Usually when away in the caravan it is for a minimum of a week, often much longer, but this current trip is only for a few days and we are heading home tomorrow.
I like walking in this area and over our many trips to Cholsey Grange I thought I had covered all the local footpaths, but studying the map over breakfast I spot a path through Stoner Park I have not previously trodden. Today’s route will encompass it and also give me the chance to bag a new trig point.
I start by heading up the driveway of Cholsey Grange to reach Ibstone Common, crossing the cricket field to pass the Hibba Stone and continuing into the trees. I then turn left through the metal gate to join the Chiltern Way as it enters the Wormsley Estate.
Following the chalky path downhill I take a left fork to stay on the Chiltern Way as it descends even more steeply through trees to reach a gate into a field.
Through the gate I turn right and continue on the Chiltern Way as it runs along the edge of this field and goes through a gate before crossing a track to go through a kissing gate into another pasture field. Through another kissing gate I cross an estate road and enter another field where the path heads diagonally downhill to go through a gate to join the estate road where I turn right for a few hundred yards before following the Chiltern Way markers to join a path on the left.
At a clearing I leave the Chiltern Way by forking right to continue along the path through the woods. This is a cracking section of beech woodland. I have walked here before but the trees have always been in leaf, I think there is something special about beech woods before the leaves emerge.
At a junction of paths I turn right and then within a few hundred yards take a left on a footpath leading down a driveway to a house, the path then goes besides the fence to emerge into a field. I ignore a path on the left and carry straight on to reach a minor road where I turn left.
As the road sweeps to the left I continue on a Restricted By Way signposted to Stonor. After passing cottages this lane enters Queen Woods. I ignore a footpath on the left and stay on the track, Hollandridge Lane, as it heads through the woods towards Hollandridge Farm.
Just before I reach the farm entrance I turn right through a gate to re-join the Chiltern Way as it crosses a field to enter College Woods. Almost as soon as I am in the woods the path forks, the Chiltern Way goes to the right, but I take the left fork to join the Oxfordshire Way. After a steady incline the path steeply descends to reach arable fields.
It is now a warm afternoon and in the shelter of the valley it feels like spring as I head towards Pishill.
On reaching a road I turn right and then almost immediately left to follow the Oxfordshire Way up Church Hill. I have walked by this church in the past and know there is a tap just inside the gate with a dog bowl, which is ideal for Crosby as he is ready for a drink.
After passing Pishill House I ignore a path on the right and continue along the Oxfordshire Way as it goes through a couple of fields to reach Pishillbury Wood.
I stay with the Oxfordshire Way as it crosses footpaths to reach a minor road at Maidensgrove, I cross and continue following the way-markers through a section of woodland to reach an arable field which I cross and then take a left turn just before Lodge Farm. This path, another section of the Chiltern Way, goes over the field to join Park Wood.
Through the woods the path emerges into a field enjoying fine views over the village of Stonor with Stonor House dominating the landscape. I head downhill into the village and turn left along a minor road to reach a high, deer proof, kissing gate to enter Stonor Deer Park.
The path ascends steadily and is now following the route of the Shakespeare’s Way.
Soon there is a fine view of Stoner House, according to the website for the estate this house and surrounding parkland has been in the Stonor family for over 850 years. Apparently the house was built on the site of the remains of a prehistoric stone circle. Beside the house is a 12thcentury chapel, which is said to incorporate one of the stones from this circle.
The path now enters trees again as it goes through Kildridge Wood towards Southend.
On reaching a minor road I turn left and then by Southend Common take a lane on the right towards Southend Farm. Soon on my left appears a trig point in a field, I have a good view of it but I’m still tempted to hop over the gate. However, it is on private land and disappointingly there is no-one around to seek permission from so I decide to “bag” it from the lane.
Continuing along the track I pass through paddocks and then a gate to follow the track into woodland emerging on the far side to get a good view of Cobstone Mill in the distance. After crossing a minor road I continue along the Chiltern Way to Turville.
On reaching the road through the village I turn left and after passing the church I turn right on a narrow path besides a cottage to enter a field of pasture.
My route takes me diagonally across the field and through a couple of kissing gates to enter woodland. On reaching another kissing gate the path continues uphill over open ground where I stop to admire the view.
I now follow the path as it runs besides a fence, ignoring a footpath on the right and continue on the lower of the paths as I enter Park Wood.
At a minor road I turn right uphill and continue along until I reach the edge of Ibstone where I turn left and walk through the village to return to Ibstone Common and retrace my steps to Cholsey Grange. My walk has covered twelve and a half miles and has been a very enjoyable afternoon stroll.
To follow my walk you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 171 – Chiltern Hills West
23rd March 2019
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2019)