interest : 4.5/5

Admin hiker
on Tue 09 Aug 2022 11:31:45 CEST

Thank you JennyC and Gaynb for this feedback.

I am going to contact the author and see how we can improve the description.
I took note of what you mentioned and amended the plot for now. Do not hesitate to suggest a new text for the part which can be tricky to follow.
Enjoy your walks
Kind regards

Delphine - Community Developer

on Mon 08 Aug 2022 14:52:24 CEST

Global average : 4.33 / 5

Date of walk : 08/08/22
Description quality : Average
Easiness to follow the route : Very good
Walk interest : Very good

I loved this walk, it took in Blenheim Palace and a Roman villa so plenty of historical interest. It also passed through some pretty villages, Combe was picture postcard and the centre of Woodstock is lovely.

The instructions could do with being a bit more informative, eg At the road, walk along the pavement in Oxford Street for 150 metres until you join a green entrance gate that leads to Blenheim Park. You need to turn left into Oxford Street. The instructions in the woods near East End were confusing as there were so many paths. We never found the footpath signpost: "At this unwell-marked junction, bear right just before the footpath signpost".

However I've learned not to trust instructions, so used OSmaps on my phone to work out where we were.

on Mon 03 May 2021 09:53:05 CEST

Global average : 3 / 5

Date of walk : 03/05/21
Description quality : Disappointing
Easiness to follow the route : Average
Walk interest : Good

A very nice walk that was a little marred by some disappointing instructions at some key points. It felt as if the writer knew the area well and expected people to know which direction to go when there was a choice of paths.

Other walks in the area

Around Blenheim Park from Woodstock
distance 6.4mi Vertical gain +236ft Vertical drop -240ft Durée 3h10 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Woodstock - Oxfordshire

This circular walk mainly explores Blenheim Park, its monuments and distinctive characteristics including the Grand Bridge, the Column of Victory, Rosamund's Well and an impressive Cedar of Lebanon tree!

distance 4.92mi Vertical gain +157ft Vertical drop -135ft Durée 2h25 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Begbroke - Oxfordshire

An Oxfordshire walk that captures typical landscapes of the county. The church at Bladon is also the burial place of Sir Winston Churchill. The route uses established paths.

Organisation / Walking Club / Mountain guide
distance 4.39mi Vertical gain +135ft Vertical drop -135ft Durée 2h10 Moderate Moderate
Starting point Starting point in Hampton Gay and Poyle - Oxfordshire

Climb to a pretty village with a historic church, country house and village green.

Organisation / Walking Club / Mountain guide
distance 4.19mi Vertical gain +23ft Vertical drop -23ft Durée 1h55 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Hampton Gay and Poyle - Oxfordshire

Visit four historic churches, plus a ruined manor house and a pretty riverside return.

Organisation / Walking Club / Mountain guide
distance 2.98mi Vertical gain +36ft Vertical drop -36ft Durée 1h25 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Hampton Gay and Poyle - Oxfordshire

Stroll across the meadows to an isolated church and ruined 16th-century manor house.

distance 5.42mi Vertical gain +105ft Vertical drop -105ft Durée 2h35 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Witney - Oxfordshire

Oxford Hill Witney to South Leigh circular walk. A leisurely walk with some nice scenery, a lake and a bird sanctuary. The Masons Arms pub at South Leigh. Mostly B roads and single-track roads.

distance 7.25mi Vertical gain +295ft Vertical drop -285ft Durée 3h35 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Enstone - Oxfordshire

An interesting and varied walk along the stream/river valleys of the River Glyme and a tributary, and through the park of a country house with several eccentric features. On the way, you can stop at a nature reserve of natural Cotswold limestone grassland. The first half of the walk follows Shakespeare's Way.

Great Tew and Little Tew
distance 3.94mi Vertical gain +236ft Vertical drop -236ft Durée 2h00 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Great Tew - Oxfordshire

This easy circular walk provides a good way to discover two lovely villages with thatched houses, particularly Great Tew! On you way, you will also explore the quiet countryside and enjoy lovely churches and a beautiful giant sequoia!

For more walks, use our search engine.

The GPS track and description are the property of the author.