Walking to Frieth and Skirmett

We have nearly reached the end of our stay at Cholsey Grange CL, we head home tomorrow.  So today is our last chance to have a wander in the Chiltern Hills and we have decided to walk from the site and head across to Frieth and then follow paths to Skirmett before heading back to the site via Turville.

We leave through the gate at the far end of the caravan site.  Joining the footpath we turn left and walk downhill into the bottom of the valley and then turn right to walk through Twigside Bottom.  

We follow the footpath through the bottom of the valley then just before reaching a road at Gravesend we turn right on a footpath to head uphill.  Within fifty yards at a fork in the path we go left to follow the path through the bottom of Mill Hanging Wood.  At a junction of paths we go downhill on a path leading into Fingest.  On reaching the road we carry straight on to pass the church and the Chequers Inn.

After a couple of hundred yards, just as we leave the village, we take a footpath on the right with a finger post for the Chiltern Way.  This path goes through a field and then starts to climb gradually besides Goddard’s Wood.  At the top of the hill we enter Fingest Wood and stop briefly to admire the view behind us.

We follow the clear path, ignoring a sign on the right for the Chiltern Way and emerge from the wood to join a track that becomes a road into Little Frieth.  At a junction we continue straight ahead towards Frieth and at the next T-junction turn left and walk into the village to pass the attractive Village Hall.

A bit further along the road we reach the church of St John the Evangelist which was built in 1848, we pause to take a look around.  It reportedly has fine stained glass windows but unfortunately it is locked so we are unable to judge for ourselves.

Resuming our walk we take a footpath running along the east side of the churchyard and are soon besides fields.  At a junction of paths we turn right and follow the hedge line of a field towards barns.  As we near a road we turn left on a footpath that goes besides the barns and then continues on alongside the road to reach the entrance to Parmoor Cricket Pitch.  A few yards further on we take a lane on the right which runs besides St Katharine’s Parmoor, the house is now a religious retreat.

The estate was once owned by the Knights Templar. In the 16th century it was the home of the Saunders family and in 1603 Mary Saunders and her husband Timothy Doyle extended the property. In 1860 Henry William Cripps QC purchased the property, which later passed to his son Charles Alfred Cripps QC who in 1914 became Lord Parmoor of Frieth.  His youngest son was Stafford Cripps the post war Chancellor of the Exchequer.

When Lord Parmoor died in 1941 the house was let to King Zog of Albania, he had been forced into exile when Mussolini invaded his Country. In 1946 King Zog left for Egypt and the house lay empty for a while before the second Lord Parmoor sold it to the Community of St Katharine of Alexandria who had been bombed out of their home in Fulham.  In 1995 the last remaining member of the Community, Mother Christine, gave the house to Lady Ryder, of The Sue Ryder Foundation fame, it has remained a separate charity providing a spiritual retreat.

The lane we are on passes the grounds of the house and then starts to head downhill on a sunken track through Hatchet Wood.

This is a long steady descent with the occasional glimpse of the view down the valley.

The track leads us to a minor road where we turn left and walk down to the village of Skirmett.  Now we turn right and wander through the village passing the Frog Pub and continuing on to reach a lane on the left, Watery Lane.  We follow this lane to reach a minor road and turn left to walk into Turville where we pass the The Bull & Butcher pub.

We continue through the village and then take a footpath on the right opposite an attractive old barn, which is currently having work done to it.  This path leads between properties to reach a field.

Following the clear path across the field we reach a set of kissing gates to enter access land and walk a few yards uphill to another gate on the left.  This leads into woodland with a clear path which heads steadily uphill to a kissing gate.  There are fine views along the valley from here.

We follow the uphill path along the fence line and then along the edge of woodland.  We ignore a path on the right leading into the trees, instead staying with the fence to the end of the field where we turn right uphill and after twenty yards take a footpath on the left. After about a hundred yards we take a footpath on the right which heads uphill through Park Wood to reach a minor road close to Ibstone House.  Here we turn left and follow the road through Ibstone,  At the point where the road narrows we take a footpath on the right and follow this down to the gate on the edge of the caravan park.

Our walk has covered just over nine miles and it is now time to start packing up so we can head home in the morning.  Hopefully it won’t be too long before we are away in the caravan again. 

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 Explorer Map 171 – Chiltern Hills West

20th August 2020

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2020)

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