One of things I'd like to do today is to say thank you to Nick Moon. He's the author of the book I'm using to navigate along the D'Arcy Dalton Way. The words he uses to describe the route ahead are excellent. Often he assumes quite rightly that there is nothing in front of you that shows which way to go (usually because the field has recently been ploughed): instead he gives you a direction to walk by relating to features on the horizon. This has successfully happened numerous times today: thanks Nick.
The full details of the book are as follows: The D'Arcy Dalton Way Across the Oxfordshire Cotswolds and Thames Valley by Nick Moon (The Book Castle, 1999, 1871199344)
And here is a link to today's photos.
There's a theme to some of these photos: they are photos of the footpath ahead. These will give you some idea of the terrain.
The first photo shows the route ahead is along a field boundary.
The next one is of some chickens drinking from a water trough.
The third photo shows the route ahead across a field: in the book the route is described as bear half right heading just left of a clump of ash trees on the skyline.
Although there was a chilly wind, the sun was quite strong. So out of the wind you could easily want to doze in the sun (see photo).
The approach to the village of Epwell is across a lawn (see photo). There are some posh houses in Epwell (see photo).
The book says that the church dates from the 13th century (see three photos).
Yet another field to cross: the book says bear half right across the next field, keeping right of a powerline.
At this point, I got lost. Although the waymark on the gate (see photo) and the book say go right, I tried this but it did not work. It may be I should have gone diagonally across the field (see photo). Instead I read the map, and decided to go straight on. This took me on into another field and I walked around the boundary of two sides of this field to its top right corner, trying to marry up the text in the book, the map and the stuff on the ground. In this corner of the field, I eventually spotted a D'Arcy Dalton Way waymark (which in the photo is on the fence behind the thorns).
Just outside Burford, there was another field of corn to go through (see photo).
And Burford had a lot of posh houses, including one that had several cars and a boat and a Union Jack (see photo). Yuk!
And a pub (see photo). This is the Bishop Blaize pub, where I chatted to a local: he'd never heard of the D'Arcy Dalton Way. The pub had two guest ales: I had a half of both of them together with Sausages, Egg, Tomatoes, Beans and Chips.
The village of Sibford Ferris adjoins Burford: Sibford Ferris has a new housing estate (see photo). Yuk!
Whilst walking through the grounds of Sibford School, I got lost. This time I got unlost through good map reading!
The next photo shows the path going through a wood at Hill Bottom.
And the next photo shows another field to be crossed. Here the book helpfully has bear slightly right, aiming just right of Hook Norton Church.
The next photo (the one with the tractor and plough) is an imitation of one of my Tuscany photos.
I had to frighten these cows off the footpath (see photo).
And the Bell Inn at Hook Norton was not closed during the afternoon. So I was able to have a Hooky (at least a half of Hooky) in a Hook Norton pub. I thought I'd read that this pub was associated with the Brewery. However, whilst talking to someone in the pub (who had heard of the D'Arcy Dalton Way), I learnt the brewery was now associated with the Pear Tree and that this pub was well worth visiting: it had 6 of the Hook Norton beers.
I decided to decline as I thought consuming any more ale was not a good idea, and I had thought that I might get to the next village (Great Rollright) just in time for a bus instead of having to wait another hour.
The next photo (which is a bit dark) shows the view behind: the climb out of Hook Norton.
The next photo (which is fuzzy) shows some grouses leading the way down the path.
The next photo shows yet another field to cross with nothing much to aim for. However, once again the book helps: bear slightly left across the field beyond to reach a hedge gap just right of a stunted oak tree on the skyline. By the way, the book says this is the highest point on the D'Arcy Dalton Way: it's about 221 metres or 725 feet.
Finally, I arrive in Great Rollright. Here is a photo of its church (it's said to be 12th century but with a tower dating from the 15th century).
Journey's end is at the Green in Great Rollright (see last photo).