Reports from Recent Rambles
3 rd February 2018 Stoke Bruerne
9 members joined Mark and Jill Alger to lead their first walk with the Winslow Ramblers. With the weather doing its best to put the dampers on the event, we headed along the towpath towards Grafton Regis. A visit to St Marys the Virgin Church with snow drops and aconites giving a good display. We also found out that this is where King Henry IV married Elizabeth Woodville in secret. This the subject of BBC's The White Princess which was on TV very recently. Due to the adverse weather we then headed back along the canal to Stoke Bruerne. A stop in The Navigation Inn where a warm drink and something to eat was most welcome, before we headed off to our cars.
27 th January 2018 Cheddington.
Peter led a group of 8 members, well wrapped up against the cold wind, from the village hall down the interesting High Street, then under a high railway arch to join the Grand Union canal towpath near a swing bridge for farm traffic. This was followed northwards past various locks and houses to Horton Lock. We appreciated the hedges sheltering us from the wind. Many barges were moored up, but none moving. Even the ducks seemed recluctant to go swimming. We left the canal to go through an old orchard cross several wet and muddy fields, disturbing a roe deer in a ditch which we watched as it bounded away, before going under the railway again to return to Cheddington with views of Mentmore Towers. We were cheered by many snowdrops and aconites in the well kept churchyard before reaching our cars as the rain started to fall.
21st January 2018 Stoke Mandeville
On very cold wet Sunday with sleet and snow falling 4 brave and somewhat stubborn members met at Stoke Mandeville school. After a short discussion Tricia, Julie, Bill and Mick voted to commence the planned walk. Although the ground was wet we made good progress and were soon passing Marsh Mill Farm, site of a 13 Century Mill. In the distance views of the Chiltern Hills, now covered in snow were just visable in the mist and low cloud. In Bishopstone a short stop was taken under a tree to get some shelter. Then onward crossing the railway line and passing Moat Farm and fish pond in windy conditions. A short walk across some very muddy fields and we were soon back at the start point safe and sound, colder and wetter, but with a sence of achievement. All agreed the it would be good to do this walk again in the summer programme maybe with some good weather.
6th January 2018 - Buckland Wharf
On a cold, foot stamping morning, with post Christmas languor still in evidence, the group of 5, led by Bill Tofield,took to the Wendover arm canal towpath and the start of a 5 mile ramble. After a short detour to the tranquil setting of Drayton Beauchamp church the group started the steady climb through winter bare fields past Drayton Manor and on to wooded Aston Hill where the views of the vale set in mist soon opened up below us. The climbing done, now the descent through the crazy switchback which is Chiltern Forest golf course and back to the canal through Cobblers Pits nature reserve and among the seemingly dormant trees a life-affirming glimpse of fresh green male hazel catkins. Altogether a delightful walk and we were back for lunch!
9th December 2017 - Waddesdon
A party of 14 members met on a perfect winters morning for walking. Bright sunshine, a blue almost cloudless sky, frost to harden the ground and almost no wind. With Peter leading we left the estate car park to follow the OAR passing the estate buildings in Queen St then across fields where a small herd of bullocks watched us carefully as we passed. In Westcott a red kite was mewing as it flew low over the roof tops. A short pause near a site being excavated by archaeologists in a field that may have been an old settlement before a short break with sight of to Ashendon as we followed a bridleway back with views across the valley of cultivated fields and Upper Winchenden village. Waddesdon Manor itself was then clearly seen between and above the leafless trees, a view that will be obscured in summer.
25 November 2017 - Coombs Wood
Christine led a afternoon walk from Coombs wood car park to Padbury across cultivated fields and footpaths. A rather muddy walk underfoot which was well attended. We all had the opportunity to see a complete rainbow and a red kite before the weather closed in.
18 November 2017 - Caldecotte Lake
11 members attended the walk on a damp over cast day. Leaving the car park following the river Ouzel we headed for Fenny Stratford and the Grand Union Canal, taking a short pause to learn about the Lock at Fenny Stratford. Then walked along the canal passing the new building developments we headed for Mill Farm and again beside the river. At the allotments on the Milton Keynes boundary a short stop was taken, due to the damp weather all agreed to move on quickly. The return was along the canal and river to Caldecotte Lake. The chance to view Kingfishers and Green Woodpeckers did not happen probably due to the inclement weather.
