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

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

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

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.

Autumn walk through the beech woods around Cholesbury Buckinghamshire

We were supposed to be going round A&C’s for a look at their new extension then on for a walk, but C, the Olympic torch bearer, was feeling a bit under the weather so Helen and I decided the weather looked so nice that we should go for a walk anyway.

We decided that we would walk from Cholesbury cricket ground, and keep as much as possible to the surrounding beech woods, as it was mushroom season and there should be plenty to photo. The sun was shining and it was ideal autumn weather. We walked towards the village hall then took the foot path that runs along side it. We passed the church on our left and entered a small section of woods, by crossing the site then following the footpath NW, we then came to an opening where there are usually some horses. We kept to the footpath and enter Buckland Wood, where the footpath seems to peter out but if you keep in the NW direction you eventually hit a T junction with a bridleway where we turned right.

The bridleway lead us to a rural road where we turned right and followed the road for about 400 metres. There were not many mushrooms about, we theorised that the conditions were perhaps not quite right, perhaps it was too warm. There was the odd clump about but not the usual abundance. We soon turned off and followed a path though a small wood then across a field with a crop in it. The small wood had lots of holly in it which had more than the usual amount of berries on it, the birds are in for a treat this winter.

Eventually we hit the track, called Shire Lane, that leads to Hastoe but we turned right away from Hastoe but back to Cholesbury. The lane is a great one to cycle down from the Hastoe end because it is just slightly down hill all the way and you can keep a fair lick going. At the end of the lane we hit the road again which we followed back to Cholesbury cricket ground, just round the bend and after a dip in the road, you can get off the road and go via the woods adjacent to it.

We both agreed that it was a nice short walk, 4.5 miles and took us 1 hour and 40 minutes. There was not many birds about, probably because it was around the middle of the day, traditionally very quiet.

Walk round Cholesbury (2 Hours)

Fairly picnic

We met up with A&C for a walk round Cholesbury and were in the woods by 11:15. The weather was sunny but there was still a little nip in the air. We went past the church where some distant relative from the 1800’s have a grave, then kept to the woods and headed towards Hastoe.

At one point we came a cross a wooded area where someone had put on display lads of small fairies, and wind chimes. There was no explanation for them being there, I suggested that someone could not think what to do with a large collection they had so let them free in the woods. They were all nailed in place so they were hardly free to roam.

As we got close to Hastoe it was time to take a right and then start heading back to wards where we started. There was quite a lot of bird activity going on this time of year is a good time because the birds are becoming territorial and you can still see into the trees because the leaves are not out yet. The high lights were three buzzards soaring on the thermals and two woodpeckers doing large circuits of and area as if they were courting or chasing each other.

As we got back towards the car we came across two bumblebees one dead and the other one crawling. I took a couple of pictures and a video. Looking at the video later the bee had quite a few ticks on it. I don’t think they were the cause of death as some internet research suggested that they were harmless.

Once back at the car we parked up at the Half Moon for some lunch in the pub garden where it was only just warm enough to be comfortable. The food was up to the usual good standard. All in all a great walk and meal in good company. We were back in time to watch the boat race and Oxford won by a country mile.