Long Walk 1st February led by Pat Fowler
Eleven of us met at The Crown public house for the February long walk on a damp drizzly day. Renovations were taking place at the pub and we all squashed into what remained of the bar to pre-order our food. A suggestion that in view of the weather we stayed and drank coffee all morning made the publican’s eyes light up, but we are a hardy bunch and so off we went despite the rain, in good spirits heading for ‘Pophleys’ the house where Ian Anderson of the group Jethro Tull lived before de-camping to a Scottish Island. Heading downhill through woods (if you walk from Radnage you will always encounter hills) at the bottom we turned left to enter Radnage Woods. So far the tracks had all been good. A small diversion to avoid a very muddy field took us up hill towards Spriggs Alley. This alternative gave us a stretch of very boggy wooded track before coming out to the lane and turning right. In a short while we turned left off the lane to go downhill through woods heading for the Bledlow Ridge road.
. A brief stop in the valley, then ahead up a very steep hill (who got to the top and then realised she had left the dog lead on a fence post at the bottom and had to do the steep hill again – that will teach her!). On reaching the road we turned right for a short stretch along the road, turning right we joined the Seven Shires way. 2 tricky stiles followed, we stayed in fields on the top of the hill before going steeply downhill to join the track leading towards Radnage. A short stretch of lane before turning left cross Church Meadow, past St Mary’s Church into fields. As time was pressing an adjustment was made to the route, a short walk along Bottom road, then a turn right across a field and into a wood. We were now joining the lane which would take us back to The Crown where we finished the 8 mile walk at the appointed time.
Medium Walk February 10th led by Peter West
The walk was 7 miles long and commenced and finished at the Pink and Lily at Lacey Green. The forecast was dire: zero degrees with a significant wind chill factor and sleet and snow showers. The walk was characterised by mud and more mud. We set off down Lily Bottom Lane in a light snow shower which persisted for most of the walk but fortunately was never heavy. Turning right onto Grim’s Ditch, the way became very heavy going in the mud on this bridleway; some cheated and walked in an adjacent field! It was as a relief when we came to the much firmer Slad Lane and then Hollow Bottom which we followed until we arrived at Speen. A short section of road led us to the now closed Old Plow pub where we turned left and climbed a steep but short hill to Westcroft Stables which is the Home for Horses in Speen. Negotiating several buildings without any waymarks, we came to a gate in a field of horses behind which was a large area of thick mud. Despite the good natured grumbling of the walkers, we pressed on sticking to the edge of the field. We were soon climbing up over fields to find that the path took us closely behind some of the married quarters of RAF High Wycombe which proved an interesting diversion. Our route then took us through Courns Wood and across open fields down to Upper North Dean. From there, it was another climb up to Piggots and then, firstly through one wood and then skirting another, we came to Pye Corner at Speen. Then came the length of unadopted road running by College Plantation and, crossing the road, we commenced the long stretch beside Monkton Wood that would take us to Lily Bank Farm. Although not a bridleway, this path was very muddy particularly as we approached the farm – ankle deep in places which required deft footwork to avoid. It was good to to be back on the firm surface of Lily Bottom Lane and only a short distance from the pub. A table had been set out for us to sit round, and a drink and a meal was enjoyed by all. After a very satisfying day which the weather had not spoiled we departed with the unwelcome prospect of having to clean very muddy boots and launder equally muddy gaiters and trousers.
Strollers 13th February led by Janet Griffin
Beautiful morning. Eleven walkers enjoyed the walk from Bradenham via Small Dean farm. Several stayed for lunch at Golden Cross.
Main Walk February 27th led by Chris Mansfield
The forecast was dire so it was lovely to see 12 eager walkers assembling at Wilstone Reservoir car park ready for our walk. As it happened the threatened hail & heavy rain did not materialise until the afternoon and we had a good walk with no rain and even a watery sun every now and again. We set off at 10am to walk along the edge of the reservoir where it was very muddy but soon reached fields where the going was much better. As we approached Drayton Beauchamp we saw a carpet of yellow aconites – such a beautiful sight. We continued on past the church and down some steep steps to reach the Wendover arm of the Grand Union canal – a lot of which has now been restored but there are still sections being worked upon. The tow path was very muddy and slippery here and one of our walkers slipped over twice! – covering herself in mud but thankfully not injured. Later we left the canal to walk between the lakes at Marsworth to join the Grand Union itself leading us back towards Wilstone where some of us had lunch at the Half Moon pub – good food and such good value. After a pleasant hour eating and chatting we set off for the last half mile back to the car park.