After yesterday’s short stroll I have plans for a longer walk. It is a while since I have managed more than a six mile walk, at home work commitments have restricted my walking to a couple of hours a day. So this tour I intend getting a few good walks in.
We have now decided where we are heading for the rest of this trip; locations around the East Sussex and Kent border an area we have not previously explored.
This stay at Cholsey Grange is brief, but today we have time for a good jam about. We leave the site by the farm track to walk around the edge of the fenced field and then on reaching a footpath turn right towards Penley Woods.
Today this takes a while as there are an abundance of Red Kites flying above us and we keep stopping to admire these magnificent birds. After entering the woods we turn left to follow the path through the trees.
Leaving the woods by crossing a stile we follow the footpath across a field, a few weeks ago when we walked this path they were harvesting, now it is cultivated and starlings are gathering on the power lines, both harbingers that the season is about to change.
After crossing a stile by a locked gate we join the Chiltern Way and follow this as it goes through a tunnel under the M40, this soon leads us into Stokenchurch by the Fleur de Lis. After crossing the green we walk to the right hand side of the Kings Hotel and then head towards the Royal Oak (it sounds like a pub crawl through the village, but we don’t stop at any!). Still on the Chiltern Way we follow a tarmac lane to the right of the Royal Oak and when the Chiltern Way forks to the right we continue on the footpath along the tarmac drive.
We ignore two footpaths on our left and stay on the drive as it sweeps to the right and then rejoins the Chiltern Way, we continue along following the way marker signs to Andridge Farm. On route crossing fields, one of which has a steep climb from Grange Farm Road up to the farm.
On reaching Andridge Farm we leave the Chiltern Way by turning left up a path and then turning right along a country lane that heads steadily downhill. Along the way we stop to look at the view of Radnage Church with its flat roof tower.
We go down the hill and at a bend have a choice of routes, we decide to turn left along the lane that is the route of the Bledlow Circular Ride.
We follow this route first along a high hedged track and then swinging down into Sunley Wood before turning sharp left and going up the edge of Venus Wood to join a lane at Sprig’s Alley where we turn right and walk through Crowell Hill.
A feature of walking in the Chilterns is that many of the villages have fine houses, but the majority of these and other properties seem to require security systems on entry gates. There are high fences and hedges everywhere. I can see that having an intruder alarm system on your house is sensible, but I am not sure I would want to live in a location where I am locked away behind high fences.
Half a mile along the lane it bends sharply to the right. Here we carry straight on into the woods and the footpath leads steeply downhill.
This track eventually arrives at a crossroads of paths, we turn left along the Ridgeway / Swan’s Way route. Originally we intended to walk along here to Aston Rowant Nature Reserve and from there to Cholsey Grange. However, I have miscalculated the distance to this point so we decide to find a shorter route back. We are catching up with Jackie and Ted this evening and don’t want to arrive late!
We walk for a mile and a quarter along the path, crossing a minor road along the way and then at a crossroads of paths turn left to walk up hill through Aston Wood. It is certainly a good blow up this hill, especially as we are tackling it at pace. So it is a welcome relief when we reach the A40 where we turn left and walk into Stokenchurch along the pavement.
On the way into Stokenchurch there is a sign denoting the location of the former Swilley Pond. Apparently there were once six ponds in Stokenchurch used mainly by livestock. In 1870 a village well was dug to provide a source of natural water. We have often come across ponds dug for livestock, usually they remain as ponds or their outline can be clearly seen. In this instance the site of the former pond is now an office block.
In Stokenchurch we retrace or steps to Cholsey Grange by following the Chiltern Way out of the village and then going under the M40. We return as we came through Penley Wood and back to the site.
We have walked eleven and a half miles. It has been a good wander and great preparation for the longer walks I hope to do this tour.
To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 171 – Chiltern Hills West
17th September 2016
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2016)