Walks in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire
PUBLISHED: 14:21 06 August 2014 | UPDATED: 14:38 19 May 2015
Explore the great outdoors of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire on foot with these five walks.
Grid ref: SU767910
Distance: 5 miles (8.1km) or 3.3 miles (5.4km)
Terrain: stiles, several climbs, field/woodland paths and quiet country lanes
Time: 3 hours
This five mile circular walk (with a shorter option), to the north of Henley-on-Thames, takes you through a classic Chiltern landscape of rounded chalk hills, beech woods and charming villages.
Before starting the walk have a look round the picture-postcard village of Turville. Many will recognise it as the setting for the BBC series The Vicar of Dibley and several of ITV’s Midsomer Murders. The village has a fine collection of cottages from the 16th-18th centuries, as well as the picturesque timber-framed pub The Bull & Butcher, a great place to relax after completing the walk. The 12th-century flint church of St Mary the Virgin boasts a few Norman features, though most of what you see is around 700 years old. A more recent addition is the beautiful vivid stained-glass window by John Piper.
Start/Finish: North side of footbridge over A4 (Bath Road) opposite St Peter’s Church, Knowl Hill
Grid ref: SU824796
Time: 2 to 3 hours without stops
Distance: 6 miles (9.5km) or 3 miles (4.7km)
Take off on this six-mile circular walk (with shorter option) to the west of Maidenhead, passing some picturesque villages, churches and pubs along the way.
Start: Car park at recreation ground off Thames Avenue
Grid ref: SU637767
Explore Pangbourne on this 5 ¼ mile (8.4km) circular walk (with shorter option) as you meander alongside the River Thames.
Before following the walk spend some time exploring the riverside town of Pangbourne which has a long history stretching back to at least Saxon times. The village sign depicts two local heroes, the first being the King of Mercia along with the village charter and a Saxon ship above the name of the village, the other, separated by more than 1000 years, is Kenneth Grahame symbolised by an open book and trees.
Grahame, author of the children’s classic Wind in the Willows, lived in Church Cottage next to church for several years. The Swan Inn close to the railway station was where Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat finally abandoned their adventure along the River Thames. Visit the Parish Church of St James the Less to see the vivid stained glass windows including the beautiful east window depicting the Virgin and Child along with St George and St Michael. The window was given by Sir George and Lady Armstrong in memory of their son and all men of the parish who died in the Great War (1914-1918).
Start: The Green in Quainton
Grid ref: SP746201
Enjoy this 5 mile (8km) walk, with shorter 2 ½ mile (4km) option, through the rolling countryside around the village of Quainton in North Buckinghamshire.
The picturesque village of Quainton, sitting just to the south of Quainton Hill, was known as Cwene-tun, meaning Queen’s manor. Queen Edith, wife of Edward the Confessor, had a manor here. Cottages cluster around the village green, with the remains of a 15th-century preaching cross, overlooked by the windmill and, to complete the rural scene, there is the George and Dragon pub. The windmill, the tallest in the county, dates from 1830, although it was abandoned around 1896 and has only recently been restored by volunteers. The mill open on Sundays from 10am to 2pm.
Start: Car park at Hughenden Church
Grid ref: SU864955
Explore the area around Hughenden Manor on this 5 ½ mile (8.8km) walk, with shorter 2 ¾ mile (4.4km) option, just to the north of High Wycombe.
Hughenden Manor, now owned by the National Trust, was at one time the country hideaway of the Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Disraeli, who spent his childhood at nearby Bradenham Manor, lived at Hughenden from 1848 until his death in 1881 and many of his possessions remain on show. During the Second World War, the manor was used as a secret intelligence base code-named Hillside, where Air Ministry staff analysed aerial photographs of Germany and created maps for bombing missions, including the famous Dambusters raid.
The Church of St Michael and All Angels, which dates back to the 12th century though most of what you see is the result of extensive Victorian restorations, is nearby. Inside there are some memorials to Benjamin Disraeli along with colourful Victorian stained glass windows. Outside, at the eastern end of the church, is the Disraeli tomb resting place of several members of the family, including Benjamin and his wife, Mary Anne. The 16th-century brick and timber cottages alongside were, at one time, occupied by monks, and were later used as the vicarage and almshouses.