Aylesbury Loop – Section 2 – Waddesdon to Little Kimble

Kimble Station
Kimble Station

We had a barbecue to go to in the afternoon so I needed a local walk, I chose to do a second section of the Aylesbury Loop from Waddesdon to Little Kimble was about 10 mikes and would leave a short stretch left to fill n another day. Google maps suggested I could get a train from Little Kimble a small single track station, which seemed interesting. I checked out street view and there was only 4 parking spaces so I went with and alternative plan I’d necessary. I was aiming for the 08:56, and as luck would have it I had a choice of four spaces. Strangely the train only stopped at Aylesbury but went via High Wycombe according to the information board..

Big Tractor on the Waddesdon Estate

It turns out the train was from somewhere beyond Wycombe and had stopped there. The journey was quite slow and there were lots of unmanned level crossings in the middle of nowhere mainly for farm tracks. I had bought a permit to travel for £2.50 my estimate for the journey and at Aylesbury I had to wait to bu u a proper ticket. With my Railcard the one way ticket was £2.25 so I got some change back.

At Aylesbury bus station I had a short wait for the 17 bus to Waddesdon, the fare was £3.40, I reckon the train although a shorter journey was better value for  money. I grabbed a coffee and Eccles cake from the station kiosk. The bus was not very busy only three of us on it, and with one picked up on the way and two of us leaving at Waddesdon only 2 continued towards Bicester.

Aylesbury Vale View

The path is relatively well sign posted as you leave the village, and you quickly climb as you head towards the Waddesdon stud at the top of the hill. On the way up good views of the Aylesbury vale can be afforded. There were some very young colts with mares in the filed just next door to the stud, they showed little interest in me until I stood still at the fence, a couple of them enjoyed a nose stroke. The weather was hot and I had taken the precaution of an extra bottle of water.

Lunch at the Seven Stars

The path stays high and heads almost directly south as it descends into the valley with the River Thame in the bottom. On the way down I spotted no less that 20 Red Kites in the sky, I guess there must have been some harvesting going on out of sight as they usually attracts the graceful birds in numbers at the bottom was the grounds of Eythrope Manor, the driveways are very popular with cyclists. You get distant views of the manor from the path but it looks very similar in design Waddesdon manor. In front of the manor house there is a big lake made by controlling the flow of the river.

Combine harvesters were out doing there stuff, making the mopst of the recent dry spell to get the harvest in before the next days of rain. It looked ok for the driver as he was in an air-conditioned cab but the support workers must have suffered a bit out in the heat, as was I.

La Chouette Belguim Restaurant in Dinton

The path climbs again as you head towards Dinton, and I crossed the Thames road at the folly, which I believe a business bought to convert into a holiday let some years ago, little progress has been made. In Dinton I read the map wrong and ended up having to double back to get to the Seven Stars pub in the middle of the village. I had a half of the bitter to accompany my Cheddar and chutney sandwich with skinny chips, which I also washed down with a pint of orange juice and soda water.

As I left the pub I realised how hot it had become and the next part of the walk stated to become a bit of a chore as the heat made it a bit tedious. As I left the village I came across a Belgium restaurant called La Chouette (The Owl) that makes Dinton quite a culinary village with the pub and the Hermit. The path continues crossing fields as it passes through Ford and Kimble Wick. I was glad when I eventually took a left turn with only a few hundred yards to get back to the car. The Aylesbury loop has been completed.

London Loop – Section 2 – Old Bexley Village to Orpington

London Loop – rail crossing.

I was in two minds whether to do another section, but I woke up early, and felt ready to get up. Some toast and a quick check of train times and I left the house among for the 07:46 from Berkhamsted. I was early enough for one of the free parking spaces and the ticket was only £13.70 with my newly acquired Railcard.

