Long Walk: 4th July led by David & Jenny Brown
Turville, Fingest and Skirmett – 8.4 miles
This walking route began at Turville Heath and then led us into the upper Hambledon valley with superb views a constant feature throughout the day. We were again fortunate with the weather and enjoyed cloudless skies with temperatures good enough for wearing shorts but not too hot to become overheated. There were 13 members on the walk and Chris Mansfield joined us for lunch. The first part of the walk involved treading a little used path through a hayfield, but fortunately it wasn’t too long before we descended steeply through woods to the Wormsley Estate. Soon we were onto the first steep uphill stretch through fields to St Nicholas Church. Here we encountered our first challenge, how to circumnavigate the grazing cows without disturbing them and perhaps suffering a stampeding herd
The solution, which worked, was to move swiftly up the hill, without stopping, to reach the safety of the second ‘beastless’ field. Out of breath, but relieved we carried on climbing the hill noticing the cows had been too busy munching the lush grass to even notice us!
From the church we were soon back onto a downward track through the woods and then back out into the open where we were greeted by a lovely meadow shimmering with red poppies. Soon we were walking down through Turville village before we ascended again uphill heading for our next village, Fingest. However, our lunch break required a little more walking, so onward we went through more woods and fields to eventually descend down to The Frog pub in Skirmett. Here we had an excellent lunch in the beer garden, although it took some time to arrive, as another walking group had booked into the pub at the same time. Given the lovely weather, no one was concerned, as there can be few more relaxing pleasures than sitting, talking to friends and rehydrating in an English pub garden.
When we reconnoitred this walk we used a Garmin GPS watch and found that the walk involved about 1200 ft of ascent, so after lunch, we took a vote and we unanimously decided to modify the walk at little by avoiding the hill up to Poynatts wood and taking an alternative valley route. Despite this, there was still another steep hill climb back to the cars at Turville Heath but again as consolation, we were rewarded by more far reaching views down the Hambledon valley.
.Strollers Walk : July 11th led by Brendan Larkin
Medium Walk – July 15th led by Alan & Hana Mace
The first point of discussion was whether we had a record number of walkers – 18 and this was without our Group Leader of the PR U3A Walking Group, Chris Mansfield (but Chris was able to join us for lunch).
A 35 minute drive to the beautiful 17th Century Pub, The Rising Sun, nestled in the small Chiltern hamlet of Highmoor Cross, Witheridge Hill near Nettlebed meant an arrival around 9.20am. The publican took a note of everybody’s lunch choice and then we were off.
The weather was overcast and the sun struggled to get through the cloud base, which was a shame as this walk is all about the woods and therefore without the sun’s rays penetrating the tall oak trees it was a little cool. Holly Grove Wood was our first wood and we quickly moved into Padnell’s Wood with the woodland tracks carpeted with leaves blackened and trodden flat. The nettles and brambles were prolific, desperately trying to prevent us making headway. We threaded the village greens of Shepherds Green and Greys Green bordered by typical Chiltern cottages of mellow brick and flint. The Chiltern Society has been hard at work along most of the walk building kissing gates and clearly waymarking the paths.
We walked past Greys Court now owned by the National Trust. In former Tudor and Jacobean times ownership was with the Lovell and then the Knolly family, infamy abound. Adultery, multiple illegitimacies and rumours of murder swirled around Greys Court and its inhabitants. One Lovell lady, playing hide-and-seek at her marriage celebration, locked herself by mistake into a trunk and was discovered three years later, a skeleton in a wedding dress.
Red kites with their piercing shrill swept over the meadows and the rooks of Tartary Wood were also making their presence felt. The homeward path took us through Highmoor Common Wood and finally Nott Wood. A steep road hill climb of 500 yards led us back to The Rising Sun by 1.15pm with everyone needing liquid refreshment. We were able to sit outside the pub on benches with our food being served promptly.
Although the Walking Group has started from The Rising Sun before, no-one had covered this particular walk. Along with such a high turnout this made the day extra special.