The Ridgeway – Ashbury to Letcombe Bassett

Time to get back to the Ridgeway, after a few months of absence. I plotted the next 12 miles from Ashbury and determined that Letcombe Bassett and therefore Wantage would be the best place to leave the car. 12 miles would be tough as it was my first walk of that distance for a while and also there were no coffee stops or cafes on the route. One of the downsides of the Ridgeway is that it does not really go through many villages or towns near them but hardly ever through them.

I left the house at 08:10 dropped Helen up the road and headed to Wantage, ignoring the Sat Nav and going south of Oxford to get to the A34. I was hoping the rain/drizzle would stop by the time I got to Wantage but it had now. I sought out a shop to get some cheap waterproof trousers, and found some for £7 on the market. I suspect the vendor could have applied surge pricing as it was the type of inundation that makes you really wet. I grabbed a coffee in Costa to get my bearing and figure out how to get to Ashbury. Uber said there were no cars available so I wandered over to the local taxi rank. An old man seemed to be headed the same way so I held back rather than grabbing the only taxi waiting.

It wasn’t long before a taxi turned up, the driver was not very talkative and when he was he mumble quietly, so there wasn’t much conversation, he dropped me at the top of the hill where the Ridgeway crosses the B4000, which saved me having to walk up it from Ashbury. I headed off down the path the rain continued and I realised that I wold have to put the waterproofs on if I wanted to stay slightly dry.

The walk was pretty uneventful to start with but there were some ancient monuments to take a look at Wayland’s Smithy was the most interesting and the only one where I came across anyone else out having a look. I plodded on and passed a trough with a tap and a notice that said the was was fit to drink and that it was to celebrate the life Peter Wren who loved the countryside. I had a drink to save the water I was carrying. We need more taps like that in the countryside, to go with the benches you sometimes come across. Both would be very welcome on a long walk.

Eventually I came across a lady on a bicycle followed by three dogs, she stopped and told me an old dog was lagging behind a bit. About a quarter of a mile later I came across a setter who looked like he was on his last legs, it was all he could do to lift his head to look at me while he plodded past. next up was another lady and a dog this time both were on foot. The lady explained that she trying to keep off the slippery chalk, however she was running out of grass and was in danger and slipping down, I offered here a hand down but she said thank but no thanks so I left here teetering on the edge of a grass patch.
not many people Old dog

A couple of 4×4 drove up and 4 men with fluorescent orange flags got and walks across a field down to the valley. There were small sections of corn growing they clearly were running a shoot for pheasants, which were quite numerous in the area. Finally I arrived at Letcombe Basset, but unfortunately there was no pub so I settle for a bench at a junction. It had stopped raining for a while so I took the opportunity to take my waterproofs off to let my now slightly damp jeans dry out. While I was doing so a man drove out out of a parking space then moved his van into the vacated space then drove off in the car. Between each move he left a vehicle blocking the highway, there was no traffic.

The walk to Letcombe Regis was along a road because I missed a turning for a foot path, I tough someone had blocked the entrance but studying the maps more closely a complaint would not be necessary as google streetview allowed me to see where the foot path entrance was that I missed. In the village there was a big retirement complex which was run by Bupa. It was quite well done and I guess catered for all sorts of retired people, that that did and did not need care. There was a brand new village shop and cafe, it was a bit strange, clearly run by locals, but there was not much useful produce in the shop cuppa soups cakes and biscuits the sort of thing you would need if you were visiting an elderly relative! I stopped for a weak coffee and move on.

The path back to Wantage was paved but cross country I imagine that maybe it was built by the manor house at Letcombe Regis for staff in the bygone days, I wasn’t complaining it made for easy walking. In Wantage I popped into the cobblers to ask about leather glue apparently Bostik 6092 is the best stuff, but they could not sell me any even though I don’t look like a glue sniffer. In specsaver they did not have my contact lens fitting I was not being successful on the shopping front. I did manage to get the ingredients for Lhaksa at Sainsbury’s.

I dropped by Rory’s to fix his PC and he bought me a pint at the Akeman in return, it was good to catch up. The Lhaksa worked out OK.

Local Walk – Amersham to Wendover

Chiltern view
Chiltern view

We were meeting up with the Pearce’s in the afternoon, so I thought I would get a cheeky walk in in the morning. After a bit of pondering I decided to try walking from American to Wendover. I dropped Helen off at church then headed to Wendover where I found a space on the high street. At the station I found out that there was replacement buses running from Aylesbury to Great Missenden, I thought about bailing out. An ex colleague was waiting for a bus too so I took the opportunity to catch up.

