I was asked about walks in a little corner of suburban Surrey which I do not know very well. Carshalton is a pretty village in itself, but very much now of the surrounding conurbation and though it has a park, it is otherwise bereft of the wide green spaces that much of the county enjoys. Then again, a look at the map shows something special: the River Wandle. I put together then a ‘Wandle Wander’, from Carshalton Village north along the river to its mouth, then along the Thames Path a short way and down to Clapham Junction.
It is a walk of just 10 miles with no climbs, so one for all the family.
New Year’s Day, and we greeted the year with a walk in the Misbourne Valley, from Little Missenden. It is a lovely village, barely touched by modernity, but in a good way, with two pubs, an ancient church, farms on all sides, and a network of footpaths. We set off on a loop south from the village. I have included maps of the walks here on the page “Little Missenden Walks“.
The village is south of the unforgiving track of the trunk road (the A413), leaving it in happy isolation. We set off east along the village’s one road and up a farm track which is also part of the South Bucks Way. This leads by a meadow beside the River Misbourne until a kissing gate and, turning south, the delightfully named Mop End Lane, a footpath, once a byway, leading south up out of the valley to the equally charmingly named hamlet of Mop End, which is one farm and no more.
The sun came out and the views down to the valley were wonderful. It began raining gently after Mop End Farm, but briefly.
Turning west from the farm, we followed a path at a hedge line to a kissing gate (recently replacing a stile) where the hedge doglegs, and through to another tree-edged lane, named Toby’s Lane. At this point we chose to take Toby’s Lane north, between high hedges of trees. On this route, there is, after Breaches Wood, a path diagonally across the field north-westward down to the valley floor and back to Little Missenden, emerging almost opposite the church.
The longer walk looks like a much wider loop, but adds only a mile to the walk; it passes by Toby’s Lane, crosses Beamond End Lane and continues to Holmer Green.
Through Holmer Green, and a bridleway leads north, into Coleman’s Wood / Haleacre Wood, then down sharply into the Misbourne Valley, with, just above the river, a cut-across path to the edge of the village.
Little Missenden itself is a pleasant place, catering well for walkers. The parish church is an Anglo-Saxon building, possibly tenth century, but extended in the Middle Ages leaving odd glimpses of the original work. Most eye-opening though are the mediaeval wall paintings, whitewashed over at the Reformation and uncovered in the modern age.