This is a circular walk, along the newly (re)opened track from Great Western Park in Didcot to Harwell. The route follows Cow Lane into Harwell and returns along the main road back to Didcot.
I ‘discovered’ this route a couple of weeks ago, whilst walking the Great Western Park pond circular. Whilst it’s accessible as of March 2021 it will likely be impacted by future Valley Park housing development, so do be aware of this.
Start from the traffic lights outside the University Technical College (UTC), on the corner of Greenwood Way and the main B4493. Walk towards Harwell, along the main road for a short distance. When the paved path runs out walk along the gravel track as it circles right around the back of the UTC.
Follow the track until you reach Pennyroyal Place, cross the road and continue on along the newly opened gravel track, passing the skate park. Follow the gravel path as it bends left down a slope and around until you reach a sharp left hand bend. Turn left here and head slightly downhill.
Follow the footpath straight ahead, alongside fields and through a small wooded area. This is the newly opened section; there are footpath signs to direct you so route finding is straightforward.
In due course you will reach a T-junction. Sadly there was a fair amount of litter and some fly tipping when I came this way last week but I have reported the lawnmower in the brambles so hopefully it will be removed soon.
At the T-junction do not make the same mistake as me! I decided to turn right and took the path out to meet the busy A4130, with a view to returning on another footpath back to Harwell. Two barbed wire fences (with broken stiles) and a lack of safe A34 crossing stopped me. Follow the route below instead.
Turn left at Cow Lane
Turn left at the aforementioned T-junction along Cow Lane towards Harwell. You will now follow a long straight track, safely crossing the A34 via a bridge. The track eventually leads into Townsend, in Harwell. Continue walking straight on along Townsend until you reach the main road through Harwell (by The Hart of Harwell). Turn sharp left and follow the B4493 all the way back to your starting point in Didcot.
Have you walked this route? Let me know what you think.
Click on the map to view a larger version.
Start and end point: UTC Oxfordshire, Greenwood Way, Didcot. OS grid reference: SU506896 What3words: molars.horses.imparting
Distance: Approximately 4.9km, 3 miles. Total ascent 39 metres.
Terrain: Mostly gravel path and pavements, although path between GWP and Cow Lane can be muddy after rain.
Refreshments: Costa Coffee on Great Western Park. There are also takeaways and the Station Garden pub. Hart of Harwell pub in Harwell.