Old Amersham and Little Kingshill

Today’s was my third 12-mile walk in four days, and the first time I’ve walked on successive days for 9-10 months. So I found it a bit more of a struggle today, and I’m feeling more tired than usual now.

I started at Old Amersham, which I passed through on yesterday’s walk. I began about 10 am, and first walked along the very attractive High Street, full of old coaching inns and mainly Georgian buildings. I passed the church and the market, where there were a few stalls. I then followed the valley of the river Misbourne westward, soon passing the grand house of Shardeloes on top of a hill on my left, while on my right was a large ornamental pond formed by damming the river.

I continued through empty pastures to reach Little Missenden, where I turned left and followed the road all the way through what is one of my favourite villages from all my walks. I passed the church, one of the most interesting I’ve visited with its Saxon walls and mediaeval wall paintings. I then turned left on a footpath that passed through a paddock and then some fields, very gradually climbing the end of a hill. At one point I turned to look back and admire the view – I saw a large bird in the sky at some distance, which I later saw was a Red Kite when I expanded a photo on my PC.

The path took me to Little Kingshill, where I turned left and followed the road for about half a mile. I then turned left on a footpath that began by the Baptist chapel. This was a pleasant path between a fence and a hedge, which soon descended into a small valley, where I turned left into a wood. After a short distance, I turned right and slightly uphill, to reach a stile on the edge of the wood. I went ahead and then left round two sides of an empty pasture, and continued through a sequence of paddocks to a road. I turned right, then went left at a mini-roundabout, and followed a road through Holmer Green for about half a mile.

Shortly after passing a sports field and a pub, I took an alleyway going right, soon turning left into another alley. I continued ahead along a residential street to reach the start of a footpath on the edge of the village. I descended into a small wood in a valley and continued up the other side, following a hedgerow through a field to reach a lane.

On the other side, the path continued between hedges and fences a short distance to reach Toby’s Lane, a track between hedges leading to Little Missenden to my left. But I went right instead – I would now be following the route of the Chiltern Hertage Trail the rest of the way. The guide book or leaflet for that walk warns that Toby’s Lane can be very muddy in Winter and advises using a parallel lane when that’s the case. The short section I followed was really muddy – I had to cling to branches in the hedge as I edged myself along the side of the track, avoiding the worst of the soft, inches-deep mud. Fortunately I soon turned right onto a footpath which crossed an empty pasture and then joined a private drive past a few houses and a farm. I turned left at the end, and soon reached a main road.

On the other side, I then had a long and enjoyable section through Penn Wood, which is managed by the Woodland Trust – a notice said it was being grazed by cattle, but I didn’t see any. On the far side of the wood I reached the village of Penn Street. I followed the road alongside a cricket pitch, and turned left at a junction, still with the cricket pitch on my left. I took a path on the right that went down a drive and then crossed a field diagonally to a wood. The path ran along just inside the edge of the wood, then crossed an empty pasture, before runing between hedges a short distance to reach the village of Winchmore Hill.

I sat on a bench here and ate my lunch as it was now almost 1pm. The route to the next village, Coleshill, was very familiar to me, as it’s part of the Chiltern Way as well as the Chiltern Heritage Trail. I left Winchmore Hill opposite a chapel, and followed a hedgerow on my right to a small wood with a short and very muddy track through it. I crossed a rough pasture to a stile, and then the path ran betwen fences and hedges to reach a gravel drive between properties in Coleshill.

I crossed a road and followed an alley passing right of the church to another road. I turned left and followed the road for about half a mile, until it turned right. I took a path going ahead, initially on a farm drive and then through an empty pasture. I then turned right and followed a path that gradually descened towards Old Amersham which I could now see in the valley ahead of me. I went over a bridge over the bypass, and followed paths round an empty field of rough grass, emerging close to the High Street and the car park.

Again it took me 4 hours to walk 12 miles, a disappointing speed considering I took hardly any photos and had few other stops at all. It was another glorious day – I didn’t need my coat at all as it was so warm, and there were bright blue skies throughout. I must make the most of this weather while it lasts!

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