Bridge 220 on the Oxford Canal is Skipton Bridge, a footbridge leading from the Holy Cross church in Skpton-on-Cherwell to the far side of the canal where you can join the towpath and after walking through the fields from Thrupp can complete a circular walk by returning alongside the waterway.
Glancing over the bridge to your right you’re greeted with the lush green view dappled with the bright colours of barges.
Our online guide had suggested that we drop into the village of Shipton-on-Cherwell, apparently a pretty little place, well worth exploring, but on this occasion we were just out for a short stroll so didn’t take them up on this suggestion, nor the one that said once over the bridge instead of going straight down to the towpath a good detour would have been to head straight across the field and visit the village of Hampton Gay with its small church and manor house ruins. Definitely a walk for another day.
If however, your map reading skills are as good as mine, and you’ve gone to the left of the bridge, squeezing your way down to the towpath by an obvoiusly lesser used path you’ll reach the waterway with this view from the other side of the bridge with a sign welcoming you to Thrupp.
It looks like my lens needed cleaning, but at least I can see that although it was an overcast afternoon, the sun did break through for a short while.
Pass under the bridge and continue along he towpath with the water on your right. The guide described this part of the walk as particularly pleasant, and I’m more than happy to agree with them, before long we reached a turning point in the canal, apparently here the canal is wide enough for all length of barge to turn around. I hadn’t thought of barges needing to be turned before but I guess given the narrowness of the canal and the length of the boats, this would be a problem faced on more than one occasion.
As I’ve often said, you should never pass up a view presented to you by a bench. I’ve yet to see a bench placed with a view overlooking a brick wall so it’s always worth a pause to see what the bench setter was looking at.
You might like to sit for a while on the bench, just admiring the quiet view, but just a few yards further along the canal this looks like a much more fun place to sit, Annie’s Tea rooms, and look closely at the signpost above … circular walk short route, this must be worth investigating further too.