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Towns and Villages served by the Cotswold Line Railbus

Ascott-under-Wychwood

The village lies in a valley on the south bank of the river Evenlode and is famed for the historic forest of Wychwood.

The east end of the village is known as Ascott d'Oyley. The Church is late 12th century and has a modern tapestry of village scenes. There is a lovely easy circular walk of 2½ miles through Ascott d'Oyley to the river, crossing by a footbridge, returning along the north bank to the road and back across the river to the village green.

On the village green in the centre of the village, a bench around the Chestnut tree is a memorial to the Ascott Martyrs - 16 brave women who suffered brief imprisonment in 1873 during the fight for a minimum wage for agricultural labourers.

The village has a good pub, the Swan, which offers a warm welcome to families, has an attractive garden and serves food all day. There is an award-winning village shop. Bed and Breakfast accommodation is available, making it an excellent base for touring the Oxfordshire Cotswolds.

Burford

Burford, traditionally known as the ‘Gateway to the Cotswolds’, is one of England's prettiest small medieval towns.  Nestling along the slope of the hill down through the trees to the River Windrush, Burford is steeped in history and rich in architectural heritage.

The gentle rolling hills of the surrounding countryside are perfect for walking, cycling or horse riding. People have lived and worked here for over 6,000 years. The natural scenery is breathtaking making it an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Burford has a broad main High Street lined with old houses, cottages and shop fronts which appear to have changed little for hundreds of years. Take time to explore the side streets and snatch glimpses of hidden treasures through intriguing alleyways and courtyards between the seventeenth and eighteenth century buildings. See the awe inspiring splendour of the cathedral like parish church built from the wealth of the wool trade. Investigate the delights the independent antique shops and galleries have to offer, enjoy some light refreshments from the wide choice of hotels, pubs and teashops.

Charlbury

This little market town, with its award-winning pubs and inns, colourful cottage gardens and houses built of warm local stone boasts a lovely location in the Evenlode Valley, within the “Golden Triangle” of Woodstock, Burford and Chipping Norton.

The remnants of the ancient royal hunting forest of Wychwood reach right to the town, providing a popular haunt for cyclists and walkers attracted to their secluded footpaths and quiet country lanes. A total of ten courses within a radius of ten miles ensures that golf enthusiasts are well-served too.

Charlbury is just the place to sample a taste of Oxfordshire community life. Shops and pubs have a warm, friendly feeling; the local museum celebrates a variety of traditional crafts and skills; even the station is picturesque.

The town can offer a number of shops including two supermarkets, as well as four pubs, (The Bell, The Bull, The Rose and Crown and Ye Olde Three Horseshoes), a gift shop, a bookshop, a wedding dress shop, an oven shop, a newsagents, a garage, a second-hand car shop, two estate agents, a men's hairdressers, a women's hairdressers, a post office, and a café.

Accommodation is available at two of the town's pubs, The Bell and The Bull, and there is a campsite for tents and touring caravans at Banbury Hill Farm, about half a mile from the town.

Home-grown events include a free two-day Riverside Music Festival in June and a charity Beer Festival in July and the town also a base for visitors attending the nearby Cornbury Music Festival, hailed in the media as “Britain’s coolest festival” and “the only rock festival for all ages”.

For more information, visit the websites for the Charlbury Beer Festival, Charlbury Riverside Festival or The Cornbury Music Festival, also Adobe Acrobat Logo Download the Charlbury Visitors Guide (PDF, 380Kb)

Chipping Norton

Chipping Norton (“Chippy” to the locals), is the highest town in Oxfordshire, situated on the western slopes of a hillside that was once the site of a Norman castle. Formerly a major wool-trading town, its weekly market (on Wednesday) and monthly farmers’ market continues its earliest tradition, for “Chipping” means market.

The lively town has a vibrancy about it, but is unpretentious and the lives of those who live and work there have so far not been overshadowed by the effects of tourism - in other words its a 'real' Cotswold town with 'real' shops.

