Walk the Moor
 

Join us on

Sunday, July 8th

 
 

A Celebration and a Call to Action to Protect All of Oxfordshire's Countryside

 
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Walk the Moor: Final Information

Optional Bernwood Leg: Because of the heat, we suggest anyone wanting to do this drive directly to Bernwood for a self-directed walk in the woods: be back to Horton Church for the 9.30am start!

Water bottles can be filled at:

Murcott: The Nut Tree Pub (tap behind the pub) and Murcott House (thank you Brian): immediately opposite the Church

Charlton: The Crown Pub (tap behind the pub). Please buy and drink and they’re happy for you to eat packed lunches and fill your bottles

Oddington: tap by Church gate

Beckley: First house you meet on the right walking up Church St; bathroom stop available (thank you Ann and Geoff Henmann). The Abingdon Arms has a private function, but we can use the outside gents as a unisex bathroom stop (thank you to them).

Any problems on the walk: call 07495835320 (Peter) or 07572837672 (Gail).

Please note that the walk starts at 9:30 from Saint Barnabas Church in Horton cum Studley.  Parking will be at the end of Church Lane. 

Please make sure you bring plenty of water for yourself and any four-footed friends!

Walk the Moor is being supported by Vale Brewery 

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And special thanks to Unicol for their support.

A Peaceful Protest

Walk the Moor

Following in the footsteps of the famous anti-enclosure rioters, residents of Otmoor's seven towns, and other lovers of the Oxfordshire countryside, will be walking the boundaries of this unique rural jewel on Sunday, July 8th.  Embracing the spirit of 1830, they are reaffirming everyone’s right to enjoy the landscapes, wildlife, and villages of one of the last remaining wetlands of southern England in the face of a new threat to its integrity posed by recently announced plans for an Oxford to Cambridge Expressway.  This peaceful protest has been organised to raise awareness around the need to protect the green spaces of Oxfordshire.  The walk will celebrate all the endangered countryside along each of the three proposed corridors.

 
 
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I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of walking, that is, of taking walks - who had a genius, so to speak, for SAUNTERING, which word is beautifully derived “from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretence of going a la Sainte Terre,” to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, “There goes a Sainte-Terrer,” a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander.
Every walk is a sort of crusade, preached by some Peter the Hermit in us, to go forth and reconquer this Holy Land from the hands of the Infidels.
— Walking, Henry David Thoreau
 
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Schedule of Events

The Route

The 6-piece folk group, Riot of Gollins, will be performing their Otmoor Riots song cycle at The Crown in Charlton-on-Otmoor during our lunch stop from 1:15-2:00!

The bells of the churches surrounding Otmoor will be rung throughout the day lending their ancient voices in celebration and support for what should remain our green and pleasant land.  

The walk begins at 9:30 am in Horton cum Studley, and continues on to Murcott, Fencott, Charlton on Otmoor, Oddington, Noke, Beckley, and finishes back at Horton around 6:00 pm with a ceremonial fence burning.  There will be stops at each of the villages.  A detailed map of the route and timings will be made available at each stop. We will walk in rain or shine!  

At 8:00 am there will be an optional loop from Horton cum Studley to the ancient Bernwood Forest and back. 

The more people that join the walk, for all or part of it, the stronger the message sent to the government that we do not want or need the Expressway!

 

 

 
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Springtime on otmoor

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St. Andrew's Church, Oddington

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Bernwood Forest

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Rood Screen and Garland, Charlton on Otmoor

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RSPB Bird Reserve

 
 
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History

The Otmoor Riots

 

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OT MOOR was marshland until the mid-19th century; a remote area with its own distinct character and a close-knit community. People were not prepared to let landowners ride roughshod over their rights and drain the wetland when the moor was fenced off in 1829.  Their anguish inspired the rhyme:

The fault is great in Man or Woman
Who steals the Goose from off a Common;
But who can plead that man’s excuse
Who steals the Common from the Goose.

Rioters blackened their faces, wore women's cloaks and tied black scarves over their heads and armed themselves with billhooks, hatchets, pitchforks and staves.  On some nights, up to 150 men set out to destroy hedges and stakes with billhooks.  Attempts were mad to keep the situation under control by stationing Coldstream Guards at Islip and additional policemen in the villages, although they could have none at Charlton because no one would offer them lodgings.  The authorities also tried to bribe men to inform, leading to the rhyme:

I went to Noke
And nobody spoke.
I went to Brill
They were silent still.
I went to Thame
It was just the same.
I went to Beckley
They spoke directly.

Everything came to a head September 6, 1830, when about 1,000 people walked the seven mile circumference of Otmoor in broad daylight, destroying every fence in their way.  Handbills were published by The King of Otmoor, Given at Our Court of Otmoor.  The Riot Act was read to them, and the Oxfordshire Yeomanry was summoned.  But they refused to disperse and 66 rioters were arrested, 41 of whom were loaded aboard wagons to be taken to Oxford gaol, escorted by 21 yeoman.  The men were not restrained, so, when a large mob from the St. Giles Fair in Oxford attacked the escort with stones and bricks, the prisoners escaped.

- Christine Bloxham, The Oxford Times

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Participants

Join Us!

 

The event is free, but participants will need to provide their own packed lunches and bring plenty of water.  There are two pubs along the route, The Crown in Charlton-on-Otmoor and the Abingdon Arms in Beckley, where drinks can be purchased. 

You can walk as much of the route as you like. 

If you prefer to cycle around the moor instead, please do!  You can join us at the village stops, and with your lunch in Charlton-on-Otmoor, and also at the end for a glass of something while the fence burns!

Everyone is welcome, including dogs with leads. 

Please note that you are responsible for your own safety and that of any children that accompany you.

 

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“(I am of the) very strong opinion that in no circumstances should a motorway be routed through any part of Otmoor nor through the Bernwood Forest complex.”
— finding of Inspector, re-routing of the M40, 1984
 
 
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