Swan’s Way – Day 4

Today I continued my walk along the Swan’s Way long-distance bridleway. I parked about a mile further on from where I ended my last walk, so started today’s walk by heading back there then turning round.

I followed the green lane I’d been on last time for about a 100 yards, then followed the edge of a maize field to reach a road. On the other side, I followed another green lane, which turned right to reach a lane. I followed this to the left for about a quarter of a mile, before turning left (almost opposite where I’d parked). A bridleway now took me through a sequence of fields, mainly hay meadows, to a farm, where I followed the farm drive for over half a mile to reach the attractive village of North Marston (a cyclist stopped and chatted for a while about my walk as I followed the farm drive).

Next came a long road walk, at least a mile and a half – but it was along a quiet minor road then a very quiet lane, so it wasn’t too bad. Now came a bit of a climb (well, just a few hundred feet!) as I went up Quainton Hill, a long green eminence rising from the Vale of Aylesbury. Chatted to a birdwatcher here, who’d seen Common Redstarts, Ravens and a Peregrine Falcon. Apparently I’d just missed seing a Raven – it’s good news that they’re spreading into this area, like the Buzzards and Red Kites that are doing so well.

There were good views in most directions from the top of Quainton Hill, but it was another grey and gloomy day so the views weren’t as extensive as they might have been. I could see the Chiltern’s to the south, as far eastwards as Ivinghoe Beacon. I walked straight down the other side of the hill, noticing the windmill at Quainton. I passed a couple of very old farms (one moated), and followed a long drive to another farm. Across a couple of sheep pastures I reached a road – annoyingly, Swan’s Way now followed roads round two sides of a square, when there was a perfectly feasible bridleway going round the other two sides! Even more annoyingly, when I reached the point where that bridleway joined the road I’d walked, there was a sign now indicating that Swan’s Way had been rerouted and did indeed follow the bridleway! I would have been spared over half a mile of unpleasant and occasionally dangerous road walking if there’d been such a sign at the other end.

I followed the road a little further, to reach a railway bridge where I turned and headed back to my car (obviously I used the bridleway rather than the road on the way back!). I stopped for my lunch on top of Quainton Hill, admiring the views over the Vale of Aylesbury.

This was another pleasant walk, though there was quite a bit of road walking. It was very flat, with the obvious exception of Quainton Hill. This was definitely the best part of the walk, with some really good views over the lower-lying land round about. North Marston was an attractive village with many old houses, and the people were very friendly – apart from the cyclist, two other people greeted me as I walked by.

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