Long Walk 4th April led by Peter West
Wormsley Valley, 10.5 miles
The forecast was bleak: rain and strong winds. However, the rain did not start until about 11 am but continued for most of the rest of the walk but was never heavy. There had been much rain over the previous days and this had the greatest impact on the walk as footpaths and even fields we crossed were very muddy making walking laborious.
Twelve walkers commenced the walk at Ibstone Common and soon the path took us into beech woods which were a feature of this walk. Because we had started the walk at Ibstone rather than at Stokenchurch as the walk directions indicated, we had to walk through the built up area of Stokenchurch. This did not take long, and we were soon crossing the M40 footbridge to take us back into the countryside again. Continuing on, we had views of the Chilterns’ landscape with rolling wooded hills and green valleys but rather spoilt by the mist. Eventually, we arrived at Wormsley Park with its quizzical signpost to ‘Upper and Lower Vicars’. Walking along the valley floor, we passed the cricket ground constructed by Paul Getty. Here we had even more views of the Chilterns but again marred by mist and light rain. The Wormsley Valley is renowned as one of the most beautiful in the Chilterns, and we resolved to return in summer when trees would be in leaf and the weather, hopefully, better. We emerged from woods to find the Fox and Hounds, Christmas Common, nearby. The landlord was expecting us but, although we had pre-ordered food, we were informed that we would have to wait for half an hour before it was ready because another walking group had arrived before us. However, by the time we had bought drinks and settled down all on one table, the food arrived without too much delay. The food was good if a little pricey.
The route back to Ibstone took in more views of the Wormsley Valley. There was a long descent to the valley bottom with views on each side. However, the downside was that there was an even longer steep ascent up the other side which left us all gasping when we arrived at the top. Travelling through more woods brought us back to Ibstone Common and the cars.
This was an interesting walk taking in the Chilterns’ scenery. However, it is not for the fainthearted as the cumulative ascents are reputed to be well over1000ft.
Strollers 9th April – led by Chris Mansfield
Just four of us turned up in Wendover Woods on a rather wet and grey morning for the start of the Firecrest Trail. We set off at 10.30am in drizzle following a broad track leading downhill. After a mile or so we left the broad track to follow footpaths through the woods – these were very muddy with lots of tree roots so care was needed to avoid slipping. The rain gradually became heavier as we wound our way back up through the woods – but the birds were singing and the first signs of buds bursting on the trees made it a pleasant walk despite the weather. We soon arrived back on top then to follow a flat but muddy path back to the car park. After changing out of our wet and muddy gear we went into the café for coffee/hot chocolate and a chat – and to celebrate Wendy’s birthday! We all agreed it was a good way to spend a wet Monday morning!
Main Walk 23rd April – led by Sheila Lane
There were 8 of us meeting at the Spade Oak to walk through Cookham, up and over the golf course, back down to the river with lunch at The Bounty on the riverside. A very happy and enjoyable walk.