The train was far from full, and I got a seat with a table. At Hemel a man got on carrying a ruck sack and a very large pipe cutter, I wondered where he was going and to do what? The official section 2 is only 7 miles from Old Bexley Village to Pets wood, however I was hoping to do a but further, anything over 10 would be a good start. I noticed that my FitBit battery was almost flat, and I wondered how long it would last before going completely, I was most likely going to miss out on steps and unfortunately steps mean prizes. There would be no prizes for me!

London Loop – Suburbia

As I was leaving the train at Euston when I noticed I had my T-shirt on inside out, I would have to find a chance to turn it the right way round. My journey was complicated by the closure of the Northern line at Euston, for track maintenance, I has to get on the Victoria line to Green Park to get on the Jubilee line, to North Greenwich then the 132 to Bexley.

The atmosphere was a bit misty but I was hoping for the sun to burn it away once I got started. I had a short wait at North Greenwich for the 132. The path follows the river Cray for quite a while and I spotted trout so it is probably pretty clean. Once it left the Cary it went through a few parks and nature reserves you really did not feel like you were inside the M25. Every so often it passed through suburbia with its manicured front gardens add to that the types of cars in the drives my guess is that it was a middle class area, i.e. commuter belt. I also spotted quite a few Parakeet and I soon got my ear in tune with their call. I did not expect to see them I thought they were more west London birds.

London Loop – Countryside

As I came to the edge of one estate I passed a field transected by a footpath with chain link fence keeping people out. There were three ponies asleep all three of them farting intermittently. The next section was almost exclusively in wood and eventually I passed Petts Wood the official end of section 2, but I carried on for a few more miles, my guess was that I did about 11 or 12 miles of the loop path. At the next main road I checked google maps for a bus but the signal was poor so I carried on to the next main road. There was a bus soon but I got the distinct impression that it was an ex bus route I I ended up walking another 3/4 mile to Orpinton Station. On the way I came across a small parade of shops like you do in traditional commuter belt. There was a picture framer that had a machine that cut out the cardboard inner frames which was interesting as it looked well made but self made. At the bakers I bought a Belgian iced bun which only cost a pound and tasted great after 12 miles of walking.

London Loop – Train at Orpington Station

At Orpington station I had a bit of a wait for a train, as I took the advice of the station staff and google and got the train to Charring Cross rather than Cannon Street. I grabbed a coffee and settled in for 25 minutes of Pokemon. The train journey was quite short as the train only stopped at Waterloo East before terminating a short distance on at Charring Cross where I alighted. I then had a dilemma I realised when I got to the underground that the Northern line was not stopping at Euston so I tried the bus instead, but on exiting the station the Ride London event was in full swing so I had to walk to the north of Trafalgar square where it was not obvious if the busses were running. So I dropped into the underground again and got the Northern line south to Embankment (a step backwards) where I could get the Victoria line to Kings Cross then the Circle to Euston Square.

I eventually made it with two minutes to spare for the 15:54 on platform 11. There was an announcement on the train that it was the train to Coventry not Northampton and the LED scrolling displays said that too. I got off with a few other people who were assured that it was the Northampton train so we got back on. It turns out it was the Northampton train and it did stop at Berkhamsted. Where I found the car and stopped for a curry from the M&S. I was home just before 17:00 it had been a long day, but another section had been completed.

London Loop – Section 1 – Erith to Bexley

London Loop – Thames mud warning

I wanted to keep up the Saturday walking and decided that the London Loop would give me a chance to see some parts of London I have never seen, as it goes around the capital and within the M25, and I usually go to the centre.

Quoting Wikipedia : “The London Outer Orbital Path — more usually the “London LOOP” — is a 240-kilometre (150 mi) signed walk along public footpaths, and through parks, woods and fields around the edge of Outer London, England, described as “the M25 for walkers”. The walk begins at Erith on the south bank of the River Thames and passes clockwise through Crayford, Petts Wood, Coulsdon, Banstead, Ewell, Kingston upon Thames, Uxbridge, Elstree, Cockfosters, Chingford, Chigwell, Grange Hill and Upminster Bridge before ending at Purfleet, almost directly across the Thames from its starting point. Between these settlements the route passes through green buffers and some of the highest points in Greater London.”

