Banburyshire Rambles Photo-Journal

Paul Mobbs’ photographic record of his walks around ‘Banburyshire’ and ‘The Irondowns’, and occasionally, as part of his work around Britain, the areas beyond.


‘Last Chance (HS)To See’ – Scene 9:

‘Ridgeway Lane, South of Longhole Bridge’

Admiring the late Spring trees of Long Itchington and Ufton Woods

5th May 2018


Ridgeway Lane, running down from the Fosse Way, changes its character after Longhole Bridge on the Grand Union Canal. The thick hedges disappear, offering views across the countryside around – and on the rising slope to the south-east, the blanket of Long Itchington and Ufton Woods drapes over the hilltop and falls into the valley. HS2 will radically change the view as you climb the hill towards Ufton, crossing the valley and diving into the hillside in the heart of the woods.

If you've walked Ridgeway Lane all the way down from the Fosse, the last climb into Ufton offers a view back up the lane. What dominates though is the outline of the woodland on the hill – with its shifting shape and colour over the course of the seasons.

HS2 enters a tunnel at Southam, to emerge from the hillside in the middle of Long Itchington and Ufton Woods Site of Special Scientific Interest. After the 'tunnel portal' and associated buildings, the route then climbs on a rising embankment to the 'Longhole Viaduct', taking it across the Grand Union Canal, Beyond that the embankment rises and then cuts through the top of the hill beyond Welsh Road in a broad cutting, before crossing into the Leam valley.

Ridgeway lane will be re-aligned around and under the new viaduct. The viaduct itself will cross the canal some 5 or 6 metres above Longhole Bridge.

The panorama below shows the view eastwards across the meadows below Wood Farm, from where the embankments begins after Longhole Viaduct (on left) to where the line enters the tunnel portal in the woodlands (on right).

The flat p lain below Long Itchington Woods

Use the slider to move the view from side to side
Load map of this location.

Away from major roads, one of the great attributes of Ridgeway Lane is its relative tranquillity. Running on top of a large embankment, the noise footprint from the line will spread over much of the surrounding area.