Long Walk: – July 5th led by Chris Mansfield
Gt Missenden – Wendover, 11 miles
A group of five set off from the car park at Gt Missenden at 9.20 on a grey but dry day. We left the car park and joined the South Bucks Way across fields to Mobwell and then on across more fields now going uphill to walk through Coneybank Wood. It was very muddy through the wood which surprised us as we had been having quite a lot of dry weather. We continued on still following South Bucks Way to reach cross paths at Cobblershill Farm where we left this path to take another path along the ridge to eventually reach Dunsmore.
Here we stopped for a short break by the duckpond where the sole resident, a white duck, came out to greet us, probably hoping for food. We soon continued our way on an undulating path to reach Wendover where we joined the Ridgeway Path which soon led us uphill into the woods. At the top of a hill we left the Ridgeway to follow woodland paths to reach the Swan at Swan Bottom – though some members of the group were so deep in conversation they walked straight past the pub without even noticing it! Must be a first. The leader kindly pointed out their error and we all went in for lunch.
The pub has recently been refurbished and has a very good senior’s menu – Silver Swan – which Peter took advantage of – prawn cocktail followed by fish & chips – and we still had 3 miles to walk! The rest of us ate more lightly but the food and service was very good.
We set off again at 2pm following field paths to reach Lee Common and then on across more fields before the last long downhill through fields of wild flowers back into the Misbourne valley and so back to Gt Missenden and the car park. As we drove towards home we decided to check out the newly opened café at Askett Garden centre where we enjoyed tea and cakes sitting outside – a lovely end to a beautiful walk.
Medium Walk – July 12th led by Libby & Geraint James
6 walkers braved the heat and met in the car park by Hughenden Church at 10.00, Peter, Jenny, Sheila, Angela, Ger and Libby. This was a walk completely led by an I phone map which had been plotted on the map on the phone and “sat nav” told us if we were on the correct path – it worked brilliantly, but we did have maps “just in case”.
The walk took us initially up through Hughenden Estate and on to Downley Common, through the back of Bradenham Woods (previous walkers will remember the quagmire we met there) – this time the woods were lovely, just a few residual patches of gloop. We headed out into the sun across a field of oil seed rape and took cover in North Dean Wood, then crossed a field full of ice cream cows and plodded up Pigotts Hill to yet more shade in Pigotts Wood. We descended the ridge and then headed up the evil steps to Cryers Hill, again in the shade. We made our way to the White Lion pub on Cryers Hill for refreshment (passing a school playground our group rescued a ball for school children and were saluted on our way.) We then made our way down the valley to Hughenden car park. We had walked a modest 7.5 miles, but with 3 “ups” and no sun stroke!
Main Walk: _July 22nd leader Jacqui Kennedy – 5 miles walk around Gt Hampden
On a beautiful, warm summer’s day, a small group of us set off from Great Hampden Cricket Ground, heading towards Hampden House. Emerging from the brief spell of shade, we walked through the parched field of wheat, past what is thought to be the site of an old windmill, and through the gate into more sunshine. We crossed over the field in the direction of the gatehouse, disturbing many butterflies flitting through long grass – Meadow Browns, Marbled White, Ringlets – and spotting a number of wild flowers. Over the fields behind Hampden House, across the road and alongside a field of wheat. The hedgerows were full of wildflowers – Knapweed, Scabious, Hedge Woundwort, and many more.
Over the Rignell Road and up the other side, into the welcome shade of the wood at the top of the hill. We emerged into the sunshine again and crossed over to Little Hampden, turning left passed the old Rising Sun. Back into shade for a while, then out into sunshine. We walked down along two vast fields of rape, and gratefully entered the woods at the bottom, emerging at the back of what used to be called Dirty Wood Farm, but has been renamed Hampden Chase (very posh!).
Back over the Rignell Road, we followed the shady lane that leads up to Solinger House, out into the sun again, then back into woodland. Turning left, we took our time climbing up the hill through the trees and were glad of the slight breeze that greeted us at the top. We then headed back towards Hampden House in the shade of the trees alongside the path, turned right through the Churchyard and back to the cricket ground. We finished with a well-earned drink and bite to eat at the Hampden Arms and all agreed it had been a thoroughly enjoyable walk.
Chiltern Way leg 5 July 25th – Bidwell to Streatley, 9.2 miles
Postponed until August