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This Week's Walks - Archive

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This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Sunday, 16 September 2018

Sunday Walk - Rolling Bucks Landscape with three very good pubs: Haddenham Circular (via Brill)

Length: 27.6 km (17.2 mi) [shorter version possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent:  458 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 6 ¼ hours
Toughness:  8 out of 10 
Take the 10.06 Oxford train from Marylebone, arriving Haddenham & Thame Parkway at 10.39
Return trains:  xx.13 and xx.38 (from 39 mins)

This is a long and strenuous – but very rewarding – walk through the pleasant rolling countryside of the north westerly parts of Aylesbury Vale, just north of The Chilterns, with some far views on clear days.
The walk first crosses the Thame Valley north of Haddenham and then passes through the area of the ancient Bernwood Royal Hunting Forest on a wide circular route to return south on a different route back through the Thame Valley to Haddenham. 
The lunch stop is in any one of two charming pubs in the ancient hilltop village of Brill. A short loop around the village, providing far views into five counties, passes its well-preserved windmill in a prominent position on Brill Common, before a long descent from this steep-sided village follows.
There are a few ascents throughout the walk at regular intervals, with the third one – up to lunch in Brill – the longest, as the walk links a total of four hilltop villages and crosses one other hill chain. It also contains several arable field crossings, which should be fine this time of year.

A shortcut reducing the effort to 5 out of 10 is described. Lunch would be in Ashendon.

Lunch: The Pointer  (12.1 km/7.5 mi, food all day)  or The Pheasant (12.9 km/8.0 mi, food all day) in Brill.
The Hundred of Ashendon (on the short walk: 11.5 km/7.2 mi, food to 14.00) in Ashendon, which has been awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand 2016/17/18 for its cuisine. They also serve sandwiches and more traditional dishes from a Bar Snack Menu.
Tea: The Rising Sun, en-route to the station.
For walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files  click here. T=swc.191


Karen said...

n=5 w=dry-pleasantly-warm-and-sunny

5 familiar faces off the packed posted train, but two of those were equipped with contraptions they called 'bicycles'. Upon these metal chariots they intended to travel the lanes of Buckinghamshire and meet us at Brill for lunch. The 3 of us who were happy for the legs we were born with to convey us to the lunchtime stop, bid them farewell and good luck and set off from the station. Slowly but surely, but without any great effort, we ascended through the countryside, through grassy and ploughed fields and some fields of corn. Paths through the arable fields were usually clear. As we ascended, the views got better and better and we took a few moments to enjoy them from a bench at Chilton House, where one peeled off to do the shorter version of the walk. The remaining 2 soon caught up with 2 more who had taken an earlier train, so 5 walkers in total. More ascent to the village of Brill where the Pointer couldn't accomodate the 2 of us who wanted a pub lunch, so we moved on to The Pheasant and sat outside with views of the Brill Windmill. We were soon joined by the cyclists who had thoroughly enjoyed the first part of their day. The Pheasant was friendly and efficient, and though the choice was limited to Sunday roasts for walk-ins, they were very good. The 2 picnickers joined us for a drink, making for a very pleasant lunch in good company. The windmill was open to visitors, so some took the opportunity to explore it.

After lunch, the cyclists took off, but our paths didn't cross again for the rest of the day. Us walkers enjoyed the descent through fields from Brill, with the views laid out before us. Both in the morning and afternoon we spotted red kites hovering above the fields. And another feature of the whole day was the great abundance of ripe blackberries. Some of us ate as many as we could while still keping up with the walk, but there was much bemoaning of the fact that nobody had throught to pack a little box to bring some home in. We took a refreshment break at The Hundred in Ashendon, another friendly pub. We were even invited to help ourselves to the pile of left over roast potatoes and 'trenchers' on the bar. The 'trenchers' were slices of bread that the lunch roasts had rested on - lovely crisp bits of bread soaked in pork and beef fat. Absolutely delicious. Fortified, we set off for the final leg to Haddenham (with a diversion into pretty Cuddington, just for a look) where we had a quick drink at The Rising Sun (again, friendly), recommended by a local as the best pub in town (and happily, the closest to the station). We made the slightly-delayed, packed-to-the-rafters 19:38. And to round the day off, the 4 of us had a bite to eat and a drink at the sports bar in Marylebone Station. A great day out in a beautiful part of the English countryside, followed by chili dogs, burgers and mac 'n cheese and the Kansas City Chiefs vs the Pittsburg Steelers (go Chiefs!).

I very much enjoyed this walk, not least because I wasn't expecting such far views and such pretty villages. A bonus being the friendly pubs. And all just 33 minutes from Marylebone.

Karen said...

Also, I'll leave it to the number crunchers and statisticians to rule on whether two regular walkers doing a posted walk by bicycle count towards the attendance... I haven't included them in the numbers. Would be interested to hear how the rest of their day fared.

Stargazer said...

The cyclists had a very enjoyable afternoon, especially the high speed descent from Brill....a real highlight with great views all around...our route wandered into the Thame Circular walk which looks to include some nice villages and pretty countryside...tempted to give it a go on Sunday....After exploring an off road option, we stopped in the Rising Sun in Haddenham for a gin & tonic before catching the delayed 18:13 (had been aiming for the 18:39 -- but practically cycled right onto the delayed earlier train as it pulled in)….Great territory for walking and cycling -- people should definitely not be put off by the mileage....well-worth the effort with plenty of rest stops...I too will leave it to the official bean counters -- as to whether crossing the start line, finish line and spending 1.5 hours at the designated lunch check point count......

Thomas G said...

Count only people that walk a substantial part of the walk, in my view of the world. But not 'lunchies', however they got there...

Walker said...

Sorry, but to be counted as one of the persons who has done the walk, you have to actually WALK some of it. Turning up on a bicycle, car, horse or moped does not count. Nor does joining the group for lunch.