11 November 2017 - Buckingham.
17 members met at Buckingham on a dull but mild day for an afternoon walk of about 4 miles to Chackmore, led by Peter. We walked along the Stratford Road to reach a footpath on the east side of the town leading through a small spinney to emerge at Maids Moreton. Crossing the road we passed between the rugby pitch with a match in progress and the new housing development. Field paths climbing gently with views to Stowe House led over a small stream to Chackmore with a smart white horse in the paddock. A brief stop was made at the top of Stowe Avenue beneath trees with leaves turning autumn gold, which all agreed would have been even more attractive in sunshine.
28 OCTOBER 2017 - ADSTOCK
1 OCTOBER 2017 - HETHE
John's walk in and around Hethe, through fields to Cottisford where there was an opportunity to visit the church of St Mary, featured in Flora Thompson's Lark Rise to Candleford stories, returning to Hethe via Widmill Hook.
23 SEPTEMBER 2017 - NORTH MARSTON
16 walkers joined Susan on this 5 mile circular rural ramble. This was a pleasant, quiet, rural walk though open farmland on field tracks and bridleways passing Hideway and Buttermilk Farms towards Christmas Gorse, where we took our break. We returned across fields passing Marstonfields Farm and back into the village.
20 SEPTEMER 2017- COLLEGE LAKE
Mick and julie led a group of six members on a walk around College Lake. The weather was kind as the sun came out to make a pleasant morning. We saw many birds, and wild flowers in the herb garden. At the location called the Bus Stop we observed an edibile dormouse (Glis Glis) which was a first for some. The morning ended with a cup of coffe and cake in the cafe.
16 SEPTEMBER 2017 - WILSTONE BLACK POPLAR TRAIL
Bill led a group of 13 members on a winding walk beside streams and across fields to look at the many black poplars in that area. These trees are in declining numbers, and Aylesbury Vale contains most of those left in the country. Many are very old and losing branches but we did see some new plantings. This 5 mile walk was well waymarked and easy to follow. An interesting walk.
10 SEPTEMBER 2017 - BRILL TOWARDS DORTON
Peter greeted 14 members on a breezy and overcast day for a walk to the west of the village, postponed from Saturday due to the cycling tour of Britain passing through the village. As soon as we left Brill extensive views northwards of Quainton and Waddesdon hills and the woodlands in the Vale. A gentle decline through grass fields got us to Spa Farm, where the Chalobyte spring once was the site of Spa which could not rival Bath! We passed an ash tree looking like a stag, before crossing a large pasture with a herd of resting cows and calves with a large bull. Some of us were soon picking some fine blackberries before entering a long winding spinney to emerge into watery sunshine and find more blackberries! We soon had to force our way through a jungle of fat-hen overgrowing a grass field, which all survived to be presented with a climb gaining 200ft to Chiltonpark Farm where we rested to look south and west to Stokenchurch, the Ridgeway and Cotswolds. Brill soon came into view as we passed more quiet cattle then a maize field, to complete this varied 4 mile walk before the threatened rain arrived.
2 SEPTEMBER 2017 - PICNIC IN THE GARDEN
Courtesy of Peter and Valerie, members enjoyed a social afternoon with their picnics. The sun shone and we all had a relaxing time. There was also a quiz featuring local landmarks which Peter had put together for us to get our heads around.
26 AUGUST 2017 - MAIDS MORETON
Christine led a walk from Maids Moreton across fields to Akeley.
19 AUGUST 2017 - CUDDINGTON
Trevor's walk from Cuddington to Nether and Upper Winchendon and return.
5 AUGUST 2017 - NORTH MARSTON TO QUAINTON
14 of us gathered in sunshine for a circular 5.5 mile walk to Quainton following the OAR and returning on part of Matthews Way. As we crossed the first pasture we were met by a group of many coloured cattle that took a quiet interest in us. As we approached the bottom of Quainton Hill a darkening sky rapidly overcame us and the rain fell in varying intensity all the way to Quainton village, though Waddesdon Hill and the wireless mast at Stokenchurch were visible in the distance.
A group of smartly clad people were arriving for a wedding complete with umbrellas as we sheltered with coffee at the cafe in the village and thunder echoed in the air. As the rain eased and some blue sky appeared we set off past sheep shaking the rain from their backs, and up the sharp incline past Denham farm. With the hilltop reached, easier going on grassland and the warm sun drying our coats we had a pleasant stroll back to North Marston.
