Another glorious day, and another 12 mile circular walk (sometime soon I may get around to explaining why I’m wandering round in circles at the moment!). Frosty this morning and I had to wear my coat for the first 45 minures, but after that it was a lovely warm day with blue skies and plenty of bird song every time I went through woodland.
I parked at the picnic site near Cobblershill, a few miles south of Wendover. The first half mile or so was new to me, as I crossed a horse gallop and then followed a hedgerow gradually uphill through a very large empty pasture. In the wood at the top of the hill I soon picked up a path I was familiar with – it went downhill through the wood, followed a hedge across the valley bottom and then climbed uphill again through another wood to reach the attractive hamlet of Little Hampden.
Having been heading west so far, I now turned south and was soon following a long path beside a hedgerow that gradually descended over a long distance down to a road in the wide and attractive valley of Hampden Bottom. I followed the road left a short distance, before turning right on a woodland path that gradually went uphill to reach another road, right on the edge of the substantial village of Prestwood.
I was soon back into the countryside, following a very pleasant path through a sequence of empty pastures. It then descended through a wood before joining a farm drive that led to a lane. I went left for a short distance down the lane (a bit dangerous as there were no verges, but it was wider than I remembered it). There then followed a very steep climb back uphill, through another beech wood, definitely one of the steepest paths I’ve come across in the Chilterns. The path continued alongside a fence separating two fields, through a small wood and across the end of a pasture in a small valley, soon reaching a road in another part of Prestwood.
Across the road and down a drive I was soon back into another lovely beech wood. As always it was a joy to walk through these lovely trees, though the path was rather muddy in some places. Across another road, I was soon following the path round two sides of a large orchard. After a short stretch along a hedged track, I went half-left on a path that crossed a very large arable field diagonally. On the far side, I emerged on a road on the edge of the village of Little Kingshill (I was here again on Saturday).
I was soon leaving the village again, on a path that started by going through a pub garden, now heading back north and on the route of the Chiltern Heritage Trail. I followed a path between fences and hedges, with paddocks to my left and cattle pastures to my right beyond the hedge. After a short interlude through trees and shrubs I crossed a ploughed field following tractor tracks, then went over a grassy field to reach a lane by a farmhouse. I turned left, but soon left the lane by taking a tarmac farm drive on the right. I soon branched slightly left on an attractive bridleway running between hedges that dropped down slowly to a wood. Here I left the bridleway, going through a metal kissing gate and following a sketchy path marked out by white arrows on the trees. Once out of the wood, I followed a curving hedgerow and then made my way to a farm drive that took me back to yet another part of Prestwood.
Leaving the Chiltern Heritage Trail, I followed a cul-de-sac road and then an alley, before turning right and going over a crossroads. I left the village by turning right on a path that started along a farm drive, and continued between fences and hedges, with paddocks again to my left. The path then went slightly right and descended steadily through yet another charming wood. It then ran between a hedge on the left and a fence to the right, to reach a road with Great Missenden a short distance to my right. I soon took a farm drive on the opposite side of the road. The path soon forked off slightly left to run between hedges, then turned to the right and ascended gently through a wood. At the end of the wood, I sat on a stile to eat my lunch.
The path then turned left along the edge of the wood, before re-entering it. I soon heard a couple of woodpeckers, but was unable to see them. On the far side of the wood I turned right onto a bridleway. I followed this muddy track for about a mile (stopping briefly to chat to a dog walker and then for a bit longer chat to another walker), almost into the hamlet of Cobblershill, before forking right onto a bridleway that descended through yet another wood and took me back to the picnic site where I’d started from.
Again this walk was about 12 miles and took me about four hours. The weather was amazingly good for the time of year, it really felt as if Spring had come early.