A Happy New Year to all. Today the family enjoyed a gloriously muddy walk in the Chilterns to greet the new year and see if we approve of it.
It was a welly walk, as so often and just five and a half miles across fields and woods and valleys on the intertangled border of Oxfordshire with Buckinghamshire, beginning at Stokenchurch, in Oxfordshire.
Stokenchurch is a pretty place to start, at the village’s wide, scattered village green, and soon you escape the village, turning north into fields which were almost deserted.
The path climbed up and down, reaching the Buckinghamshire border invisibly at the edge of Crowell Wood at another fold in the land, before a short climb up to a lane. More woods followed, to Town End, one of the hamlets which makes up 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. We had a picnic lunch at Radnage.
The return journey is on part of the Chiltern Way, 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, with many warnings to keep dogs away from sheep – but we had no dog with us, and saw no sheep – there was a llama though, and two great, black, hairy pigs rooting with delight on their snouts in the mire they had made.
All too soon it was back to Stokenchurch. A lovely day, and yes – we approve of the new year.
Maps and books