A short easy walk.Reformation – Wyfold – Reformation.
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) With your back to the front of the Reformation Pub turn left along Horsepond Road and after 100m take the first left into The Hamlet.
(1) After about 100m where the road bears left, turn right and enter the woods through a hole in the hedge. Here you will see three paths – take the left hand path and walk on up the hill through the mixed woodland.
(2) After about 600m the path turns sharp left through a gap in the fence (see white arrow on tree) and continues close to the top of a field until you reach Kate’s Cottage. Close by Kate’s Cottage is the site of the gallows tree that gave Gallowstree Common its name. A few metres north of Kate’s Cottage are the well preserved remains of an Iron Age hill fort. Turn right and walk along the road past Kate’s Cottage for about 600m then turn right along the bridleway through the woods in a north easterly direction for 300m.
(3) Turn right and walk along the road for some 500m, through the hamlet of Wyfold, and immediately after Wyfold Grange, turn right on to a signed footpath.
(4) Walk on through the field for about 400m; at this point the footpath enters a magical tunnel of laurel and continues through it for some 400m. It’s very easy to miss the entrance! Pass through the gate and re-enter the woods of New Copse. After walking 30m in a southerly direction you will see a fork in the path; walk straight on in a southerly direction (the other path forks off to the left in a north easterly direction). After 600m the path arrives at the exit to The Hamlet.
(1) Turn right and enjoy the many interesting styles of houses - old and new. The Haystacks is particularly interesting, with an odd shape and thatched roof. At the end of The Hamlet turn left on the main road to reach The Reformation after 200m for a well deserved pint. (D/A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 335ft - The Reformation
1 : mi 0.12 - alt. 335ft - Enter of woods
2 : mi 0.57 - alt. 417ft - Gap
3 : mi 1.25 - alt. 387ft - Road
4 : mi 1.89 - alt. 358ft - Fields
D/A : mi 2.87 - alt. 335ft - The Reformation
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
The gallows tree which gave Gallowstree Common its name was a solitary oak standing apart from woodland. It is said that the last hanging, for sheep stealing, occurred in 1825. The stump was removed at the time of the Enclosure Acts but for some time the gibbet and chains were left on a post nearby.
Wyfold Castle is a plateau fort of an irregular oval shape covering some 5 acres. The site is just north of Kate’s Cottage but you might have to negotiate a holly thicket to access the site. The earthwork remains are probably half as deep and the ramparts half as high as they were when in use, but they are still impressive. The ramparts are partly damaged on the SE side but are in the best condition on the West. The remains of the causeway entrance are on the SW side. The northern part of the fort is heavily overgrown, probably due to existence of the spring.
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.
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