29 JULY 2017 - ADSTOCK
Robert's walk from Adstock, walking to Addington and Great Horwood.
9 JULY 2017 - BRILL
A walk led by John from Brill to Boarstall via Touchbridge partly along the Bernwood Jubilee Way. We passed close to Boarstall Tower and Duck decoy, and returned to Brill via Boarstall Wood.
1 JULY 2017 - BOW BRICKHILL
Bill led this walk from Bow Brickhill through woodland on the Woburn Estate.
25 JUNE 2017 - SWANBOURNE WITH THE LONDON BLIND WALKING GROUP
18 JUNE 2017 - CHEARSLEY-LONG CRENDON
4 ramblers joined Susan on this Chearsley-Long Crendon circular walk. The very hot weather, combined with those who were involved in Father's Day celebrations probably contributed to our low number. However, we had an enjoyable walk and we took advantage of the shaded walks through wooded areas and by the River Thame.
We started out at The Green, Chearsley, making our way to Long Crendon via field paths with some lovely views. In Long Crendon we stopped for refreshment at the area outside the Court House, which was the first property to be obtained by the National Trust in 1900. Dating from the early 15th century the building was originally connected with the medieval cloth trade, and up to the Victorian period was used to hold manorial courts. We passed by the site of Notley Abbey founded in 1162 by Augustinian monks reputedly one of the richest monasteries in the country.
10 JUNE 2017 - BROUGHTON
Mick led a group of walkers on a bright sunny morning. We met in College Road North just off the A41 dual carriageway from Aylesbury. Our walk took us on bridleways and field paths to Broughton, along the towpath and passing the rare Breeds Farm.
20 MAY 2017 - ANNUAL OUTING STRATFORD-UPON-AVON
53 ramblers boarded the coach at Elmfield Gate car park, Winslow at 8.30 am on 20th May 2017.
We stopped at Stratford Manor Hotel, just outside Stratford Upon Avon, for tea, coffee, and cookies. Some even had hot chocolate. The cookies were delicious, freshly baked by the Chef. This set us up for the walking to come. At the hotel there was a classic car rally with some very interesting old cars.
The first walk started at 10.30 am from the coach park and was a circular walk of approximately 4 miles exploring a section of the River Avon on the southern outskirts of Stratford. We crossed the Tramway pedestrian bridge to the south bank of the river walking through the gardens with the beautiful willow trees. Following the recent rain the river was in full flow and the weirs were quite spectacular. We crossed back over to the north bank to continue the walk on the river bank path. We met up with the ‘Greenway’ railway walk at Stannell’s Bridge an old iron railway bridge, where we had our ‘apple stop’ From there we walked along the ‘Greenway’ towards Stratford. The race course was on our left. We arrived back at the Bancroft Gardens in Stratford at about 12.45 pm after passing Holy Trinity Church where William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway are buried and walking through Avonbank Gardens, seeing Vivienne Leigh’s memorial and The Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
Now was the time for lunch, many had a packed lunch but quite a few went to the Black Swan (Dirty Duck) for a cooked meal!
The afternoon walk started at 2.00 pm and was more of a stroll around the sights of Stratford passing New Place Gardens, Guild Chapel, Town Hall, Harvard House (the home of Mary Harvard, mother of John, who founded Harvard University), Shakespeare’ birthplace, American Fountain (where there was a street market), The Grammar School and Almshouses, Hall’s Croft (where Shakespeare’s sister lived). The old buildings such as the Shakespeare Hotel, Grammar School and Almshouses are very attractive timber framed buildings. We eventually arrived at Holy Trinity Church where we stopped for 30 minutes to allow everyone to visit the Church and the graves of William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway. The Church bells were being rung and the sun was out, a very pleasant experience. Afterwards, we walked around the church for a view over the River Avon. We then proceeded through the RSC gardens, passing the Brass Rubbing Centre, chain ferry and the RSC arriving at Bancroft Gardens at the completion of the walk. Bancroft Gardens are adjacent to the Canal Basin and Marina with an assortment of boats and narrow boats.
There was then 90 minutes of free time for afternoon tea or shopping before getting back on the coach at 5.00pm.