Open access land

Designated areas of open country downland (unimproved limestone grassland)

Under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, areas of open country (mountain, moor, heath and chalk downland) and common land were mapped by the government. We worked with land managers and farmers to open up areas of downland access land. Fifteen parcels in eight areas are currently available to the public but some may have restrictions at certain times of the year. Maps of some of the areas are available to download below, as well as suggested parking information, or you can search the Open Access maps on the Countryside Access website.

Current restrictions on access land

Access land can have limited access at certain times of the year. Please observe notices that you see on-site and check this website.

Details of access land areas

We have produced site access plans for most of the downland access areas. These are the map boards showing access points and permissive linking routes that you will find out on the areas of access land.

Access land permissive linking routes were and are not dedicated as public rights of way. They were negotiated with the landowners to enable access to the access land areas when the new rights to access land came in from 2004. They are temporary and can be altered or closed when needed. Please observe site signs.

Areas of access land and maps of parking at sites
No. Area of access land Nearest parking (link to map)
1 Lambourn Corner
A triangular flat area of land linking Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and West Berkshire.
Parking on roadside by byway.
2 Kingstone Down (.pdf format, 180 Kb)
Steep hills of Weathercock Hill and Kingstone Down, part of National Trust's Ashdown estate. Includes flat field of Sarsen Stones.
Parking at Ashdown Park National Trust
3 Whitehorse Hill
The superb White Horse Hill and Dragons Mount, runs next to Ridgeway National Trail.
Parking only at National Trust car park
3 Britchcombe (pdf format, 335 Kb)
A very steep valley with access points (stiles) at the top of the hill each side and linking to the Ridgeway.  Camping and cream teas available at Britchcombe Farm by following the public footpath down the hill.
Parking only at National Trust car park
4 Hackpen Hill and Crowhole Bottom (pdf format, 189 Kb)
Stunning area of downland valley edging onto Ridgeway. Permissive footpaths join up the areas of access land and enable a connection through to Letcombe Basset church as well as a downland link from the Ridgeway to Letcombe Basset village. Note that permissive access was altered from June 2016.
Parking at Letcombe Bassett or Ridgeway car park
4 Pigtrough Bottom (pdf format, 130 Kb)
Very small area of downland valley. Permissive footpath link (with stiles)  from the B4001 but no through route is provided or possible
Parking at Letcombe Bassett or Ridgeway car park
5 Blewburton Hill
Variety of downland parcels in the Blewbury/Aston Tirrold area. Refreshments at the Sweet Olive in Aston Tirrold or the Blueberry and The Red Lion in Blewbury
Street parking at Aston Tirrold
5 Street parking in Lids Bottom (pdf format, 304Kb)
Single large downland parcel in the Blewbury/Aston Tirrold area that runs between two public footpaths. See Blewburton entry for refreshment details.
Street parking at Aston Tirrold
5 Street parking in  Lids Down (pdf format, 152 Kb)
Single area of downland in the Blewbury/Aston Tirrold area. See Blewburton entry for refreshment details.  Note that there is no through route for this parcel.
Street parking at Aston Tirrold
5 Street parking in Aston Downs (pdf format, 626 Kb)
Variety of downland parcels in the Blewbury/Aston Tirrold area. These are currently linked by permissvie footpaths to enable a circular walk to be undertaken. See Blewburton entry for refreshment details.
Street parking at Aston Tirrold
6 Gatehampton (pdf format, 667 Kb)
Four parcels of downland including Hartslock Nature Reserve. All connected to surrounding public rights of way as well as oneconnecting section of access land as a corridor. Refreshments at the Catherine Wheel, the Miller of Mansfield , Pierrepoints cafe & restaurant - all in Goring
Parking at Goring station or street. No parking at reserve or on farm access lanes”
7 Swyncombe Downs (pdf format, 434 Kb)
Areas of downland giving fantastic views across Oxfordshire. Refreshments
at the Fox and Hounds, Christmas Common, the Crown Inn Pishill and the Five Horseshoes at Maidensgrove
Roadside parking
7 Shirburn Hill (pdf format, 142 Kb)
Refreshments  - see Swyncombe
Parking at Cowleaze Wood
7 Watlington Hill
Large area of downland with far reaching views over the Chilterns and Vale.
Large car parking area and year round wheelchair access route from car park to open country viewpoint. Refreshments as for Swyncombe, or visit 
National Trust car park
8 Aston Rowant
A National Nature Reserve. A huge area of downland and woodland accessible directly
from Lewknor Village and the Leathern Bottle public house
Parking also at Cowleaze Forestry Commission woodland and dedicated access land area

Parking in Lewknor village
9 Danes Bottom (pdf format, 151 Kb)
Shallow downland valley near Great Rollright. No access link created. Take care on the A3400 please. Why not visit the Rollright Stones as these are nearby and fully accessible (fee payable)
Nearest parking on A3400 Long Compton Road

General rules on access land

For more information and up to date mapping and restrictions notifications please use the Natural England website.

  • The new access rights apply for walkers only. You may walk in the areas shown as shaded or outlined on the maps
  • Other areas have no access rights - please do not trespass
  • Routes marked in blue are permissive footpaths provided by kind permission of the landowners - they are not dedicated as public rights of way and can be altered or closed at any time. Observe local signs
  • Dogs must be kept on a two-metre (or less) lead between 1 March and 31 July to protect ground-nesting birds *
  • Dogs must be kept on a two-metre (or less) lead at all times when livestock are present*. Remember that a dog attacking or threatening livestock may lawfully be shot
  • From time to time access may have to be restricted to protect livestock, wildlife, or you, so please take notice of any signs saying that land is closed

* except on the line of public rights of way

More information

Interactive countryside access map

Our interactive countryside access map is an invaluable tool to help you explore Oxfordshire's beautiful countryside. The map shows you Public Rights of Way, open access land and walks and rides across the county. It allows you to control which information is displayed, search by parish or postcode, measure distances on the map and report problems on paths.