Long Walk 7th February led by Peter West
Thirteen walkers met in the car park of the Red Lion cafe at Bradenham prior to departing on their 8 miles route which would take in the fine Chiltern countryside. After days of cold, damp, and hazy weather, the day was beautiful with glorious sunshine and unlimited views. A hard overnight frost had firmed up muddy patches which was much appreciated by everyone.
After a briefing by the leader, we set off in a westerly direction skirting the edge of Park Wood until we reached Small Dean Farm. Crossing the road, we commenced the gradual incline up to Loosley Row taking in the extensive views over towards Stokenchurch. A steep climb gave more fine views before we reached Lacey Green. Progressing down Goodacres Lane, we took the footpath that led us to Kiln Lane which made for easier walking until we reached the road that led to Speen. After a short walk down the road, we turned off into Flowers Bottom and walked along lush meadows and over stiles until we commenced the steep climb up into Courns Wood. We emerged from the wood onto Clappins Lane and from there up to Walters Ash. We crossed the main road and entered Naphill Common. The intention had been to cross the common and then on down to Bradenham Manor and from there to the cafe on one of two footpaths. However, the ‘recce’ for the walk had revealed that both footpaths had been made impassible by being crossed by the deep ruts of heavy forestry vehicles cutting a swath ten foot wide of liquid mud! A longer alternative route via The Coppice wood took us over the Bradenham Road and through woods with views of the RAF married quarters. We crossed a field to emerge on the Bradenham Road to walk on the grass verge into the village and on to the cafe. The husband of one of our group who was injured and unable to walk with us, met us there for lunch. We all sat down to an excellent meal with beer or other drinks for those so inclined. This brought an end to what was a memorable day helped to a large extent by the beautiful weather.
Strollers 12th February – led by Sheila Lane
Superb Day ! Awoke to heavy frost and a scattering of snow but at 10 .30 a.m. I was amazed and very glad to find 17 people, ready and willing for the walk. We started at the top of New Road and finished there an hour and a half later. The walk was new to some people and there were also 2 people for whom this was their first walk. All went well and 10 of us had lunch together at the George and Dragon.
Medium Walk 16th February led by Chris Mansfield
Thirteen of us met at the Harrow pub, Hughenden Valley on a beautiful sunny, crisp day. We set off at 9.30am to climb the hill behind the pub – a fairly steep but short climb which warmed us up nicely. Then it was mostly level field paths, though as the sun got stronger it soon melted the frost away leaving lots of MUD! On reaching the road at the top of Cryers Hill we crossed and then continued along a very pretty contour path along the side of the Hughenden Valley giving excellent views taking us towards Hughenden Manor. We walked up through the grounds and into the churchyard where we found benches in the sun where we stopped for elevenses. Everyone was so comfortable that it was hard to get going again but finally we did, walking on uphill to pass the Manor and then on downhill through woodland before climbing gently again to reach Downley. We crossed the Common, passed the pub and continued on along very muddy paths at the edge of Naphill Common, finally leaving the path to continue along the road for a while. Soon we turned off the road over a stile by Great Moseley Farm to walk along field paths, then through a wood and finally steeply downhill to reach the Speen Road. We crossed the road to take a field path opposite which took us uphill for while then we turned right to follow the final path downhill back to The Harrow and lunch, arriving just before 1.30pm. A table had been reserved for us and the good value food was quickly served – a proper pub serving good pub food -must come here again.
Main Walk 26th February – led by Angela Wall
It was a very cold, crisp but sunny morning when eight hardy walkers met at the windmill car park in Brill. The walk through Brill was, to say the least, bracing, as we headed eastwards down the road to Thame into the Siberian wind. We soon turned onto a track and with a bit more protection from a hedge, we walked down a field edge path until we reached the shelter of a copse. The path narrowed and took us further downhill to Leatherslade Farm. Luckily, the ground was still frozen so we had little difficulty negotiating muddy and soggy patches. Crossing a stile on the right we walked across fields until we reached the village of Oakley. Turning right at the main Bicester road, we made our way past the church and turned right up a track by the village green. If the ground hadn’t been frozen, this track would have been almost impassable because of deep mud. We carefully made our way through woods until we met a track on the right leading uphill. The track led us slowly up to the Brill – Oakley road where we turned left and after about 100 yards, crossed a stile on the left into a field. We were rewarded with wonderful views across a large swathe of countryside as we made our way across the field towards Brill and after crossing several stiles, the path led us back to the windmill. A lovely, bracing walk in fine weather ended with a good lunch at The Pheasant with its roaring log fire and charming Romanian waiter.