Archive for September, 2007

Swan’s Way – Day 3

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

Today I walked the next section of Swan’s Way. It was another rather grey day, pleasantly warm but a bit humid.

From where I finished last time, I soon picked up a bridleway along the edge of Milton Keynes – I’d walked it about a month ago, on the last day of the Milton Keynes Boundary Walk. After half a mile or so, I turned right along the edge of a huge cattle pasture and then through a field to reach Whaddon (this last section was part of the North Bucks Way which I walked two years ago).

From Whaddon I followed a farm track then crossed an empty pasture (where I saw a Muntjac Deer on my way back) then entered another pasture where a large group of bullocks fled at my approach. Across a road and through a wood, a track led past some stables and paddocks. I followed the edge of a field of maize, then crossed a huge pasture shared by both sheep and cattle.

After a short road walk, I followed a well-surfaced track (part of the national cycle network) beside an old railway line. I saw some Kitty-come-down-the-lane-jump-up-and-kiss-me  growing here (OK, it’s more usually known as Lords-and-Ladies). There was then about half an hour’s lane walking to Swanbourne, a village I visited about 15-16 months ago on the South Bucks Way. On the way, I passed a field with very clear evidence of Ridge and Furrow, the old strip system of farming which I saw so often on the Bernwood Jubilee Way.

I’d intended to turn round in Swanbourne, but in fact carried on for about another mile. I had lunch on a bench opposite the church in Swanbourne. I vaguely remembered that at the end of the South Bucks Way I’d regretted not looking inside the church, so I did so now. The church dates from 1230 – there was an interesting leaflet about its history. There was a small section of wall painting, and some plaques commemorating two admirals, one of whom served under Nelson at Trafalgar.

This was another pleasant walk, but nothing too special. There was a fair bit of road walking, but I’d expeceted there to be more than usual on the Swan’s Way as it is a bridleway rather than a path. The Ridge and Furrow field and Swanbourne church added a bit of historical interest to the walk.

Swan’s Way – Day 2

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007


Today’s walk was entirely within the boundaries of the new city of Milton Keynes. It started with about 300 yards along the Grand Union Canal, then a lengthy section along the course of a disused railway. There was then another long section roughly following the course of a stream, Loaghton Brook. I took a short detour to see the remains of an excavated Roman villa, and a short time after passed close to the remains of Bradwell Abbey. At one point I had to cross the brook on some giant stepping stones – there was a lot of Himalayan Balsam growing here.

So far, I’d seen surprisingly few houses, having followed green corridors through the city. Residential areas now became a bit more apparent, but most of the rest of the route remained pretty green as I followed a succession of bridlepaths, generally with hedges either side. There was some road noise in places, but it was never too bad.

I went badly and stupidly wrong at one point, turning left despite a waymark clearly pointing straight on! That wasted about 20 minutes, quite unnecessarily. I eventually reached the point where I wanted to turn round, almost on the far side of Milton Keynes.

This was a far nicer walk than I’d expected – yes, I did see some residential areas, and offices and warehouses occasionally in the distance, but most of the time I was walking between tall hedges or across open grass areas. Parts of the brook were quite attractive. The villa and the abbey added interest (less so the infamous concrete cows!). It was all told a much more enjoyable day than I’d anticipated.