Long Walk 7th March led by Jenny & David Brown
West Wycombe to Risborough, 9 miles
This was a linear walk in good weather with light cloud and sunshine. Our party of 11 took public transport to West Wycombe where we began the walk with a stiff climb up to the Dashwood Mausoleum and St Lawrence church. From this viewpoint we had excellent and far reaching views along the valleys and ridges, which continued throughout the walk.
The route then progressed along the ridge and down to Bradenham. From here we walked up the west ridge through open fields, bridle paths and woods to Lacey Green, for lunch at the Black Horse pub. Following excellent and good value food and drink, four of the group finished their walk and caught the bus back to Risborough, whilst the remaining seven walkers continued for another 3 miles back to Risborough via Pyrton Springs and the Ridgeway.
A refreshing Spring walk which was very welcome after all the heavy snow and icy conditions of the previous week.
Strollers 12th March – led by Jill Spencer
It was a dull day with rain forecast when 7 of us met at The Lions of Bledlow ( one went back as soon as she discovered how muddy it was).
We started from the Pub car park at 10.30am and trudged along fields then part of the Ridgeway before descending down the public footpath leading into Chinnor. Before we reached the railway track we turned into a field and walked diagonally across heading back towards Bledlow. The terrain was difficult as the footpaths were very wet and muddy. We were able to do most of the walk without the rain which did not start until we were nearing the end our walk. The walk finished at 12.30 pm and 6 people stayed on for lunch. The distance walked was 3 miles but it felt longer as it was hard going!
Shakespeare Way, Leg 1 Stratford to Alderminster, 7 miles, March 15th
It had rained for most of the night, so it was a rather grey and damp morning when we set off early and drove to Alderminster, where to Chris’ relief, all twenty of us met on time in the car park of The Bell Inn. As we were early, we went into the Inn and some who were caffeine tolerant had coffee before we strolled to the bus stop and waited for the No. 50 bus to Stratford. Would we all fit on the bus? No problem, it was a double decker and confidently waving our bus passes at the rather bemused driver, we piled on to the top deck and were soon on our way to Stratford. We began to notice flooded fields but hoped that these were not a foretaste of things to come! After getting off the bus in Wood Street, we made our way to Shakespeare’s birthplace to start the first leg of the Shakespeare’s Way. The customary group photo was taken and we walked through Stratford avoiding the parties of foreign and primary school children, until we reached the Royal Shakespeare Theatre where we stopped to look at the theatre and for some to visit the loos!
Our path then took us alongside the swollen River Avon to Holy Trinity Church where The Bard and his wife are buried, and eventually along a path leading to Clifford Chambers. We followed the valley of the River Stour and were in high spirits enjoying the lovely countryside, warm early Spring Sunshine and picturesque villages such as Atherstone on Stour with their large manor houses and black and white cottages. It wasn’t too muddy and all was going smoothly until we reached THE FLOOD! For about 50 yards the path went through a ditch which had overflowed its banks. Help, what should we do? We ventured deeper and deeper trying to keep out of the deepest parts but, oh dear, eventually the inevitable happened and the water flooded into our boots and we all had soaking wet socks and boots. A bedraggled group of walkers could be seen pouring water out of boots and wringing out socks, except for “Saint John” who miraculously walked on water and didn’t get his feet wet!
With squelchy boots we trudged on our way feeling a bit cold and wet but were soon uplifted by blue skies and warm sunshine. Preston on Stour was reached where the “colourful cottages” were bright and cheery. Eventually our path took us to the fields of Alderminster Farm and after disturbing the sheep and lambs, we walked along a delightful path high above the river until we climbed a steep bank to reach the main road. A short walk along the road brought us back to the Bell Inn in Alderminster. After taking off our wet foot gear, we all went into the Inn and were treated to the MOST AMAZING lunch/afternoon tea. Big bowls of warming tomato and sweet chilli soup, platefuls of a huge variety of sandwiches, superb chips and delicious chocolate brownies, lemon drizzle cakes, profiteroles and fresh fruit tartlets all for £!0 per head! It was with rather full stomachs and glazed eyes that we reluctantly returned to our cars to drive home. A super day with fun
Main Walk 26th March – led by John Stallwood
Nine walkers met on a sunny Spring like day at Cholesbury Common. We set off at 10am walking along quiet lanes, across fields and through woodland. The going underfoot was very soft with lots of mud to contend but the paths were mostly flat so everyone managed ok. We walked through Bellingdon and later passed Dundridge Manor, a moated Manor House – complete with drawbridge! – with lots of daffodils and snowdrops (going over) making a carpet under the trees. In the woods we saw the signs of many bluebells to come. We passed many expensive looking properties as we circled back towards Buckland to reach Drayton Wood. Here our path took us through the wood leading us to the Iron age fort at Cholesbury,. We decided to walk around the fort for a short distance before emerging on a lane leading us back to the car park. Seven of us then drove to Asheridge and The Blue Ball for lunch – a very good choice – a proper pub serving good value food. A pub to visit again! It was a lovely walk on a beautiful spring day with lots of interest.