A stroll through the older parts of Hook Norton immediately reveals some of the village’s rich and varied past. To help you discover it for yourself, you may find useful our Village Trail booklet, which is available in two forms: you can download the copy presented in this section but notice that this is the original 1970s text with a few relatively recent revisions. Alternatively, you may prefer to purchase a copy of the 2018 booklet, which has a revised and considerably expanded text and an up-to-date map, and may be obtained cheaply from the HNLHG (see our ‘Recommended Reading’). We have also produced a booklet on Hook Norton’s Footpaths: Eight Circular Walks from the Village (2020), which contains some curious historical information.
In taking your explorations a little farther afield, you will begin to hunt out the evidences of Hook Norton’s brief industrialised past. We currently provide a short walking guide to the railway that ran through Hook Norton between 1887 and 1963, with its two great viaducts spanning our two small valleys east of the village and also its southern cutting, which is now a nature reserve. We hope also, in time, to include a short walking guide to the ironstone workings at the east end of the village, where great calcining kilns dominated the approaches to the village a hundred years ago. We can now also present a pictorial guide to one of the more intriguing and attractive of the village’s localities, Down End, which displays evidence of much earlier origins.
In a village full of interesting and historic buildings, mainly built in ironstone, there are many localities and individual buildings that we would like to write about. First of all, we hope to focus on providing brief guides to the village’s three key public buildings – our church, our chapel and our cathedral – in other words, the medieval parish church of St Peter (dating from before the Norman Conquest), the Baptist church (itself a mere 235 years old but representing a faith that has been practised here for over 380 years), and the magnificent Victorian tower brewery, the finest surviving example of its kind in the country.