A Motts travel coach turned up on time and ferried us to Great Missenden station where a train was waiting. I did not realise that Google had sent me to the station at 09:32 for the bus because it knew there was a bus replacement service, the train is normally a bit later. The train left Missenden at the time the train would normally leave.

Aldbury Church
Aldbury Church

The weather was damp but not raining, overcast with little prospect of the sun coming out, I would have to look for fungi to take photos of. on the train I sat with my ex colleague and we chatted.

At Amersham I alighted and went to the kiosk and asked for an americano, he grabbed the filter coffee jug, I turned him down and headed for the high street to find a proper americano. I noticed a oldish guy in walking gear who had been on the train, I asked if he was walking back to Wendover, he wasn’t he was geocaching, I explanation Ned how I used to but I fell out of love when it got serious with puzzle ones etc. I liked it when all you had to do was find a box. He said he liked the puzzle ones and was going to do a sweep of the Amersham area caches.

He headed to a cafe for breakfast and I grabbed a decent coffee and we went our separate ways, I also went down the high street and forward for an iced bun and a snickers for the journey.

Aldbury vllage pond
Aldbury vllage pond

I walked through a well to do housing estate with large houses then was soon crossing muddy crop fields, then I was in pastures and the odd woods for the rest of the walk.At about 7 mikes I stopped for a rest at The Lee village green.

I now joined the Chiltern link, which seems to join Chesham to the Ridgeway or Wendover, taking in Coombe hill. As I got within a couple of miles of Wendover j was in familiar territory. As I descending down to the level of Wendover I came across a couple of air vents and a seriously concreted over trap door. Not sure what it was but I would love to know.

By the time I had got to Wendover I had just passed the 10 mile mark, which had been my estimate. I found the car and drove home, and had time to cook a Dahl before R&I turned up with the kids. We wandered over to the park and checked out a football match for a while them had a beverage at the cage in the park. By the end of the say I had done a 60,000 step weekend, I think it is a new record for me.

St Agnes – Holywell and back via Pentile Point

Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach
Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach

Last day of the holiday in Cornwall and although it is an even day we went for a walk, as we had been in training all week. The plan was to park up at the Holywell car park then walk in land to West Pentile where this is pub called the Bowgie Inn, then walk back to Holywell beach via the coastal path.

Once parked up at the National Trust car park, free for members and adding to the savings to offset against the membership fee, we walked in land flowing a river and passing through a very extensive camping and caravan park. The we did an acute turning and headed up a hill that once at the top gave a great view of the area with the sea visible of three sides of the square so to speak.

Seals on a rock
Seals on a rock

We descended down from the peak and crossed a road and then the path went through a caravan park which was closed for the season, it had many activities including a fishing lake, and the notice boards promised entertainers, singers and comedians, including once called Jim Gutrench. A gold course followed with the path nicely protected by Cornish walls/mounds. Eventually we descended down into a valley where there was a car park for a beach we would pass later. The way out of the valley was confusing but we eventually hit the right path which lead to a road or track again up the hill till we got to West Pentire, the a the Bowgie Inn beckoned, and what a great find it was.

The Bowgie Inn is in a small village but as we approached we noticed it was quite busy and lots of outside seating, it was clear why when we got there. The view of Crantock Bay is fantastic and the light we we arrived was almost perfect. We stopped for a coffee and a bag of crisps and I took a time lapse sequence. We lingered for a while watching the surfers in the distance the breaks were quite a way out so a couple of them were getting really long run ins.

The path crosses the bottom of the pub garden, which was handy. The next few miles were spectacular, and the photo opportunities many. Eventually we came across Pentire beach which we had passed earlier, and found a spot to have our sandwiches, it was idyllic and the perfect spot to share lunch on our last full day in Cornwall. The sea was a deep blue and breaking in parallel waves onto the beach, and the sky was blue with the occasional passing fluffy cloud.

Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach
Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach

The walk back to Holywell bay was quite eventful, first Helen spotted some seals on a rock just off the coast. We watched them for a while and the total count at one point was 12, far out stripping our best tally of the week of two.  A little further on I went to look at whatever the couple were looking at over the cliff it turned out to be a sheep part way down the cliff. It was standing still looking like it could not decide which way to get out, I was not about to try and rescue it because the way out was fairly obvious.