London Loop – River view with boat

I was up early as it would take just short of 2 hours to get to Write the start of the Loop. I comfortably made the 08:11 to Euston, and managed to get a free parking space. One of the good things about the walk is that it is accessible from stations within zones 1-6 which means a London Travelcard will cover it, so the cost would be at most £300 if it takes 15 sections, I would hope to improve on that by covering more than 10 miles on my section breakdown.

I got the Northern line to Bank then got a bit lost finding the right exit for Canon Street station, so had a 20 minute wait for the train to Plumstead. I filled the time playing Pokemon Go and I must say London is a treasure trove of Pokemon. I got on the long and very empty train, and whilst sat in an empty carriage I heard a phone go off. As there was no one on the train I tracked it down answered it, the man on the other end asked where I was, and I agreed to stand outside the carriage so that he could retrieve it for a passenger who had reported it lost. My good deed for the day done and it was only 09:27!

Whilst on the trin I was able to catch Pokemon whan we stoppped at stations, it was a good job I bought my extra capacity battery with me as it is a real drain on batteries. At Plumstead we had to get off the bus and use a replacement bus service which took us to Erith. It was not exactly at the start if the path but it was good enough for me being just a few hundred yards away.

The path keeps to the river Thames for a while and it felt like familiar territory, then followed the river Garent and then the river Cray, it seemed to be a very industrial area with industrial units and a lot of waste recycling. The patch was on a raise embankment and quite isolated I saw two cyclists and one walker in the three miles by rivers.

London Loop – If the bidge is not high enough dig down

The path follows the river Cray for quite some distance most of it through green areas and some it urban. In Crayford I cam across a parade of shops including no less than three barbers. I decided it was a good place to stop and got my self a portion of chips and a litre of water, then sat in a grassy area and listened to a gospel singing in a nearby building.

There was a lot of wildlife on the route I had already seen lots of gulls but failed to see and waders on the Thames mud, the odd Kestrel and the best of all was a Kingfsiher that was heading my direction only to turn around in mid flight really close by.

I had been checking Pokemon every so often and was getting lots of points, as well as lots of water based characters, not something you get around Aylesbury much. I eventually came across Hall Palace where some kids and dogs were making the most of the hot weather and paddling in the river Cray. Hall Palace it self is an independently run historic house which looking at it’s website looks quite interesting it even has Pokemon looking topiary bushes. EventuallI hit a busy dual carriage way where the signing was not great but I eventually found the path around and under to avoid having to cross the road.

London Loop – Crayford centre

The heat was really getting to me by this point so I decided to do the official first section rather than stretching it further as had been my plan. That will be one of the challenges doing the London Loop because public transport is all around it will be tempting to jump on a bus or train when I have had enough. On the Thames walk I was always walking back to my car and had little options for stopping early. I will however also have the option to carry on further if i’m feeling good.

Eventually I got to Bexley which appeared to be an affluent town, with lots of expensive cars in the traffic. I opted for the bus rather than the train as I wanted to see how good it would be for catching Pokemon. It turns out to be very good, if you get the timing right there is a Pokestop every few hundred yards and characters appear just as often. I knew I had to change buses to get to Euston and in front of the bus I was on was a 108 which went to Euston, I took the chance to jump off the one I was on and get on the 108 but it left before I had a chance to get on it. I waited for the next bus and got off at North Greenwich and decided it was getting late so I got on the Jubilee line and then the Northern line to Euston.

The 15:54 from Euston was air conditioned which was a real relief from the heat I had experienced all day. My experience of the first day (excluding the heat) was good and I do plan to complete the whole circuit despite the time it takes to get to the starting points, and then getting back.