Long Walk: 4th March led by Chris Mansfield
Fifteen of us met by the Chequers Pub in Fingest at 9.30. The gate to the car park was not open as promised but we all managed to park on the road. It was a beautiful sunny day though with a very cool breeze. We set off soon after 9.30 along Chequers Lane leading northwards out of the village. After ½ mile we left the road to join a flat path still going north, following this path for nearly 1 mile and then turning off left to follow an uphill bridle path through woodland to reach the road at Ibstone. After a short distance on the road we took another footpath leading into woods, flat at first but soon descending steeply, then on down across fields to enter woods of the Wormsley Estate and on to reach a road. After crossing the road we took a path opposite leading up a field, getting steeper as it went, then entered woodland where steps had been cut to assist us up the final very steep hill. At the top we turned left to follow a level path which contoured the hill giving excellent views before turning away to go gently up hill to reach Turville Court. We turned left by Turville Court to follow a path, flat at first but soon descending to reach the village of Turville. On through the village we took the well worn path over to Fingest and to The Chequers for lunch, arriving at 12.25. Two tables had been reserved for us and we were very quickly served with a very good lunch – the speed of service being notable – especially as we hadn’t even pre-ordered. Three of our party went home after lunch while the rest of us did another short loop, walking to Skirmett, climbing the long hill up into Adams Wood and then circling back to Fingesr, pausing to look at one of the finest views in the Chilterns at the Fieldfare Stile before the steep descent back to the village. It was such a lovely day with sun most of the time, just a little mud, some quite steep ups and downs but worth it for the wonderful views.
Strollers Walk : March 9th led by Sheila Lane
16 strollers met at the Swan at Little Kimble for this local stroll with 9 staying for lunch at the pub afterwards. It was a dry day – a good walk enjoyed by all.
Medium Walk – March 13th led by Chris Mansfield
Four Chiltern Villages, 8 miles
13 of us met in Little Missenden on a dry, bright day but with a cool breeze. After 2 weeks without rain the ground was mostly very dry and hard, but we still managed to find some extremely muddy patches. We set off at 9.30am to walk along the Misbourne Valley, noticing that the river was very full, to reach the cricket club at Shardeloes near Amersham. Since we had last been this way a memorial garden of many tall white wooden crosses had been erected – presumably for the 100 year anniversary WW1. After a short stop here we continued on across fields, over the bypass and then along backs of houses, skirting Amersham, to emerge on a road in Old Amersham with quaint cottages. Our path soon led us away from the road, over more fields and past backs of more houses to reach and cross the bypass again, this time by a footbridge. Now, with Amersham behind us, we took a path which climbed gently for same time giving very good view over the town and surrounding countryside as we neared the top of the hill. Continuing on we soon arrived at Coleshill and walked through the village admiring the many pleasant properties and some lovely gardens, before turning off onto a footpath across fields and through West Wood to reach the road at Winchmore Hill. Here we turned right going downhill to T junction, then left until a footpath on our right led us along a track before going downhill, then alongside a wood before the final long field path to reach the road at Penn Street and the Squirrel pub for lunch, arriving at 12.20. A table had been reserved for us and we all enjoyed a good lunch and chat. We set off again at 1.45 to walk through Penn Wood and then along Toby’s Lane an ancient by-way, finally dropping down back to the Misbourne valley and Little Missenden, arriving at 2.50pm. A very good walk, with excellent views without too much effort.
Grand Union Canal Walk – leg 1 March 19th
Eighteen of us took the train into London meeting at Marylebone Station just after 10.30am. It was a dry but very cold day with a keen wind – most of us thought the temperatures in London would be a little warmer – but not so! We had a short walk to Paddington Basin, the end of the Paddington Arm and were surprised by the development all along the basin – beautiful modern buildings and lots of eateries. Our walk took us on through Little Venice – lots and lots of moored boats – but the cold weather prevented us from lingering longer to take in all that there was to see. On from Little Venice the canal at times was extremely dirty with rubbish in and out of the water, but other parts were a haven of peace with water birds making lots of noise. We passed the very large Kensall Green cemetery and continued on to the Grand Junction Pub near Harlesdon arriving at 1pm. A large table had been reserved for us at this canalside pub – shame we couldn’t sit outside – and the food was quickly served – not always as hot as was wanted but good and plentiful. On back to the canal after lunch for the last 2 miles, crossing the North Circular via an aquaduct before leaving the canal to walk to Alperton station to get a tube train back to Marylebone for the journey home. A very good first leg with lots to see.
Main Walk : March 23rd led by Jacqui Kennedy
5 ½ miles from Bledlow.
Thirteen eager walkers met up in the car park behind The Lions of Bledlow and we headed up towards Lodge Hill. It was a beautiful sunny day and we were all looking forward to some good view of the surrounding countryside. Crossing the Icknield Way, we joined The Ridgeway, branching off to the right just before Wigan’s Way. Crossing the road, we carried on, taking the footpath to the left and then along the southern side of Lodge Hill, and then skirted round the eastern end of the hill, meeting up with The Ridgeway again.
I had intended taking the lower path back towards Bledlow, but it was such a beautiful day we decided to climb to the top of Lodge Hill – it was well worth it – the views to each side were wonderful. Had a short break whilst we recovered from the ascent and enjoyed the scenery. We continued along the top and down the other side and headed back to Bledlow. Branching off to the right, the path took us down to a small copse and up the other side, over the Icknield Way and along the edge of a couple of fields, along a footpath running between the houses, coming out on the road near the Church. The Church. incidentally, was swarming with workmen erecting scaffolding – we assumed they were doing maintenance work.
We headed back to The Lions and ten of us enjoyed a welcome drink and meal. It had been a lovely morning – nice walk, nice lunch and good company. I subsequently found out the next day that the workmen at the Church were covering every single window with heavy black drapes in preparation for filming a scene inside the Church for a Gothic television programme!