The last mile and a half were down hill and then on the beach. It was tedious walking across the dry sand at the top until we found that the damp sand by the stream that runs down the beach was much easier walking. We were back at the hut at the same time as the owners who had been to The Eden Project as a treat for their wedding anniversary. We had a chat then retired to the hut to tidy up and pack so we could get an early start. We had fish and chips for tea from the chippy opposite the pub, my hake was very  nice and the chips were double cooked so very crispy.

St Agnes – Porthtowan back to to the pub

Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach
Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach

We had a plan to walk from Porthtowan back to the pub for a half, but the buses were not convenient either a early start or a late start. Then I remember that there is a museum in St Agnes and the bus stop was near by. So the plan emerged, we would walk up to the museum for the 10:30 opening time then we would have an hour before the 11:30 bus. That mean a leisurely start, we left the house at 10:00.

We walked up through the village which thus far we had only seen from the car. There is the St Agnes Hotel signs that the place was once and important town. Then we cam across the Railway Inn yet more evidence that the place was important. The museum would reveal all.

Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach
Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach

We got to the museum just as it opened and a friendly man welcomed us in. The museum is very interesting and very well done. It gives you a great insight into the history of the area right up to current days with a cabinet showing a multi-generation of doctors who have served in the village. We were early for the bus so I bought a paper and we sat at the bust stop and caught up with the news.

Walk through village hill There were quite a few people at the bus stop but when the 315 arrived we were the only ones to get on. I guess the rest were waiting for the 87 to Newquay or Truro. The bus takes a rurtal route and takes a least one detour to visit villages. Eventually we were dropped off near the beach at Porthtowan. We headed straight for the coat path and the hard slog of getting out of the river valley. Just before Porthchapel we came across a bench with a view where we had our sandwiches and did some sea watching. Helen spotted something which we took a while to figure out what it was, but eventually we realised that it was a Sunfish a rare but increasingly more common sighting in Cornwall.

Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach
Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach

It was a pretty short walk down to Porthchapel where we had a coffee at the National Trust coffee shack. We headed the beach to enjoy our beverages and the view. I took a timelapse set. We then headed on again up the steep hill towards St Agnes. On out left was the beacomn the man in the museum had explained about and Helen was interested in because of the arrow heads found there and on display, however after the slog up the coast path Heln declined the offer to walk to the top of the beacon.

Near the coat watch car park there the local radio control club were flying gliders, the steady breeze from the sea made it a great location, however I guess mistakes can be costly with the sea and the cliffs. As we left the coat watch I noticed a man on the floor ahead, in my binoculars they were not moving but then he started to get up slowly. I rushed ahead and check that he was OK, he was I think he was just embarassed at having fallen over.

The final mile or two was on familiar territory with great views as the sun dipped lower. Back in the village we used the excuse to book a table to eat to buy a sneaky half. We had had a lovely day in perfect weather.

St Agnes – Walk Holywell to St Agnes

Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach
Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach

Day three an odd day so it is a walk day, we had a plan to get a bus to Holywell then walk back to St Agnes, however the best laid plans do not always pan out. We were up early and in time to walk up to the bus stop for the 09:32 bus to Newquay. We set out earlier than necessary according to Google maps, I did that thing I have done many times. When you go for the public transport option in maps it includes the time to walk to the bus stop, I have a habit of taking the time as the bus departure not the start walking time.

Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach
Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach

We were very early for the bus so had a 25 minute wait, but it did turn up which is a good start. We needed to stay on the bus for 22 stops and get off at Cubert Crossroads which turned out to be in the middle of nowhere. It was not obvious where the bus stop was but we decided that walking towards a lay by in the direction of Holywell was the best bet, and it did turn out to be a bus stop. We were a bit late for the bus so we gave it 25 minutes before I convinced Helen we should give up on the bus and walk cross country Perranporth and miss out Holywell. We walked a few hundred yards down the road and lo and behold the bus drove past. Helen was not amused in fact she was hopping mad and I was somehow partly to blame (as logistics manager for the walk). Helen soo cheered up when we spotted some Goldcrest in a tree by the road.

The walk to Perranporth was mainly on a road but not much traffic and it made a change to be in the Cornish countryside rather than a cliff path. We turned towards the sea at the Perranporth golf club and eventually hit the beach and headed towards the town. Helen decided she had walked far enough so I waited for the next bus back to St Agnes with her then headed off up the hill and back onto the coast path, which was a bit of a slog.

Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach
Walk from Holywell via Crantock and Poly Joke beach

I stopped after half and hour and enjoyed my sandwiches on a sheltered bench with a view. The path then headed even higher and passed some fairly significant mine sites and some very interesting geology, wtih layers of dark rock in a mainly lighter quartz or silica rock. There was also lots of mine spoil so much so in fact they appear to have dug a path through it for the coastal path. The route took me around the back of the Perranporth airport where a plane kept taking off and landing not sure if it was flight lessons or flight tours.

Eventually I came to the path that descends steeply into Trevellas Cove, where a sign suggest no walking around the beach to St Agnes. I threw caution to the wind as the tide was far out. It was a bit tedious stepping from rock to rock but it saved another massive up section then another down to get to St Agnes. Helen was wandering on the beach when I got there looking for the seal she had spotted the evening before, it seemed to like looking at the surfers from a safe distance. We had a regular half, well in my case a pint as I had done 10 miles of coastal path, then we headed back to the hut.

St Agnes – Trelissick and the Roseland Peninsula

Portscatho panorama
Portscatho panorama

Day four even number meant a relaxed non: walking day, our initial aim was Trelissick and National Trust property with extensive gardens, then we would see whare the wins took us. We left the house at 10:00 and arrives at Trelissick at 10:30 perfect timing of the house opening times.

We first headed to the house and had a look around, the contents were quite bear and I overheard some mentioning that all of all the content was from when the hose contents were auctioned off. Then we headed to the orchard garden area where there are lots of exotic trees. By then it was coffee and cake time a fruit slice went down nicely.Finally we walked out to the end of the Peninsula with fantastic views of the Fal estuary.

St Mawes harbour
St Mawes harbour

Trelissick is near King Harry’s ferry to the Roseland Peninsula we decided to give it a go and take a look at the isolated finger of land. The ferry saves a 27 mile round trip. To get on the ferry we left Trelissick and turned right, on to a road that steeply descends down to the river level. We did not need to wait to take the switch back and drive onto the ferry, infact we were the penultimate car on board. The cross does not take long, less than 5 minutes I would say. We headed first down to St Mawes the biggest population center on the peninsula.

We ignored the signs to parking instead choosing the signs to the castle which is an English Heritage property. We did not stop at the castle but carried on round to the sea front and were happy to find a space in the harbour car park. We had a sandwich  in one of the seafront establishments, my crab sandwich was generously filled, bit no cheap at £9.95.

Portscatho limpets
Portscatho limpets

Next we headed to St Antony the end of the less popular peninsula, where there is a gun battery from the war which we found out includes a bird hide. We walked out to the bird hide via a walled path, presumably to protect the soldiers. From the hide we the view was of a cliff opposite, which  we thought strange but then we realised that we were probably looking for a Peregrine Falcon, and we did manager to see it dive after prey. After a look around what was left of the gun battery then we drove back up a different road up the peninsula to a village called Portscatho which has a history of artists living there/ It was a quiet place and we had a walk around and a look at the beach.

It was time to head back to the ferry where I took to the opportunity to get a couple of timelapse sequences. The queue for the ferry was pretty short as one was half way across when we arrived. Truro traffic was busy, we went to Waitrose for some salad for tea, and got back to the hut just oafter 18:00 with plenty of time before Back Off started.

St Agnes – Trerice NT and metal detecting

Sea view near St Agnes
Sea view near St Agnes

A high was pushing away a bank of rain overnight but it had not done its job by morning. We decided a more less energetic day was in order, so we would start at a National Trust property called Trerice less that 30 minutes drive. It turned out to be an interesting drive as the satnav insisted on a single track lane for a significant part of the journey.

We arrive just before the house opened which was perfect timing. The house has quite old original bit is a very good state of maintenance. Quite a small house but interesting stuff within. I had to sample the famous lemon meringue pie in the café which went down nicely with an americano. We killed time a little writing postcards, to get that holiday task out of the way and to give the weather front a bit more time to move along.

Portscatho view
Portscatho view

We had a look around Newquay and parked up at Fistal beach to see if there were any surfers out, it was raining and wind swept there were not a lot of surfers out. Then we headed to Crantock beach stopping off at the village shop for some metal detector batteries, then parked up at the beach and headed out with the metal detector.

It took a while to get our hand back in but we did eventually find some stuff including a tent peg, a couple of screws, some tin cans and a few bottle tops, we are not going to get rich. Next we headed to Truro to get some provisions, from the Cornish shop at Waitrose this time beetroot salad and a mushroom salad. Back at the hut we headed down to watch the surfers taking advantage of the last of the summer, then had a half at the pub.

