Withington, around Withington Woods and back via Cassey Compton

The walk climbs up to pass around the southern side of Withington Woods, then via Chedworth airfield drops back down to return via the valley of the River Coln.

  • Start Point:
  • SP 0319 1538. Mill Inn, Withington.

  • Length:
  • 6.24 miles
  • Ascent/Descent:
  • 846 feet
  • Description:
  • The walk climbs quite steeply at first up to the southern side of Withington Woods, then undulates acroos to Chedworth airfield (disused), before dropping down quite steeply towards Compton Cassey and returning along the Coln valley. There is one longish stretch of tarmac road and most of the paths are quite clearly defined except in a couple of places. Much of the walk is along woodland tracks and they may be rutted and wet depending on the weather and if the woods are being managed at the time.
  • Date Walked:
  • 9th March 2012

The Mill at Withington.

Start from the Mill Inn in Withington, grid reference SP 0319 1538. PDF of the walk and/or Google Earth Track of the walk.

Something strange happened on my GPS at the start of the walk and the track file has an extra bit tagged on to the front (clearly identified as a straight line). The rest of the track is correct.

Map No Grid Reference Distance Instructions
1 SP 0319 1538 450 yards

Turn right out the pub car park, go around the front of the Mill Inn and uphill north west. Take the first lane left (south west) at SP 0310 1547, near the top of the hill then left at the T junction at SP 0300 1542 and go south to where a path leaves the lane through a gate on the right to climb the hill. The photograph show the view up the hill from just before the footpath.

2 SP 0295 1531 880 yards

Go through the gate and climb the hill heading south west through a couple of gates and along the side of a wood through a field with horse eventing fences/obstacles in, to where the wood turns away to the left and an open field falls away gradually south west ahead.

  • Turn right through the gate and start to climb heading south west towards the gate visible in the fence ahead at SP 0280 1510.
  • Through the gate continue climbing, more steeply now heading towards a gate through a fence into the woods. The gate is hidden behind the climb until you get quite close to it, but is sited slightly right of the pylon ahead of you. The photograph looks back dwon the hill along the line of the pylons from just before the gate.
  • At SP 0257 1493 go through the metal gate and climb through trees to another metal gate at SP 0254 1493.
  • Through the gate continue climbing south west with the woods on the left to reach a metal gate at SP 0238 1482.
3 SP 0238 1482 600 yards

Go through the gate into a large field and continue south west level at first then descend gently to the right hand corner of the field where a stile and metal gate lead to a wide track.

4 SP 0198 1448 1,700 yards

Turn left and follow the track south then south east climbing then descending both gently to a path crossroads at the bottom of the gentle descent in a open wood glade. The path on the left heading north is quite obvious. The path on the right heading south west, which is the path you want, is not that clear.

  • Turn and follow the track heading south with a wire fence on the right and a woody hedge on the left.
  • At SP 0202 1428 the track enters woods and starts to climb.
  • At SP 0201 1416 the track bears left and heads more south east as it levels out. The photograph shows fresh timber stacked ready for use by the track when we walked through the woods.
  • At SP 0220 1394 the track comes out of the woods where at an apparent fork. Keep to the right and continue south east along field edge with a woody hedge on the right descending slightly now on a grassy path rather than a wide track.
  • At SP 0253 1374 go through wooden gate posts (the gate appears long gone) into light woods still descending gently, then comes into a rough meadow with the woods continuing on the left and further over to the right.
  • At SP 0279 1361 the path goes into light woods then bears left to head east to an open glade at SP 0297 1359 with a track on the left and a very indistinct path on the right heading south west.
5 SP 0299 1358 630 yards

Go south west through the woods, over a stile and continue along the edge of a field to a gate just before Woodlands.

  • Turn right and follow the indistinct path south west through the trees to reach a stile at SP 0295 1351.
  • Go over the stile into an open field, continue south west with the north western edge of the field bordered by woods on the right.
  • About halfway along the field, the woods on the right fall away and the field is bounded by a wire fence and reaches a metal gate just before Woodlands at SP 0268 1310. The photograph looks over the wire fence at two lonely trees.
6 SP 0268 1310 1,400 yards

Through the gate turn sharp left and head east then south east around Pinswell to a lane and go east along the lane to the junction with the White Way above Chedworth.

  • Through the gate turn sharply left through another metal gate and head east across an open field.
  • At SP 0291 1306 bear left through a metal gate and continue east with the field margin on the right.
  • At SP 0311 1303 climb over a stile in the fence on the right. The path continues south east to the left of Pinswell house, but when we walked it was directed around the field edge by an electric fence to manage the livestock in the field.
  • At SP 0376 1293 go over a stile. The path goes south east across the centre of the field but because of the young crops in it, we walked around the north and east edge (the west and south edge is about the same distance) to wooden steps over the wall at SP 0351 1278 (see photograph) in the south east corner of the field which falls quite steeply towards the end.
  • Climb over the steps into a lane. Turn left and head east along the lane to the triamgular junction with the White Way above Chedworth.
7 SP 0387 1280 2,500 yards

Cross over the three way junction and take the lane heading north (signposted to Compton Abdale) across the old Chedworth airfield (the White Way). After a few bends the lane goes into woods and descends steeply at times, crosses the old Andoversford to Cheltenham railway line on a high bridge and reaches a footpath on the left heading north by a disused quarry south of Cassey Compton. The photograph looks back up the White Way as the descent starts to level out.

8 SP 0486 1460 1,700 yards

Take the footpath north over the stile, then drop down north west and cross over the River Coln, climb a short way up the valley side opposite then head west and south west to the lane at Woodbridge.

  • Climb the verge on the left hand side, go over the stile and head north into the field.
  • Bear north west and go down the steep hillside to the north west corner of the field.
  • At SP 0476 1460 go over a wooden stile, then cross the footbridge over the River Coln (the photograph looks north east from the bridge), and climb gently up the western edge of the field on the other side.
  • At SP 0467 1487 go over a wooden stile and continue to climb north west.
  • At SP 0458 1495 go through a metal gate and turn left before the wooden gate and go south west along a narrow path on the side of the hill with the River Coln below on the left.
  • At SP 0433 1480 go over or round a wooden stile (the fence is derelict) and bear more west.
  • At SP 0419 1482 the path goes through a wooden gate into light coppiced woods, continuing to head west then bears left to go south west.
  • At SP 0388 1483 the path comes out of the woods over a wooden stile and continues south west.
  • At SP 0375 1474 pass a wooden stile by a non existent fence and continue south west past a house on the left to go over a wooden stile at SP 0369 1468 onto a rough lane/drive.
  • Turn right onto the drive and head north up a gentle slope, and turn left under a disused railway bridge to join a lane.
9 SP 0362 1467 930 yards

Head north west up the lane then just before the remains of a railway bridge bear left onto a path running alongside the River Coln to continue north west back to the Mill Inn.

  • Turn right and head north west gently climbing the lane.
  • At SP 0341 1502 just before the remains of a railway bridge turn left into the drive of a house and follow the footpath sign alongside the river heading north west.
  • At SP 0335 1511 go over a wooden stile and continue north west. There is a large lake on the far side of the river the view of which is largely obscured by the trees (see photograph).
  • The path starts to climb turning more north, goes throgh a wooden gate at SP 0322 1530, then drops down to go down steps in the side of the bank leading down to the road by the Mill Inn car park.