Sunday, 7 September 2014

d'Arcy Dalton Way - Day 1

The DDW is one of the closest long distance paths close to where I live. I was given the book of it some years ago. I've done odd bits of it as it coincides with other local walks here and there and when driving around this area, there are numerous footpath signs bearing its name. It weaves about all over the place. The DDW starts at Wormleighton Reservoir north of Banbury on the Oxford Canal and ends at Wayland's Smithy, which is the starting point of the Ridgeway. It is 65 miles long. My plan for this weekend was to do the section from the start to its closest point to home.

To do this, I was driven up to Banbury and abandoned near the Southam Road where I dropped down to the Oxford Canal. To reach the start of the DDW, I had to walk for eight miles up the canal towpath to bridge 139. There is no immediate vehicle access, although it would be possible to drive to within half a mile or so of the start, walk to the reservoir and then back again, and then continue the walk. The canal towpath was good walking, passing by a couple of stretches of permanent moorings. They are real little communities. Of course, there were also numerous holiday boats, all of which had moored for the night.

Oxford Canal
I walked from 6.10pm to around 7.30pm as light began to fade. Canals aren't easy for wild camping. The land on either side is, more often than not, impossible to get to due to impenetrable hedges. Locks are often good, though, particularly the side opposite the towpath. It is easy to get across the lock over the gates at either end. Slat Mill Lock was a good resting place. I recognised the nearby farmhouse (Peewit Farm) as being the venue for a festival I was at a few weeks ago.

Slat Mill Lock


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