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Seven Shires Way

The Severn Shires Way is an attempt to walk as closely as possible around the Oxfordshire county boundary. The route criss-crosses the boundary, taking the walker into seven shires from Gloucestershire to Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Wiltshire. The path passes through a wide variation of scenery: from the marlstone scarp slope of Edgehill in Warwickshire to the ironstone villages of North Oxfordshire, the clay vale of Aylesbury, the beech woods of the Chiltern Hills, the riverbank of the Thames, the open downland of Berkshire and Cotswold villages in Gloucestershire.

This book divides The Severn Shires Way into twenty-one day walk sections, all of which have suggested access points for shorter distances, a list of useful accommodation and information about public transport. The sections are as follows:
Moreton-in-Marsh to Ascott – 11.3 miles
Ascott to Edgehill – 10.7 miles
Edgehill to Claydon – 10.2 miles
Claydon to Middleton Cheney – 7.9 miles
Middleton Cheney to Souldern – 10 miles
Souldern to Finmere – 11.2 miles
Finmere to Ludgershall – 10.2 miles
Ludgershall to Waterperry – 12.5 miles
Waterperry to Henton – 11.1 miles
Henton to Northend – 12.6 miles
Northend to Henley-on-Thames – 11 miles
Henley-on-Thames to Tilehurst – 12.4 miles
Tilehurst to Moulsford – 11.2 miles
Moulsford to West Ilsley – 10.2 miles
West Ilsley to Fawley – 12 miles
Fawley to Ashdown House – 12.3 miles
Ashdown House to Sevenhampton – 10.8 miles
Sevenhampton to Southrop – 14.8 miles
Southrop to Great Barrington – 10.7 miles
Great Barrington to Bledington – 10 miles
Bledington to Moreton-in-Marsh – 11.2 miles

 In the guidebook each walk section is accompanied by the relevant section of the Ordnance Survey Explorer map reproduced in monotone with the route highlighted in colour. There are excellent directions and descriptive text and the book is illustrated with attractive pen and ink drawings. Accommodation options are provided for every section end point, although these are sometimes off-route, so additional mileage is required unless you can obtain a lift or taxi. The book also provides archaeological, historical, botanical and literary detail of the journey.

The Oxfordshire boundary is marked in several different ways. A hedgerow, generally higher and less managed, and often containing a rich mix of flowering shrub species indicating great age is one sign. This is often backed up with a ditch or linear mounds. Sometimes the is marked by a long and sinuous green lane, lined with elderly hedgerows. In other places it follows the wriggling course of a brook or the straightened course of a watery drain. Only very occasionally does the boundary follow a metalled road. Occasionally there are boundary stones, such as the Four Shire Stone near the start of the walk where once four (now three) counties meet.


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Grid Ref: SP 213324

End: Moreton-in-Marsh

Grid Ref: SP 213324

Distance: 374 km

Walking Time: 21 days

Counties Traversed

Explorer™ Maps OL45, 159, 170, 171, 180, 181, 191, 192, 206

Seven Shires Way guidebook

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