The Guildhall, Town Hall and Almshouses are all of historic interest but the great wool church of St Mary the Virgin is outstanding, having one of the finest interiors of all Cotswold churches. A theatre, museum and leisure centre bring attractions up to date. Chippy’s most stunning landmark is 19th-century Bliss Mill, with its majestic façade and dome based chimney. Built for the production of high-quality tweed, the mill has now been converted into luxury apartments.

Chipping Norton offers the visitor plenty of retail therapy including many well-known high street shops, and several antique shops together with a wide selection of restaurants, inns and pubs.
 

Finstock

Finstock is a peaceful and tranquil village, about 2½ miles south of Charlbury. It is a hilly village dating back to 1135 and faces south east over the Evenlode valley. There is a small  village shop and post office, and both pubs - The Crown and Plough Inn - offer food and accommodation for visitors.

Finstock, along with its neighbours Charlbury, Fawler and Leafield, developed in a clearing of Wychwood Forest, which was cleared to allow the growing of arable crops. During the Middle Ages barley was the main crop, and today, arable farming remains the main farming activity - barley, wheat and oilseed rape.

Kingham

Kingham is a beautiful unspoilt Cotswold village and it has been voted 'England's Favourite Village' by readers of Country Life.

Kingham is peaceful and secluded, yet still enjoys a main line train service to London - a mere 90 minutes away.  The village is unique amongst the  Cotswold villages, because it has its own station about a mile from the village, albeit just a short ride on the X8 Cotswold Line Railbus!

Brick, stone, slate, tiles and thatch have all been used to create the elegant cottages many dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, grouped around a large, open village green.

The village is an excellent centre for walking, with many paths winding off into the surrounding countryside. Walkers and cyclists head for Foxholes nature reserve near Bruern Abbey, famed for its bluebells, and the nearby village of Churchill where the church tower is a slim version of Oxford’s Magdalen College Tower.

There is an excellent village shop, with groceries, newspapers and magazines, drinks, video rentals and a post office. Both pubs - The Plough and The Tollgate - provide traditional fare and the atmosphere of village pubs; whilst the nearby Millhouse also serves lunch and dinner.

Leafield

Leafield is a village on the edge of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. Leafield has pre-Domesday origins and until the 1850s was surrounded by the ancient royal forest of Wychwood and was known as Field Town until the 19th century. It is a long village, with a large green. Once a local source of pottery, hence 'Chimney End' where wood burning kilns were located. Unlike some other nearby villages Leafield has had relatively little recent building, so is largely unspoilt.

The village centres on the Green, with the picturesque school, founded in 1839, in the middle. Its most well-known landmark is St Michael and All Angels' Church, designed in 1859 by Sir George Gilbert Scott. The spire is a distinctive feature on the horizon for many miles around.

The Fox public house overlooks the village green and offers food and accommodation. The village boats a popular village community store and a post office.

Shipton and Milton-under-Wychwood

Milton-under-Wychwood is one of the three main villages that make up 'The Wychwoods', and is a close neighbour of the other ancient Wychwood villages, Shipton-under-Wychwood, Ascott-under-Wychwood, Fifield, Idbury, and Leafield.  The villages dates from medieval times although it has not had so much of an interesting history as Shipton-under-Wychwood. Today, Milton is the largest village in the Wychwoods in terms of area, and houses many of the important 'local' facilities, such as a library, post office and small supermarket. There is one pub - The Quart Pot in the High Street.

Shipton-under-Wychwood is a medieval village, established around Shipton Court, the estate of the Lacey family. The parish church of St. Mary has a tower of circa 1200-1250 and a 15th century vaulted porch. It contains a 15th century stone pulpit, a large font of the same period and a Tudor wall monument.

The mainly 15th century Shaven Crown Hotel overlooks the wide village green and was once a guest house run by the monks of Bruern Abbey, and is claimed to have had a licence since 1384.

Shipton-under-Wychwood is on the course of the Oxfordshire Way footpath, and this can be used to walk north-westwards up the Evenlode Valley to Bruern Abbey and Bledington, or eastwards down the valley to Charlbury

More Information

To find out more about the many other attractions and places to visit, where to stay, eating out and how to reach the Oxfordshire Cotswolds and explore the area, visit their website.

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