Today I started Swan’s Way, a long-distance bridleway that runs from just north of Milton Keynes to Goring-on-Thames, a distance of 65 miles. I’ve come across it on several of my walks before, so I’m looking forward to revisiting a few places on the route. As it’s a bridleway rather than a footpath, I expect there’ll be a bit more road walking than usual, but it should still be an interesting route.
I started in Salcey Forest, which I passed through briefly on the Milton Keynes Boundary Walk just a few weeks ago. I followed a surfaced track for about half a mile through the forest, then followed a series of bridleways beside field hedges – the fields were generally stubble or had recently been ploughed. Heard a Buzzard over a nearby wood at one point (eventually got a very distant view of it). Also saw a stoat in a field corner along here on my way back.
The route then went through an empty pasture and along a hedge-lined track, passing under the M1 to reach the village of Tathall End. Nice yellow stone houses, like the nearby villages I saw on the MKBW, and a stream running between the road and the footpath – each house’s drive had a bridge over the stream. After a short road walk, more field paths led me to Linford Wood. Beyond this I soon passed the ruins of a farm.
After a couple of linked pastures, the bridleway continued alongside the hedge of a large ploughed field, then followed a nice green lane for about half a mile – short grass, between hedges about 10 yards apart. Another shorter road walk, then a gated lane downhill to Haversham Mill and a bridge over the river Great Ouse. The lane (almost bare concrete, with just traces of tarmac left on top) continued betwen the river and Linford Lakes over to my left. It passed the ruins of St Peters church, and the walk ended by following the Grand Union Canal a few hundred yards to a road bridge in Great Linford.
This was a very pleasant walk that I greatly enjoyed. Nothing outstanding, and a very flat route, but there was enough variety (with the woods, river and canal, the ruined church and ruined farm) to keep it interesting.