On previous visits to Cholsey Grange we have enjoyed walking to Aston Rowant Nature Reserve and as my foot is continuing to improve I think I can manage this nine and a half mile walk. Lynnie is staying with Lolly and Toby so unusually the dogs and I have had a night on our own in the caravan.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, then into the open with woods to our right. I join a track that takes me past the entrance to Wormsley Cricket Ground.
At a footpath on the left I head around Wellground Farm and then start to climb into Langleygreen Plantation and then at a crossing of paths I turn left to walk downhill through the trees towards Lower Vicars Farm. I reach a paddock and cross this diagonally towards the left and then skirt in front of Lower Vicars Farmhouse.
On reaching 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 we approach. From the downs the sheep watch on with distain.
The track passes Upper Vicars Farm and then through a metal gate and up to a road that I cross to enter a field opposite. After crossing this field I am at the top of Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve. From here there is a cracking view across the valley below.
This is a wonderful place and to descend too quickly through the nature reserve would be a waste, I take my time watching the wildlife and admiring the wild flowers. All the while there is the constant hum of traffic on the nearby M40, but I block this out as I watch the many butterflies.
After passing through a couple of gates I pick up a tarmac lane heading down to the Icknield Way / Swans Way / Ridgeway Path (this route is known by all of these names), here I turn left to follow the broad track.
Progress is slow as I continually stop to observe the butterflies that are plentiful along here.
Just short of two miles along the track I reach a tarmac lane and turn left to follow this, soon passing the sawmill and cattery at Pyrton Hill House and then continuing straight on up the footpath as it heads over Pyrton Hill.
As the path levels out it narrows and whilst not overgrown it does require the use of my walking pole to beat back some of the nettles. On reaching a road I turn right and after a hundred yards or so take a left along a driveway alongside the telecommunications mast. Where the footpath forks I go left into the trees and follow the way-markers.
After a hundred yards at a junction of paths I turn right again and very soon after go left to follow a path heading through Blackmoor Wood. This is a lovely stretch of woodland. On reaching a clearing the path joins the Chiltern Way.
The way-markers are very clear, as are the signs telling you where you cannot walk, so it is an easy route to follow across fields towards Ibstone. The sun keeps poking out from behind the clouds and the sky is full of Red Kites. These are amazing to watch as they glide above in search of food.
Entering woodland the path is steep for a brief section and then joins the route I took at the start. I turn right to head uphill and then walk back across Ibstone Common to return to Cholsey Grange. It has been a cracking afternoon; my foot has stood up well to the nine and a half miles. It still needs icing but is definitely improving.
To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Explorer Map 171 Chiltern Hills West
17th August 2017
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2017)