Long Walk: – January 8th led by Chris Mansfield
Tring canals & reservoirs 8 miles
After days of heavy rain the planned walk in the woods around Gt Hampden was abandoned because it was thought it would be just too muddy, so we decided to do a circular walk from Wilstone Reservoir.
Eight of us set off at 9.45 from Wilstone Reservoir car park on a dry morning with the sun threatening to come out. We started off by climbing the steps to reach the reservoir then followed the muddy path around until reaching a field where our route led us across fields to Drayton Beauchamp. We admired the church (from the outside) before continuing on behind it and down steps to reach the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union canal.
It was now easy, flat walking, not too muddy and with good views over the surrounding countryside – a pleasure to be out. Work is continuing on restoring this canal which is complete in places but there is a still an awful lot to do. We left the canal where restoration had ended and continued on past Tringford Reservoir with the sun now shining and many birds on the water, then on alongside Startops Reserveroir to reach the main Grand Union Canal.
Here we turned right to walk along the canal towards Bulbourne and were surprised at the number of barges moving along and through the locks. At Bulbourne we left the canal, crossed the bridge and took a footpath running alongside College lakes to reach the village of Marsworth. We went into the church here and admired the many beautiful hassocks all sewn in tapestry and everyone different. We continued on down a village lane to regain the canal at its junction with the Aylesbury Arm now walking along the tow path towards Aylesbury until reaching the bridge and the road leading back into Wilstone.
We walked through the village, past the pub(!!) and on back to the car park, where we took off our muddy attire and then drove back to the pub, arriving at 1.35. A table had been reserved for us in this popular and busy pub and soon we were sitting down with drinks while awaiting our food. Good food and very friendly staff gave a pleasant end to a lovely walk.
Strollers Walk : January 13th
Leader: Anne Legg
The morning was a “reasonable” one – at least it wasn’t raining and when I arrived at Longdown there were eight hardy souls waiting for me. Although the morning was bright I knew that the mud would be beyond belief if we tried walking up into Cadsden, so in an effort to have the least muddy walk I could, I suggested we crossed back across the road and make our way through the woods towards Whiteleaf – this proved quite reasonable underfoot until we got to Green Hailey which was absolutely ankle deep in mud.
At the top of Green Hailey Judith Bunting and Peter decided to head off to the main road, the rest of us trudged on back down into the woods finally crossing the road back to Longdown. We had walked about 3 ½ miles by then and everyone had got pretty fed up with the mud so that only Wendy Griffin, Bob (a gentleman from High Wycombe U3A) and myself made our way back to the Potting Shed. This is a very pleasant café at Askett Garden Centre, which we would all highly recommend to all walkers in this locality. They have a notice at the entrance which says “Muddy Wellies and Paws” are all welcome.
Medium Walk – January 17th led by Chris Mansfield
An 7 mile walk from the Fox at Ibstone
A group of us met at the Fox after days of heavy rain wondering just what the day would bring (more showers forecast) and how muddy it would be. We decided to follow the planned route but if conditions became too wet and muddy we would deviate to lanes and roads where possible. Luckily the going, though soft with some mud, was not too bad so we stayed on the planned paths throughout.
After crossing Ibstone Common we followed a path very steeply downhill then up the other side on a much more gentle path to reach Ibstone Church. We walked through the churchyard with the sun now making an appearance, winter aconites were in flower but no snowdrops yet. We continued on down a path, sometimes in woodland, then over fields giving good views over the Hambleden valley to reach Turville. From here we followed a footpath to Fingest where we stopped by the church for elevenses.
Fortified, we set off again, firstly along a lane, then along a footpath running for over 2 miles in a shallow valley – it was muddy at times but we have walked through far worse! We finally left the valley path on a path leading steeply uphill through woodland to reach the road at Ibstone. After a short walk along the road we arrived back at the Fox at approx 1pm. A table had been reserved for us and after divesting ourselves of our muddy gear we sat down together and enjoyed a very good lunch – quickly served and good value.
We met in the car park of The Grand Junction Arms, Bulbourne for a medium 5’ish mile out and back walk
It was a perfect day (just like the song) when 7 of us and a dog set off at 1000hrs.
The towpath was only slightly muddy and rather different from the previous week, when I had done a “reccy” and the Canal had seeped onto the towpath in places.
Not many fishermen around…… probably still drying out from the previous week ? Although I had also been told that the fishing season had not yet started as the reservoirs were not yet stocked with fish. This could be a reason why we saw only one Kingfisher and no Cranes at all.
Just after The Bluebell Cafe we turned around for the return walk, but instead of using the towpath went up the steps and along the side of the reservoirs for a while.
Arriving back at the Pub some of us stayed for a drink and a snack. Resisting the tempting menu!