Buckinghamshire walk around Great Missenden
PUBLISHED: 11:01 20 October 2014 | UPDATED: 16:18 05 October 2017
© Steve Davison
Follow Steve Davison as he takes us round Great Missenden – there’s a fairly level 1.5 mile or a slightly hilly 3.5 mile walk to choose from – for children of all ages, and that includes the adults....
Great Missenden, tucked in the Misbourne Valley – which provided a relatively easy route through the Chilterns between London and the Midlands via Wendover – once had a number of coaching inns along its High Street to cater for the high volume of travellers; it wasn’t until 1892 that the railway arrived with the opening of the Metropolitan Line from London Marylebone. Today, choices for refreshment include Café Twit at the museum and the 16th-century Cross Keys pub.
For many, this picturesque village is probably best known as the former home of the world-famous children’s author Roald Dahl, who lived and wrote here for over 35 years. He used many features of the area in his stories and the walk passes a couple of these along the High Street; the Crown House (70, High Street) used as the “norphonage” in The BFG and the Red Pump Garage which featured in Danny, the Champion of the World. Whilst Angling Spring Wood – visited on the longer walk – gave the inspiration for Fantastic Mr Fox.
To learn more about the man and his stories, visit the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre on the High Street (01494 892192; www.roalddahl.com/museum).
From the car park the walk heads to the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul which dates from the 14th century, albeit with various additions and alteration over the centuries; Roald Dahl is buried in the churchyard beside the tree with the circular memorial seat. After admiring the church the walk heads across a large open field for a lovely view of Missenden Abbey before heading back to the centre. The longer walk heads up across fields to visit Angling Spring Wood before dropping back to the village to rejoin with the shorter walk. Both routes then follow the High Street back to the start.
• Start/finish: Buryfield pay and display car park on A4128 in Great Missenden, just off the A413; grid ref SP895014 (train services to Great Missenden)
• Map: OS Explorer 181
• Distance: 1.5 miles (2.3km) or 3.5 miles (5.6km)
• Terrain: gates (no stiles), some ups and downs, paths, tracks, lanes and roads with pavements
• Time: 1 or 2 hours (excluding stops)
• Refreshments: Great Missenden has a good choice of pubs, including the recommended Cross Keys, and a cafe at the museum
1 (SP895014) – With the car park entrance behind you, head along the left edge of the large grassy area, following the South Bucks Way. Continue past houses and a school to reach The Square (village green). Bear right and then left along Church Lane with the flint wall on the right. Follow the lane over the A413 bridge to reach the church. Retrace your steps back over the bridge and immediately bear left down some steps. Go through the kissing gate and head south through the field (trees on right). On reaching a metal fence surrounding some trees go through the gate and follow the path over the little footbridge – look right for a view of Missenden Abbey. Go through a gate and leave the field via the kissing gate. Follow the track to the main road and turn right heading back towards the centre for 350m to a junction with Whitefield Lane (left).
2 (SP896009) – Here the short and long walks go separate ways:
Short walk: Keep ahead to reach the junction with Church Street on the right (Point 4); the longer walk rejoins from the left.
Longer walk: Turn left along Whitefield Lane, then left along Misbourne Drive to a junction on the right; ahead is The Misbourne school entrance. Turn right up to a row of garages and follow a path on the left-hand side. Go through a kissing gate and follow the path over the railway. Go through a small gate and continue between the wooden fences down to a dip and then up a short, steep rise. Go through a small gate at the top and keep ahead to join a tarmac drive at Sedges Farm. Turn right and follow the drive as it swings left and then becomes tree-lined between paddocks. At the hard left bend turn right along a tree-shaded bridleway down to Atkins Wood, ignoring paths to the right and left. Keep to the fenced bridleway as it swings right through the trees and then continue towards Angling Spring Farm, later following a tarmac drive passing to the right of the buildings.
3 (SP888006) – Where this drive turns right, go left, keeping the buildings on the left; to the right is a nice view. Enter Angling Spring Wood and immediately turn right (there is a map showing paths for anyone wanting to explore more of the wood). Follow the path down through the trees to a crossing path at the bottom; spot the carved wooden post. Turn right through a gate and follow the right-hand field boundary. Go through a gate and follow the track to an un-surfaced road, turn right for 50m then left under the railway. Continue along Twitchell Road to a junction. Go left for 25m and then right following a narrow alleyway to join the High Street opposite Church Street and turn left.
4 (SP895011) – Both routes: head along the High Street passing the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre (right) and just after passing The Cross Keys (left) turn right at the roundabout back to the car park.