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d’Arcy Dalton Way

The d’Arcy Dalton Way begins at Wormleighton in north Oxfordshire on the Oxford Canal Towpath. From here it proceeds across the Ironstone Hills, through Hook Norton, passing close to the Rollright stones and then crossing the Oxfordshire Way. The route ducks into Gloucestershire for a few miles before meeting the Thames Path and then dropping down to the Ridgeway, at Waylands Smithy. Meandering southwards on the western side of the county to join the Ridgeway National Trail at Wayland’s Smithy between Swindon and Wantage the 66 mile long route leads you through some of the remotest and most beautiful countryside in Oxfordshire including the Redland Hills, Cotswolds, Thames Valley, Vale of the White Horse and the Wessex Downs. The Wessex Downs, which are capped by the Ridgeway and Wayland’s Smithy, first come into view some 30 miles short of your destination and thus provide a focal point for the second half of the Way.

The d’Arcy Dalton Way was created to mark the Oxford Footpath Society’s Diamond Jubilee in 1986. It takes its name from Colonel W. P. d’Arcy, a founder member of the Oxfordshire Field Paths Society formed in 1926 and defender of Oxfordshire’s rights of way. The idea of the path was to create a link along the western boundary of the county between the Oxford Canal towpath north of Banbury, the Oxfordshire Way, Thames Path and Ridgeway in order to provide long distance circuits combining part or all of the d’Arcy Dalton Way with parts of two or more of the other long distance routes. Oxford, of course, would be the most obvious place to commence such a circular route. However, the d’Arcy Dalton Way is a splendid and rewarding walk in its own right.

A five day itinerary would allow a relaxed and enjoyable journey along this route. Overnight stop recommendations could be Epwell, Salford Green, Great Barrington, Eaton Hastings and Compton Beauchamp at the end of the walk. This is a journey through a rural landscape of peaceful countryside and small villages and hamlets, so accommodation options are limited. It is therefore advisable to identify and pre-book accommodation.

Settlements passed along the route include: Farnborough; Shotteswell Green; Hornton Green; Epwell; Burdrop; Hook Norton; Little Rollright; Sarsdon Cross; Snow Hill; Tangley; Great Barrington; Filkins; Little Clanfield; Eaton Hastings; Longcot; Knighton; Compton Beauchamp.

The eight circular walk locations in the guidebook are: Claydon; Horley; Hook Norton; Salford; Ascott-under-Wychwood; Langford; Little Coxwell; White Horse Hill.

Accommodation on Route

Faringdon Chowle Farmhouse
Fenny Compton The Granary


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Start: Wormleighton

Grid Ref: SP 448518

End: Wayland's Smithy

Grid Ref: SU 281853

Distance: 107km

Walking Time: 5 days

Counties Traversed

Explorer™ Maps
170; 191; 206; OL45

Darcy Dalton Way

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