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Little Compton By-pass



Above Little Compton, near Rollright, is a good example of the drover's desire to avoid a village. 

At SP 280307 the road from the Rollright Stones dives down to the left towards Little C., but the original road, now a track, goes straight as a die above the village until well past it.  #1, part of John Ogilby's map of 1675, shows no deviation: LC Church is well to the left.

(The route to Moreton probably runs through a number of counties: Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire all meet at the Four Shires Stone at 230322, and "this Hedge parts Oxford & Warwickshire," Ogilby writes on the map.)


Walk through the gate ahead where the Rollright road veers left to Little Compton (#2) and follow the track through three fields.  At the end of the third stands ‘Neakings’, which was a shoeing station for beasts that had lost theirs (# 3) and was named after the 17C (smith?) John Neakyn.  There's a good view of Little Compton below (#4).


After a few hundred yards is Wheelbarrow Castle, an old drovers’ inn.  The view from the house, this time looking north, almost makes the walk worthwhile by itself (# 5).


Further on there is Salter’s Well, a spring to provide water for the beasts in dry countryside.  (The ‘salters’ preserved meat in barrels of brine.)  Then down to Kitebrook and on to the "Great Road", as Ogilby called it - the A44,  One local man told me that the garage there used to be a drovers' inn called The Trumpet.  Can anyone confirm this? 

May 2019
David Ella has got in touch to say this was part of the road from Montgomery.  Moreover, going south-east, it connected with the saltway from Chippy to Oxford via Stonesfield & Ruddy Well - see Oxon tab for a description of that route - meeting it at Chapel House Farm.  

Thanks, David. 

Little Compton By-pass image 1
John Ogilby, 1675
Little Compton By-pass image 2
The Old Road Goes Straight On
Little Compton By-pass image 3
Little Compton By-pass image 4
Little Compton from above
Little Compton By-pass image 5
View from WC