7:20 – Forty Green.
Cliveden is political ground: the home of the Astors and the Duke of Sutherland before them and many noble families, and a frequent meeting place for political plots in past days. It is too sedate and respectable now. However I could not get in, which means I must strike that part of the route from the map. I had been misled in my confidence of the route, and the directions I received earlier were for the wrong direction. I was later told that the northbound path by the Thames in the Cliveden Estate is a popular family walk hereabouts but it is open only to National Trust members. I will replot the section, but as I was here, I walked along the roads, for miles, mostly with a pavement, which I do not recommend. It was punishing, particularly after walking up and down the hill in Taplow three times.
I was back on track at Hedsor Priory, north of the end of the Cliveden Estate, I turned from the river and looked north, following a stretch of the Shakespeare Way, though the signage marks this path as part of the Chiltern Way Berkshire Loop (presumably much of the loop is across the river then) and of the Beeches Way. It is a pleasant path, and heads north, inland.
The route runs through the area where my ancestors, I learn, owned paper mills, driven by the waters of the many streams here.
I carried on along paths of the Chiltern Way Berkshire Loop until eventually I came to Beaconsfield; one of my favourite little towns. The main street of Old Beaconsfield is broad, and lined with old coaching inns, as this was the main London road, with a noble church at the cross-roads, where Disraeli worshipped: his thoroughly gaudy private pew is still displayed.
However I had not plotted the route to go through this picturesque spot but through the modern housing at the west end of the town at the– I was still going north, slipping between Beaconsfield to the east and High Wycombe to the west.
This is still the Chiltern Way, which here describes a horseshoe loop around to Forty Green.
I sat down at The Royal Standard of England, which is a delight and possibly the oldest pub in Britain. It is not on the exact planned route but worth a diversion or a meal stop.
However, I had overpunished myself on this day’s walking. My boots squashed my toes with each step (I think my feet have changed shape), and it just went on too long. I concluded that if I am to carry on then (a) I need new boots, (b) I must shorten the day stages, (c) I should not carry a heavy laptop and charger just to blog on occasion, especially since my ‘phone has stopped connecting and I can only work it in pubs.
I have yet to see how I am in the morning.Please donate to the Stroke Association: click here.