St Agnes – Walk to Chapel Porth and back

Stuff at St Agnes harbour
Stuff at St Agnes harbour

Our first day on holiday so we thought we would be better to go easy to test our legs, although I had been walking a lot this year most of the walks had been flat, the Cornish coastal path is far from that. Our plan was to walk to Chapel Porth and back trying to make a circular route.

We started by walking down the road to the beach but took a left at The Driftwood Spar freehouse. The road was very steep and we eventually came to a twee little mobile home park in which the homes were all like large sheds or chalets. We joined a foot path there and then a track. There is quite a lot of activity at the top above the village of St Agnes, there is a rugby and foot pitch probably because it is the nearest flat piece of land. There was also a lot of building work going on with some new houses being built and others being renovated.

Sea view near St Agnes
Sea view near St Agnes

We find that the foot paths in Cornwall are not that well sign posted and we eventually could not find the path we wanted so we ended up walking along a road but found a convenient bench with a view for a rest. Whilst sat there we saw lots of modern Jaguars drive past the turned towards the sea and the car park near the coast watch hut.

We headed in land too but took a footpath that took us west and closer to the sea. The path became quite steep at loose under foot at one ppoint but we made it to the bottom of the valley where there was a National Trust car park, WC and importantly a small cafe shack where we got a drink and a flapjack to share. We consumed out beverages down on a large rock on the edge of the beach, then we went for a wander to look at the rock pools.

Sea view near St Agnes
Sea view near St Agnes

We headed back keeping to the offical coast path all the way, it was steep exiting the valley but we took a rest halfway up at a tin mine building with a bench next to it. The sandwiches we had made earlier went down a treat, and a view over the sea to go with it.

The final stretch down towards St Agnes was tough on the knees which were out of practice for hill, note to self do the Ridgeway path with all it’s ups and downs to get your knees in trim. Just on the edge of St Agnes we came across a group of 4 just about to launch a small drone with a very sophisticated controller, the strap told me it was Parrot gear. I sat and watched it being lauched then I looked over the bay, next thing I know I heard the bloke flying it saying “It has never done that before” as they all looked over the wall then climbed to look down the cliff. They had lost the drone some how, I did a good job not laughing as I left hem to it and headed down into the village.

Flower closeup
Flower closeup

We stopped at the pub and had a swift half, before heading back to the hut, where I polished off one of the scones that had be on the hut when we arrived, the clotted cream from the fridge went nicely on top followed by some strawberry jam. We lounged about for a bit before heading back to the pub for some more beer and something to eat.

I had a pint and the baked skate wing special which was very nice. We shared are table with another couple who were interested in my map app. After eating we went to look at the sea and there was another man flying a drone, however this one came back to him.

A circular woodland walk around Cholesbury-cum-St Leonards CP

Cholesbury St Leonards Walk Map
Cholesbury St Leonards Walk Map

I received a text from an old friend who was worried that I had fallen off the face of the earth, because he had not seen any updated on my blog. To remedy the situation I promise I will make extra effort to update more often. My excuse is that I am pretty busy at work in my new role at work, but I quite enjoy doing the updates so will make the time to keep people up to date so here the the first of many more.

On Saturday Helen and I had a long arranged agreement to go for a walk with A&C in the hope of a fungal foray, I thought it was a bit late to be looking for mushrooms, but I will take any excuse to go for a walk in the woods with good friends. A&C are also birds watchers so nature would be on the agenda either way. I thought I would try something new and document the walk for others to enjoy.

A&C picked us up just after 10am much to Helen’s annoyance as she had slept in and was a bit short on time, but we were soon on our way. The walk starts up in the hills near St Leonards. Drive up the hills via the forestry commission Wendover wood entrance, past the golf club then follow the road. Once past the caravan park you will come to a bend in the road at St Leonards church their is a turning on the right onto a road called Gilbert’s Hill. We parked up on the verge of the road at the bottom called Bottom Road.

Cholesbury Fort, Buckinghamshire
Cholesbury Fort, Buckinghamshire

The walk is circular and this would be third week running that I have done it. I first chose it by looking on a map and trying to find a shortish walk which took in a good amount of woodland and was pretty local. It turned out to be a nice fairly flat walk, which I shared with Helen the week after, and when we were deciding where to walk with A&C it seemed like a good choice, as there were mushrooms and birds to spot.

