The Oxfordshire Way

Day 5: Beckley to Tiddington

Saturday 26th August

Getting there:

Abingdon
  0733                 1003
    35                   35A
  0802                 1032
Oxford SA
  0812          1015   1038
    280           108    280
  0831          1049   1101
Wheatley CH
                  <=>
Wheatley CH
  0832          1106
    280           108
  0851
Thame TH
  0924
    14
  1011          1122
Beckley
OR
drive to Thame
(20M; 30min)
Thame TH
  0924
    14
  1011
Beckley PH
OR
drive to Wheatley
(13M; 18min)
Wheatley various
  0802    0832      1106
    108     above     108
  0821    1011      1122
Beckley PH

Getting back:

Tiddington PH
  1613   1643   1718   1753  1823
    280    280    280    280   280
  1643   1713   1748   1821  1851
Oxford QL
Oxford SA
  1700   1730   1800   1830  1900
    35     35A    35     35    35
  1728   1758   1826   1858  1923
Abingdon
OR
Tiddington PH
  1611   1641   1711
    280    280    280
  1621   1651   1721
Thame TH
drive from Thame
OR
Tiddington PH
  1613   1643   1718   1753
    280    280    280    280
  1622   1652   1727   1802
Wheatley CH
drive from Wheatley

Today's route (with distances in miles):
Beckley 7.5 Waterperry 2.5 Tiddington

Today's diary:

Today's walk starts in Beckley. Beckley is possibly the closest that the Oxfordshire Way gets to Oxford, and yet is a difficult place to get from/to.

I was waiting for my alarm to go off this morning but I forgot it was the weekend (when it doesn't go off) and so I get up at 0815, two hours late. I was planning to leave here at 0830 and drive to Thame for a bus back to Beckley to arrive there at 1014. So now it's Plan B: leave here at 1030 and drive to Wheatley and then get the 1106 to Beckley and so start walking at 1130. That's two hours later than normal. It's 10 miles today. So it'll probably be the 1718 bus from Tiddington back to Wheatley.

Well, even Plan B didn't work. I drove to Wheatley Church and arrived at about 1045, well in time for the 1106 bus of service number 108 which is supplied by White's Coaches. But it didn't turn up. And there was no timetable for the 108 at the bus stop. In fact no sign what so ever that service 108 visits Wheatley.

I needed a new plan! I thought about driving to the start of the walk and sorted out how to get back there later, but I rejected that plan as I thought it best to get the trouble out of the way now.

Instead, Plan C was to ring for a taxi. As it was about 1120, the pub near to Wheatley Church wasn't open and so I couldn't ask them for a taxi. And I'd already walked around in vain seeing if I could see a taxi firm. I knew there was an Asda at the outskirts of Wheatley and so I drove out there looking for a taxi firm and guessing people use taxis to get their shopping home. I discovered a Travelodge next to Asda. I rang the bell at Reception, but no-one came. So I went to Customer Services at Asda and they rang for a taxi for me. It arrived at 1205, and it dropped me outside the Abingdon Arms in Beckley at about 1225. The fare was 13.50!

I started walking at about 1230. The clouds are black and look threatening.

To the North of the route out of Beckley, there is the Ot Moor (as shown in the first photo). (Use the link above to look at today's photos.) According to the book, Otmoor means Otta's fen. The book describes the area as a lonely, wild place, a haven for birds and plants. And, although part of the area is a Nature Reserve, other parts are marked on the OS map as Danger Area and there is a Rifle Range (see photo).

En-route to the first village, Horton-cum-Studley, I suddenly realised that I'd previously walked most of the route between Beckley and Horton-cum-Studley. This was the day last year when I watching the Otmoor Half Marathon.

After nearly visiting Horton-cum-Studley, the route continues SE and the first village to walk through is Waterperry and then it's Tiddington.

But it's about 7.5M from Beckley to Waterperry. So there's no pub en-route for lunch. Instead, I have lunch just after Drunkard's Corner which is just about half way. It's 1445 and I'm starving. Today's lunch is Chicken Caesar's Salad, a Fruit Salad and an Orange Juice.

Not long after lunch, I meet another walker. This is the first walker I've met during the last 4 and a half days. We chat for 5 minutes or so. He's doing a circular 16K walk starting from his home in Ickford which is not far from Waterperry.

Soon after, I cross the M40 (see photo) and there's another long section of tarmac (see photo).

The clouds still look ominous (see photo), but it doesn't rain until after I get home.

I then cross the River Thame (see two photos).

Today's walk ends in Tiddington. Not far from Tiddington, there is a golf course (see photo). Often there is little waymarking on golf courses, and so they are a nightmare to cross. Today it wasn't too bad.

At the end of the walk in Tiddington, there is a pub called The Fox (see photo). According to the web, it's closed between 3pm and 6pm. I arrive at 1710, which was too early for the pub, but which was just in time for the 1718 hrs bus back from Tiddington to my car (which was parked near to the Asda in Wheatley).

When I was walking through Waterperry I came across a bus stop that has a timetable for the 108 but it's from 2003! However, later in the day (I forget where) I discover another timetable for the 108. The 108's timetable has been totally revised because of the road works at the Barton/Headington roundabout. A quick glance, and there are very few buses serving Beckley. As well as today's 1106 bus from Wheatley not existing, I wouldn't have been able to catch the 1834 back from Beckley last night because it also currently does not exist! Good job I tried hitching last night.