Iver and its fields formed a break from embracing Hertfordshire this weekend. A long weekend – three days could let me finish the top of the county and get all the way down the east side, but after all there is such a thing as family, and family time is very important.
So, we all walked a four-and-a-half mile loop from and to Iver, in southern Buckinghamshire, not far from home. It is a pleasant part of a county I have always regarded as a walkers’ favourite. The route is close to the swelling conurbation and never far from the sounds and smells of it, but a green way through the fields and woods shows the treasures of the land are still shining so close to concrete utility.
The route runs north from the middle of the village soon disappearing among fields and curling east to cross the Colne Brook, where some lovely homes appear, then over the M25 before turning south.
The route follows south along the River Colne, which forms the county border. This was almost familiar: I realised that I had walked the other side of the river on Day 1 of the Middlesex Greenway, and then it crosses the river into Middlesex at the south end of Little Britain Lake and for a short distance does indeed follow the Middlesex Greenway, until the Grand Union Canal Slough Arm.
By the canal bridge stands a tall concrete coal post,; a Victorian tax marker which marks the Buckinghamshire-Middlesex border. The route then follows west along the canal, under the motorway again, and above the canal loom the untidy buildings of an industrial estate: it is a reminder that the canal was built for industry, though it has been claimed by nature. Despite ancestral connections to what was once a small village serving the coaching trade, I saw no reason to continue to what Slough has become, and so we crossed the Slough Arm and worked around the edge of the industrial estate and struck out north, back to Iver.
There is an interesting church at Iver which I would have liked to explore inside, were it not locked: it looks completely late-Gothic on the outside (with modern restorations) but the guidebooks say that it contains Norman and Anglo-Saxon elements. A stone coffin incongruously chained upright to the wall (empty, I should say) seemed to be of this earliest age.
The route we chose is not on the Buckinghamshire Way nor any other grand route I had planned, but runs through a gentle part of Buckinghamshire. There is more to be found, and I will go out and find it, perhaps after I have finished my border walk.
In the Explorer, 1:50 000 series:
- Ordnance Survey Explorer 172 (Chiltern Hills East)
In the Landranger, 1:25 000 series:
- Ordnance Survey Landranger 176 (West London)