Walking – May 2016

Long Walk: 4th May led by David & Jenny Brown

Chess Valley – 9 ½ Miles

This walk covered a particularly attractive part of the Chess Valley, crossing over into Hertfordshire and linking the quaint villages of Latimer, Flaunden, Sarratt and Chenies.
We were very fortunate that the walk coincided with the start of a spell of excellent settled sunny weather and we enjoyed warm temperatures and a cloudless bright blue sky for the whole day. The walk commenced at Stony Lane parking area, just outside Little Chalfont and there were 11 of us, 10 members, a guest and 2 regular canine companions. We had an easy start going downhill, on the minor road, to cross the River Chess, before climbing up through the ancient village of Latimer with its Tudor oak framed cottages and overlooked by the impressive Victorian grandeur of Latimer Place.

We were soon off the road and climbed up through Long Wood which was adorned with drifts of bluebells and yellow flowers of wild spurge. Soon we were walking through our second picturesque village, Flaunden and then onto the southern edge of the thickly wooded Chipperfield Common, a particularly beautiful part of the walk. We paused at the Apostle’s pond, which some members had visited previously, before heading for Sarratt and then onward for lunch at The Cock Inn, Church End.
Given the lovely weather, we were able to enjoy our ‘pensioners specials’ lunches outside in the beer garden, set in a tranquil woodland clearing. Suitably rested and refreshed we continued our walk, for the final 3 miles , down into the Chess Valley to walk along the river and take the opportunity to purchase freshly picked watercress from the Chess Valley Watercress farm. Then onward to Chenies, of Chenies Manor fame, built in 1460 and noted for its impressive Tudor architecture and gardens. We skirted the manor house and were soon on the bridle path which took us on a thankfully, easy level route, back to our parking place.

.Strollers Walk : May 9th led by Andria Melville-Jackson

Walked to Bledlow, back to Risborough on the bike trail.
Nine walkers, lovely sunny day, plenty of chatter from walkers and birds.

GUC Walk – May 19th – Nether Heyford to Braunston, 12 miles

Just 12 of us met at Braunston and leaving 3 cars drove to Nether Heyford to start this next leg. It was a dry day with some sunshine and very pleasant walking on mostly broad grassy paths. It was quite noisy at times with the M1motorway one side and the railway line the other but was still a lovely walk with lots to see and quite busy locks as we approached our lunch stop at the New inn at Buckby some 4 miles from the end. Our lunch, not pre-ordered, was served quickly and efficiently as we sat outside by the canal lock. We set off after lunch at 2.30 for the last few miles but just before Braunston an ice cream shop was encountered and almost to a man, everyone veered in coming out holding ice creams which we consumed sitting on a lock gate! A lovely interlude. We continued on for the last half mile with rain now threatening to reach the cars at about 5pm.without getting wet. Then it was the journey home via Nether Heyford to pick up the other cars, arriving home at about 6.15. A long but very enjoyable day!

Medium Walk – May 13th led by Pat Fowler

15 members met at The Boot public House on a rather grey day with a biting cold wind. It was a delight to welcome Bob and Brenda, it being the first U3a walk Bob had been able to do since last September. After a short walk along the road we turned left onto the Chiltern Way. Walking along the track we could see Lacey Green across the valley in the distance. After a short while we turned right into fields and had wonderful views towards Lodge Hill and a distant Lacey Green. It was very chill up here and we were pleased to get to the bottom of the hill and join the track which runs along below Lodge Hill. Through a couple of gates and then we turned left to pass by Callow Down Farm, now going up hill to reach Routs Green.

A drink stop at the top of the hill was welcomed, we then turned left in Routs Green to go back along the Chiltern Way. After a short while we turned right onto a track to head for the Bledlow Ridge road (although I think not many people realised it, we had reached the point where we earlier had turned left to enter fields!). We crossed straight over the road and entered a field with views over to Spriggs Alley. Turning left through a hedge we came high above Radnage into the Yoesden Nature reserve. By now the sun was out and it was considerably warmer and the views were spectacular, the grass banks were covered with cowslips. We stopped by an information board and then continued down hill heading for Radnage Church.

A leisurely stop to look at the wall paintings and then across the lane and through the church meadow, heading for Bennett End. As the main group turned right to tackle the steep Andridge Hill Bob, Brenda and Sue stayed in the valley to meet us as we came down the other side. The path passes through Andridge Farm and there are lovely views over towards West Wycombe. After joining the others, we then had a while walking along the quiet lane through Bennett End to Bottom Road, Radnage, where we turned left onto the footpath. At the cross tracks we turned left, this path would eventually take us steeply up hill and back to The Boot, where we were well looked after with a very nice lunch, quickly served.

Main Walk – May 23rd led by Jacqui Kennedy

On a fine May morning, a dozen of us set off from the Bugle Horn, Hartwell. We took the main road to Hartwell House, turning left onto the footpath running behind the remains of the Church, coming out on the lane leading to Lower Hartwell Farm. At the footpath, we were welcomed by several beef cattle blocking the gate but a few persuasive prods by Brendan with his walking pole persuaded them to move to let us through! The ground underfoot was very soggy and muddy – which became the norm for most of the walk. After crossing another field, we turned right towards Waddon Hill Farm, through the yard and down to the Thame Valley Walk, which we followed over several fields, through to Swan’s Way, part of the Midshires Way.
Turning right we headed towards Eythrope Park, stopping on the bridge over a ‘waterfall’ by Bridge Lodge. Retracing our steps a few yards, we then turned left onto the Midshire’s Way/North Buckinghamshire Way. The first part of the path was wooded on each side and amongst the trees we spotted a rather odd sculpture of a rather chubby, Oriental-type figure, with its arms crossed over its chest. Unfortunately, there was no indication of what it represented, or why it was there. Emerging from the trees, we continued along a raised track and through a break in the trees to our left, we were able to catch a glimpse of the rather splendid Eythrope House. Rounding a bend, we then came across Weir Lodge, rather like a grand summer house, with steps running down to the river, where a canoe was tied up.
Over the bridge, we followed the river running alongside the field. Sadly, the herd of White Rheas we had expected to see on the opposite bank, had been moved, but we did spot several Canada and Brent Geese, with lots and lots of fluffy grey goslings, which was nice. The path then took us over a field back to Waddon Hill Farm; at the yard we turned right carried straight on through another field, coming out at Upper Hartwell; we crossed straight over the lane, over a couple of very soggy fields, back onto Barnet’s Close, passed the Egyptian Well, and back onto the main road. Most of us then stopped at the Bugle Horn where we tucked into a lovely lunch.
Despite the mud and lack of Rheas, it had been a good walk which we all enjoyed