Once again we are back at Cholsey Grange CL. We looked after this site last year when the owners Ted and Jackie were on holiday. We really enjoyed it and when they asked if we would do the same again this year, there was no hesitation on our part to say yes!
As well as being an excellent site it has cracking walking close by and has the added advantage, for us, of not being far from where our daughter Lolly and her partner Toby live.
As seems to be the theme this summer I have work to do today so I decide to take the boys for a decent early morning walk. Dexter is never keen to go to far in the morning before his breakfast, but after spending time in the car yesterday he is up for a stroll.
During our stays at Cholsey Grange I have walked many of the local footpaths and the route I take is familiar. I start by heading downhill from the track that leads onto the site and follow the track around the field to join a footpath where I turn right, then after entering Penley Wood I turn right to follow the path along the bottom of the valley.
This is well marked with arrows painted on trees.
I keep on the path, ignoring footpaths leading off to the right and left, until I reach a footpath on the right that goes through a metal gate and then follows a path that is fenced on either side.
This climbs steadily and provides good views over the route that I have just walked.
Through a gate at the top I turn right along the road passing Ibstone House. There is soon a junction on the left, here I climb a stile to take a footpath over a field into woods. I turn right and follow this route through the trees. The path descends gradually and then there is a short steep climb to meet a lane by Hellcorner Farm.
Here I turn right and follow the lane past the cricket field and then cross the road to the driveway of Cholsey Grange. This little stroll has taken just over an hour and has covered close to four miles. A good start to the day and Dexter and Crosby are now ready for breakfast.
After working for most of the day I feel in need of another stretch of the legs. This time Lynnie joins the dogs and I as we head out. We take the same route as I followed this morning to reach Penley Wood, from the site follow the track downhill around the edge of a fenced field and then on joining the footpath turn right.
This time we turn left in Penley Wood and walk along the bottom of the valley. This is a cracking bit of woodland and there is plenty to spot as we go along. Far too many grey squirrels and the occasional deer. I recently heard a radio programme where the topic centered on the reintroduction of the Red Squirrel and how their success in some areas is being attributed to the spread of Pine Martens. Apparently Red Squirrels prefer the canopy of trees and Pine Martens do not venture up there (perhaps, like me, they don’t have a head for heights), where as the Grey Squirrel lives lower down and is perfect prey for the Pine Marten.
It is an interesting theory, but I am sure it will be sometime before we see Pine Martens spreading across the country; they are born killers and must have an impact on the bird population. In the time that it takes Lynnie and I to discuss this topic we have reached a gate leading into a field where a combine is busily at work.
This machine is huge; when our son Ben was small he had a storybook where a combine was portrayed as a monster, you can see why when one of these things is heading towards you.
It is a longtime since I have been this close to a working combine, the first thing that strikes me (apart from the dust) is how quiet it is, then how fast it goes and finally the caterpillar tracks.
It is just devouring this field. When I was a nipper it would have taken Jack Judd the best part of a day to do this section that is being done as we walk by.
We cross the field to join the track leading up to stables (Coopers Court Farm) here we turn left to join the Chiltern Way and follow it as it follows a fenced path and then goes alongside the edge of fields, before crossing a field to reach Studdridge Farm.
There is a junction of paths, but we keep to the Chiltern Way, which has been diverted around the farm and then crosses a couple of fields to reach Hartmoor Wood. Here the Chiltern Way goes off to the right, but we carry on along a footpath that brings us to open fields at the edge of Cholsey Grange Farm.
Following the footpath down we reach the point where we can go left to Penley Wood, right to Ibstone or straight on to follow the farm track uphill back to the site. This little stroll has covered just over three miles, far enough for the dogs (and Lynnie) on a muggy afternoon.
12th August 2016
[To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 171 – Chiltern Hills West]
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2016)