A welly walk for the family in the Chilterns across the intertangled border of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. This loop walk is just five and a half miles through field, wood and valley.
It starts in Stokenchurch in Oxfordshire, in the easternmost part of that county. The village is hard by the M40 motorway, but has mostly escaped excessive development from that position, if not entirely. It is still built around a wide, scattered village green and has a number of pleasant pubs, no doubt from its days as a coaching village before the main route moved to the motorway.
From the Green in Stokenchurch, the route runs north, initially along the Chiltern Way, but turn off it as soon as you leave the village, taking the more northerly track towards Hallbottom Farm (which has recently made new access road not always indicated on older maps and guidebooks) but g through a kissing-gate before the tarmac farm road, and go east of the farm, down a steep field. This is a walk rising and falling into valleys, not along the ridges.
Crowell Wood is a vigorous climb, before it descends again to the open field: the north edge of the wood is the county border, into Buckinghamshire. It is a short climb then up to Sprig’s Alley (and beware that the screen of woodland is not on the map, as too petty for a 1:25 000 scale apparently, but it threw me for a bit).
A little westward along the lane, past a fine-looking pub, the Sir Charles Napier, and soon a path leads north, through the edge of a wood, Venus Wood. A cross-track then leads east-south-eastwards for a mile and a half and down to Radnage.
Radnage is a scattered place – not a village as such, it appears, but a collection of hamlets. The path leads to one of these, ‘Town End’, though with no town in sight. (At the south end of the parish, not on this walk, is a hamlet called ‘The City’. That might have to come into another walk some time.) The parish church is not on the planned route either, but wander down the hill a little into Town End and it is across the fields, and worth a visit.
From Town End, Radnage though we turn to the return journey on what is here again the Chiltern Way, running first by way of Sprig’s Holly Lane (the same lane in fact as Sprig’s Alley from earlier) and over the fields to Grange Farm, where the lane marks the county border again so it is back into Oxfordshire. Then up and over the hill again – very muddy in winter, and soon it is back to Stokenchurch.
It is not far, so perfect for a family walk.