The D'Arcy Dalton Way is a 66.4 mile footpath that runs close to the western border of Oxfordshire from Wormleighton Reservoir (near Fenny Compton) in the north to Wayland's Smithy in the south. Navigating my way south was virtually problem-free thanks to this book by Nick Moon.
Each chunk of walking has some brief notes about the area followed by a detailed description of the route. The text is accompanied by 15 maps (sketched at a scale of 2 inches to a mile). The maps contain all the important features including the location of pubs!
The words Nick uses to describe the route ahead are excellent. Often he assumes quite rightly that there is nothing in front of you that shows you which way to go (usually because you have to cross a field and the field has recently been ploughed). Instead he gives you a direction to walk by relating to features on the horizon.
Examples are "bear half right across the next field, keeping right of a powerline"; "bear slightly right, aiming just right of Hook Norton Church"; and "bear slightly left across the field beyond to reach a hedge gap just right of a stunted oak tree on the skyline".
Unless you know the area, I think it would be impossible to do the D'Arcy Dalton Way without a guidebook (and this is the only one I could find); to my mind OS maps and waymarks are not enough. Because of the descriptions in the book, it is best to walk the D'Arcy Dalton Way from north to south.
The book also contains the details of eight circular walks (that I've not done) that are near to the D'Arcy Dalton Way, and these are similarly described (and have their own maps). The circular walks vary in length from 4 miles to 13.4 miles.
The book does not include any details about public transport because "bus services are liable to frequent change".
Thanks Nick for a wonderful book.
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