Aston Rowant Nature Reserve and Beacon Hill

One of the spots that I like to visit when staying at Cholsey Grange CL is the stunning Aston Rowant Nature reserve.  This afternoon’s forecast is good, but given the recent rainfall I still pack my waterproofs into my rucksack before heading off.

I leave Cholsey Grange by walking up the farm drive and crossing the road before going over the cricket field and carrying on diagonally across Ibstone Common to pass the standing stone.  Continuing across the Common I enter woodland and turn left through a gate to join the Chiltern Way.

The chalky path leads steadily downhill, the Chiltern Way soon heads off to the left but I take the right fork that continues through Commonhill Wood.

This path leads to open ground with woods to my right.  I join an estate road that passes the entrance to Wormsley Cricket Ground.

At a footpath on the left I head around Wellground Farm and then start to climb through Langleygreen Plantation.

At a crossing of paths I turn left to walk downhill through the trees towards Lower Vicar’s Farm. I reach a paddock and cross this diagonally towards the left and then skirt in front of Lower Vicar’s Farmhouse.

At a tarmac lane I turn right and follow this route steadily uphill.  The lane has been covered in grain for the pheasants and they beat a hasty retreat as Crosby and I approach.

The track passes Upper Vicar’s Farm and then through a metal gate and up to a road, I cross and turn left and almost immediately take a footpath on the right, which leads to the top of Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve.

From here there are cracking views across the valley below.

This is a wonderful place and I descend through the nature reserve enjoying the stunning views, all the while accompanied by the constant hum of traffic on the nearby M40.

After passing through a couple of gates I pick up a tarmac lane heading down to the Icknield Way / Swan’s Way / Ridgeway Path (this route is known by all of these names), here I turn right to follow the broad track towards the motorway.

After passing under the motorway I continue along the main track until I reach a path on the right leading into the northern section of the nature reserve.  Here I turn left and follow a track running parallel to the Ridgeway path, nearing a property I realise I have made an error and should have taken a path that led onto the downs.  So I retrace my steps back to a notice board for the reserve and go through a gate onto the downs.

I head uphill for a while and then take a path on the left that continues to rise as it skirts Beacon Hill.

As the path levels it enters a cracking section of woodland.

Walking along I come across some interesting works of art, they form part of the Talking Trail made up of six sculptures with a wind up listening post providing details of the art.

Staying on the way-marked path I arrive at a car park and turn left along a tarmac lane, after a few minutes I take a footpath on the right through shrubby woodland.  The path brings me to steps leading down to a road where I turn right and soon find myself  crossing the M40.  A few hundred yards past the motorway I take a footpath on the left leading into Hailey Wood.

I stay on this path, ignoring paths to the left and right.  This well marked route leads me towards Wellground Farm.

On reaching the tarmac lane through the estate I retrace my steps back to Cholsey Grange, so I take a right and follow the estate road past the Cricket Ground and then fork left where the path divides.

It is now a steady ascent back to Ibstone Common where I pass the Hibba boundary stone.  Apparently this village’s name is derived from the Anglo Saxon and means Hibba’s stone, referring to the boundary with Oxfordshire. Reportedly at the time of King Edward the Confessor the village was known as Hibestanes and was in the possession of Tovi the Proud who was the King’s thane, a retainer to the King in Anglo Saxon England or a royal official or constable.

After crossing the cricket field I am back at Cholsey Grange driveway.

My walk has covered nine miles and there have been some stunning views, particularly from the Aston Rowant Nature Reserve.

You can view this 9 mile walk on OS Maps and download the GPX File Here (Subscription to OS Maps required)

To follow my walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Explorer Map 171 Chiltern Hills West

11th August 2019

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2019)

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