Walking – November 2015

Long Walk: 4th November led by John Stallwood

7 miles around Bryant’s Bottom

After torrential rain overnight and still pouring at 7-30 I need not to have worried because it had stopped by the time 9 of us had assembled at the ‘Gate’ car park at 9-30. We started off just after 9-35 a short amble down the road brought us to our first path where we turned right and walked straight up the hill and through the woods; that warmed us all up nicely! It was compensated by the colours of the leaves on the trees, and it would remain the same throughout this walk coupled with some beautiful Chiltern countryside views. We dropped down to the lovely hamlet of North Dean where we turned right past the rear of the village hall then up hill again across the fields to reach the village of Speen. Here we turned left then right into Grubbins Lane which led us straight into Lily Bottom lane, rather muddy in places but not too bad. At Lily Bank Farm we turned right then walked up a much more gentle slope to Redland End. We walked up the road and across into a wood where we had a well earned 5 minute rest.

After walking through the wood we came to a large field where we had difficulty finding where the path was meant to be, eventually we corrected ourselves and at the far side were rewarded by a fine view of Hampden House. We continued on past the church, then across the fields between an avenue of trees towards Hampden common. We accidentally walked up some person’s drive instead of being in the woods at the side. At the end of the wood there is a gate which is engraved HORSE RIDING TRAIL directly underneath is a sign which reads NO BRIDLEWAY confusing! We walked more or less straight along the top of Denner Hill past Denner Hill Farm until we reached a very steep downhill footpath on the right which ends in the pub garden, couldn’t be better! The food, which I think everyone of us agreed was excellent. On Wednesdays only, they do a ‘bus pass’ menu for eight fifty which consist of a main, sweet plus tea or coffee which Sheila and Ann enjoyed. Alan and I had burgers with a taste “to die for”. Overall a great walk, great food, only the weather could have been better (or worse).

Strollers Walk : November 9th led by Jan Roberts
Medium Walk – November 13th led by Chris Mansfield

Walk around The Chalfonts 7 miles

It was a brisk autumn morning with the promise of heavy showers as 10 of us met in the public car park at Chalfont St Giles. After donning our wet weather gear we set off at 9.45 to cross the village green, pass the church to take a path leading eastwards across fields and through woodland to arrive at the entrance to the Chiltern Open Air Museum. Our path led us up the drive but we soon turned off over a stile to follow more field paths, now going south to reach the village of Horn Hill where we were overtaken by a short but heavy shower. Continuing on through the village we turned off onto a path going southwest taking us down through woodland to reach a road at Chalfont St Peter. As we walked along roads leading down to the town centre the sun came out, the wind dropped and it was a beautiful autumn day for a while before the next shower blew in. From Chalfont St Peter we picked up the South Bucks Way running along the valley of the Misbourne back to Chalfont St Giles arriving just before 1pm. After going back to the cars to take off our very muddy boots and overtrousers we went to Merlin’s Cave, a pub on the Green where a table had been reserved for us. The pub had been considerably updated and extended since we were last here but the service was rather slow though the food on the whole was good. We left at 2.45 for the drive home having had a far better day than the forecast had led us to believe.

GUC Walk leg 9 November 19th Fenny Stratford to Wolverton, 10 miles

Sixteen intrepid walkers gathered at Aylesbury bus station to start their journey on a 150 bus to Fenny Stratford to commence Leg 8 of their Grand Union Canal Walk. The walk would end at Wolverton, a distance of some 9 ½ miles. Although the forecast was for dry weather, it was raining! Alighting from the bus at Fenny Stratford, there was a convenient bus shelter in which waterproof clothing was donned. The bus stop was close to a major intersection of the A5 road with its various road levels which made finding the canal difficult as it was not visible from the road. However, after a false start and a few mutterings the canal was eventually found and a way on to the towpath discovered.
This particular section of the canal was notable for having no locks and progress was judged by counting off the bridges which were numbered sequentially in descending order towards Birmingham. We started at bridge 93a and were making for bridge 71. There were also mile markers indicating the distance to Braunston but counting off bridges was more satisfying. The rain continued but not too heavily as we progressed along the towpath. This section of the canal runs along the eastern edge of the Milton Keynes built up area but this was not apparent as the canal is well screened by vegetation. We noted that new housing estates were growing to the east of the canal expanding the town.
After walking for about 2 miles, we noticed a metalled path signposted ‘Canal Boulevard’ intended for walkers and cyclists which ran parallel to the towpath. This made walking much easier than using the muddy towpath so this was followed until it branched off about 3 miles from our destination. At this time of the year, there was little narrow boat movement along the canal although we did see two boats tied together in parallel negotiating a narrow bridge.
Expectation was high as we counted down the bridges because the Black Horse pub we were to stop at was after bridge 76. When we arrived there we were greeted with ‘Your coffee and tea is ready for you’. This was a shock as cold drinks and meals were the norm. The confusion was soon sorted out and the pub provided hot food in surprisingly quick time. It appears that another group had ordered the coffee and tea for next February! We were off on schedule for the final stretch of a couple of miles to Wolverton. As we approached our final bridge, there was a long mural of a steam train painted on a wall by the railway line.
Bridge 71 soon arrived and we made our way to Wolverton Station to commence our return journey. The next suitable train was destined for Leighton Buzzard where we could catch the bus.. However, the ticket office was not manned, and we had to use the infernal ticket machine. Thankfully, we had time which was needed to sort out the rail card and non-railcard holders and then get the correct tickets – unfortunately no group tickets could be bought.
We were soon in Leighton Buzzard in the dark trying to find our way to the bus stop. We were directed by a local lady and set off. It was only when we arrived at the bus stop that we realized that three of our party were missing. They had remained at the station to use the toilet; however they soon appeared, and we all caught the 150 bus back to Aylesbury. The bus was on time despite the heavy evening rush-hour traffic and only one of our group had to stand!
We were finally back in Aylesbury and headed for the cars to finish off what was a very satisfying day.

Main Walk : November 23rd Leader Angela Wall

Long Crendon, 5 miles

It was a lovely morning after a period of wet and windy weather, so twelve walkers and two dogs met at The Eight Bells in Long Crendon in high spirits. Passing the lovely old Court House and church at the end of the High Street, we took the path down the hill and along the track to Notley Barn. Then across marshy land (not too wet!) and a small copse by the stream, to walk up through the willow fields to Chearsley. Turning left when we came to the village roads, we walked up to the village green, past the pub and crossing the main road, took the road to Chilton. It was still fine and on taking the footpath to the left which took us to the back of Chearsley House, we were rewarded with beautiful views over the valley. Returning to the road, we walked towards Chilton and then took a path to the left into a muddy field, thankfully devoid of cows. Our path took us down into the valley and across some fields and stiles until we came to a fairly steep hill. However, we walked at a pace that suited everyone and we were soon by the gate at the top of the hill, looking back at the lovely views and walking through College Farm back to Long Crendon to enjoy a good lunch at The Eight Bells.