Take the path that leads in to the woods north and follow the path just in the woods next to the open field, until you get to a cross roads take the path right past the bug hole. The bushes on the edge of the woods are a good place to look for birds we saw Redwing, Coal Tit, and Gold Crest. See label (1) on the map you know you are in the right place if you can see manhole covers for a pump station. Follow the footpath towards the house in the distance, the footpath passes through the barn yard of the farm buildings. A pony was making a lot of noise try to catch our attention.

Along the track from the farm there is another food path that joins it with a plaque on the gate remembering a “knowledgeable man”, label (3), there is some scrub-land here it is worth taking the time to scan the vegetation, as if you are lucky you will see the bright Yellow Hammers that seem to hang around this spot, the first time I did the walk I also got a male Bullfinch, which is always brings joy. In the distance we saw a Red Kite perched in a tree and we were surprised at how bright and light the bird was.

Buckland Woods, St Leonards, Cholesbury, Buckinghamshire
Buckland Woods, St Leonards, Cholesbury, Buckinghamshire

Follow the path to the row of terraces on Little Twye Road, cross the fields (3) good place for flocks of Yellowhammer, then keep going till you get to a modern house and take the footpath down the side of the fence, and just keep on going straight till you get to an open filed with a couple of houses in the corner near the road that leads to Cholesbury. At the road turn left and after about 50 yards there is a path that leads to Cholesbury church and it’s grand wooden gates. Take the path that leads around the Cholesbury camp hill fort (4), then when you come to the footpath junction take the left turn away from the fort and across a couple of horse paddocks, it can get muddy here.

At the entrance to the woods keep on the path that goes through the woods (5) look out for the fairy and pixies that someone has arranged in various places as you walk through. Keep on the path and keep your eyes out for Tit flocks and if you are lucky the odd Treecreeper (6). If you get a a road then you have missed the turning that almost takes you back on yourself. Head towards (7) and keep your eyes out for mushrooms in the leaf litter until you get back to the place where you parked up. It took us 2 hours but we were doing bird miles, it could easily be done in less that and hour and a half.

When we finished the walk it was about lunch time and after trying a pub that was shut nearby we settled for the Old Swan at Swan Bottom (Steve will know it well), the food was great and the staff very accommodating and friendly. I had Fish and Chips, Helen cheese sandwich and chips, and A&C both had Chicken Pie, as a starter we shared deep fried sweet potato and salsify with a water cress aioli.

A very enjoyable walk with great company, and thanks to Steve for inspiring me to keep up the blog posts.

Coombe Hill Wendover walk

Pulpit Hill silhouette from Coombe Hill
Pulpit Hill silhouette from Coombe Hill

I spent the morning Christmas shopping, only two websites were involved, one of them does not pay tax in the UK but is very convenient and needs must. Christmas shopping done Helen was writing Christmas cards so I thought now is a good time to go for a walk. I was going to go up to Wendover woods but Helen wanted something from the shops to Wendover was now the chosen venue. The car park was pretty busy with Christmas shoppers, but after some patience I slotted the car into a parking space, purchased a parking ticket and headed up the high street towards Coombe Hill.

Wendover is a convenient place for a walk, you can park in the high street which means on the way back to the car you can stop off for a drink in a pub (Shoulder of Mutton and the Red Lion are both good) or a coffee at Rumseys. It is also popular with people from London because the railway station make the country side easily accessible. I usually walk to the top of Coombe Hill and back again, there is a main route up and down but there are plenty of alternaive routes to extend the walk and make it circular.

Gorse flowers on Coombe Hill Buckinghamshire
Gorse flowers on Coombe Hill Buckinghamshire

I headed up past the station and over the by pass, then forewent the left hand fork over the fields, for the direct route, which starts at the first bend in the road out of the town. The path flows the edge of the hill providing great views of Aylesbury Vale. Today the view was great with the vales bathed in low Autumn sun light, but the sun was the other side of the hill so I was in the cold shade. In the way up some birds flew over probably Goldfinch, but one solitary fly over had me intrigued, it had a very bright, almost fluorescent, rear I could not figure what it was. Bullfinch crossed my my mind but it was the wrong red and it was the rear not the chest. I referred to the internet when I got home and I reckon it was a Waxwing, I would not call it a definite ID but I’m now fairly sure it was. It makes sense as there has been a big influx in recent weeks, and they are being reported in flocks everywhere,even as far south as Kent.

At the top of the hill there is a monument, and took some time there to take some photos and admire the view. There were quite a few people out for such a cold day. I took a slightly different route back to the right of the way up but popped out almost at the bottom back on the path I had taken up. Down in Wendover I both some crisps for this evening and a lottery tick in the vain hope that I can stop work and live the life of Riley.