Buckinghamshire walk around the Claydon villages
PUBLISHED: 10:29 23 August 2016
Follow Steve Davison as he heads towards Buckingham for a walk through three of the Claydon villages, calling in at Claydon House
The first leg of the walk follows paths through fields, passing Muxwell Farm to reach Botolph Claydon, home to a number of thatched cottages including one along Weir Lane overlooking the pond. The walk then heads north, passing the former library and clock tower (the latter was built by parishioners to commemorate Sir Edmund Verney), before passing a picturesque thatch-roofed tree seat.
The walk continues through East Claydon, home to St Mary’s Church which dates from the 13th century and some picturesque thatched cottages, before following the Bernwood Jubilee Way westwards to Middle Claydon. The final leg heads past Claydon House.
Built in the 18th century for Sir Edmund Verney, the fairly plain looking Claydon House (National Trust: 01296 730349; www.nationaltrust.org.uk/claydon), which recently appeared as William Boldwood’s home in the 2015 adaptation of ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’, was originally planned to be much larger; hiding within, is an extravagant Rococo and Chinoiserie interior. Florence Nightingale, known as ‘the Lady with the Lamp’ after she helped wounded soldiers during the Crimean War, became a regular visitor to the house in the latter half of the 19th century after her sister, Parthenope, married Sir Harry Verney.
The gardens and parkland (01296 730252; www.claydonestate.co.uk, not National Trust) were originally designed by John Sanderson, a pupil of Capability Brown and, like the house, are open in the summer (Saturday to Wednesday). The Claydon estate has been the ancestral home of the Verney family since 1620 and All Saints Church contains a number of memorials to the Verney family, including Sir Edmund Verney, who was chief standard bearer to King Charles I during the English Civil War.
• Start/finish: roadside parking (SP719249), 1 mile west of Botolph Claydon on the road towards Calvert
• Map: OS Explorer 192
• Distance: 5 miles (7.7km)
• Terrain: some gates, fairly level, paths and tracks, and sections of road
• Time: 2.5 hours
• Refreshments: no pubs on the walk; tearoom at Claydon House
1 (SP719249) – From the lay-by head westwards along the road for 450m, and shortly after the gate entrance on the right, turn left across the road and through a kissing gate. Head diagonally left across the large field, passing just right of a protruding hedge corner on the way. Go through a gate and keep ahead (wood on right), cross a footbridge and bear left to cross another footbridge. Then turn right and follow a line of bushes, then a fence. Go through a kissing gate and cross straight over the driveway at Muxwell Farm. Go through a gate and bear left through the field, passing some trees and marker post. Leave through a kissing gate and continue across the large field to the far corner. Keep ahead along the right-hand hedge and soon turn right to exit the field.
2 (SP727242) – Cross over the track (bridleway), then a footbridge and head diagonally left (north-east) through two fields. At the corner, follow the path past a cottage and through a gate to the main road in Botolph Claydon. Cross over and turn right along the pavement to a junction; the walk follows the main road as it curves left. Before continuing, take a short detour to the right along Weir Lane for 100m to view a lovely thatched cottage overlooking the pond; retrace your steps and follow the main road northwards. Continue along the pavement on the left, soon crossing the road to continue along the right-hand side, then passing the former library and clock tower to enter East Claydon. Continue past the thatch-roofed tree seat and soon fork right along the tarmac path (play area on left). Keep to the hedge-lined path to reach Church Way; over to the right is St Mary’s Church.
3 (SP739255) – Follow the lane northwards, then turn left to the main road. Keep left along St Mary’s Road to a junction beside a thatched cottage and take the right-hand fork (Sandhill Road) for 150m. Turn left onto the track and immediately bear right through a kissing gate. Bear left (west) through the field following the Bernwood Jubilee Way. Go through a gate and follow the right-hand hedge to a gate in the corner. Keep ahead through the middle of the next field. Pass a stand of trees and continue straight on for 650m following the left-hand hedge. Leave the track, go through a gate and continue through the cemetery, staying close to the right-hand edge; exit through a gate.
4 (SP722258) – Turn left along the road as it swings right – spot the small chapel on the left – through Middle Claydon. After the house on the left, turn left through a gate (footpath sign) to enter a large field and follow the right-hand edge for 250m. Go through a gate and continue down across the grass to the tarmac drive. Bear left and keep right at the split past the parking area; straight ahead is access to Claydon House, the gardens and tearoom. Just before the cattle grid and hedge turn right. Go through a gate and keep ahead for a few metres before turning left to follow the ha-ha (stone wall) on the left, passing Claydon House and the church (both on the left). Keep ahead through a gate and follow the drive straight on past South Lodge, before turning right along the road for 150m back to the lay-by.
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