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Christmas C. to Stonor

(I took this walk in autumn, as you can see.  So far July 2018 has been too darned hot for walking.)



The final uninhabited stretch from Oxford to Henley starts at Christmas Common (SP 714934).  As I mentioned, the land is – or was in 2014 – under dispute, hence the barbed wire visible at the bottom of #1.  The field was part of a huge grazing area that drovers would have used, with or without the permission of the locals.  But – Hey! – they spent money at the inn, laid a lot of manure - their beasts, that is - and they were tough and arrived in numbers.  So why argue?



The road down to Stonor through the woods is Hollandridge Lane and H. Farm at 727916 has two ponds (that I failed to take pictures of).  It was once possibly an inn, but ponds were vital for anyone living in the chalk uplands.


Just before Stonor the track joins the highway and passes through Upper, Middle & Lower Assendon, meaning "valley of the pack-asses".  Picture strings of these beasts of burden passing up and down the hill to & from the river to load up or unload at the wharf...  

Finally the road joins The Fairmile leading into Henley.  Did Welsh drovers on their cobs really organise races down the final stretch?  Why not?  It’s a good story.



It’s a smashing part of the country.  So much space.  I had the feeling that not a lot has changed in 1,000 years.

(Again, a huge thank-you to Ann Cole who has helped me with so much detail in these entries.)

Christmas C. to Stonor image 1
Grazing & wire
Christmas C. to Stonor image 2
Deep rutted...
Christmas C. to Stonor image 3
..through the beeches..
Christmas C. to Stonor image 4
...and not a house..
Christmas C. to Stonor image 5 sight.