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Buckinghamshire walk through Stokenchurch and the Chilterns

PUBLISHED: 11:48 20 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:48 20 February 2018

The view to the south-east from the Chiltern Way across a patchwork of woods and fields includes the church on West Wycombe Hill

The view to the south-east from the Chiltern Way across a patchwork of woods and fields includes the church on West Wycombe Hill

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Follow Steve Davison as he heads to Stokenchurch for a longer walk - with shorter option - through some picturesque rolling Chiltern countryside.

Stokenchurch has long had good transport links, the ancient Ridgeway passes just to the north-west, while Collier’s Lane was once the main droving route. The later stagecoach route – the forerunner of the A40 – passed through the village and several coaching inns were established to cater for travellers going between London and Oxford.

Pop inside the Church of St Peter and St Paul, parts of which date from the 12th century, to see the stained glass including a vibrant modern window by David Wasley. On the chancel wall are two 15th century brasses depicting knights in armour in memory of the Morley brothers. The church is also the final resting place of Hannah Ball, founder of the first English Sunday School, in High Wycombe in 1769.

After leaving Stokenchurch we follow the Chiltern Way for a couple of miles to arrive at Radnage and the beautiful, early 13th-century, St Mary’s Church. Inside there are fragments of medieval wall paintings and later post-Reformation religious texts. The church doubled as ‘Cranford Church’ in the BBC TV series Cranford, and was one of the main settings in the 1987 film A Month in the Country.

From here we leave the Chiltern Way behind and take a rollercoaster route through a typical Chiltern patchwork of woods and fields on our way back to Stockenchurch. A shorter 3 mile walk, missing out Radnage, is also described.


Information

• Start/finish: junction of Church Street and A40 in Stokenchurch (SU753936); limited roadside parking

• Map: OS Explorer 171

• Distance: 6 miles (9.5km) or 3.25 miles (5.2km)

• Terrain: gates and stiles, several ups and downs, paths and tracks that can be muddy, and sections of country road

• Time: 3 hours or 1.5 hours

• Refreshments: Stokenchurch – several choices


The walk

1 (SU753936) – With the Kings Hotel over to the right, head north along Church Street following the street as it soon curves right past a small green (right). Immediately after the Royal Oak, turn left along Park Lane for 200m, ignoring side roads. Turn right through a gate and follow the Chiltern Way north-eastwards through the field, keeping some large trees on the left. Go through a gate and continue, soon heading across the field aiming just right of a house. At the far side, turn right and follow the left-hand field edge for a short way before going left and right through a hedge gap and continuing with the field edge on the right. Keep ahead through another field to the far right corner, go through a hedge gap, cross the track and head diagonally left down across the field to a track.

2 (SU775971) – Here there is a choice. For the shorter walk turn left along the track (Collier’s Lane), fork right at the split, soon following the edge of the wood to a junction and turn left uphill rejoining the main route. For the longer walk turn right along the track to the lane and turn left for 120m until level with the barns. Turn half-right up across the field to the top edge. Turn left, go through the top field entrance and through a small gate on the right which is easily missed. Head through the narrow field following the right-hand edge. Leave through a gate, cross the track and through another gate where the path splits. Bear right following the surfaced track past houses and at the end keep ahead past the high fir hedge to enter a field. Follow the left-hand edge downhill admiring the views on the way. Go through a gap at the corner, cross the stile and keep ahead past the house. Cross another stile and turn left down Horseshoe Road. Keep right (straight on) at the first junction and then left at the second junction. Follow Church Lane, soon passing Two Yews Cottage, to reach a gate on the left opposite the entrance track to St Mary’s Church on the right.

3 (SU785979) – Turn left through the gate and head across the field. Pass a gate and keep ahead before turning right along the lane. As the lane curves left and starts to rise, fork right along the track (bridleway). At the end, where it swings right, fork left up the enclosed bridleway, later following the bridleway as it swings right and left. On entering Sunley Wood keep straight on to a T-junction on the far side of Venus Wood. Turn left uphill, keeping the trees on the left. Continue along the track past a house to a road at Sprig’s Alley. Turn right for 250m and then turn left on the track towards Crowell Hill Farm for 20m before forking left down the narrow bridleway for 250m to a junction.

4 (SU760982) – Fork right, continue to the next junction and fork left, following the bridleway up through the trees, then down to a track in the valley. Turn left for 120m, then right (the short walk rejoins here) following a path close to the edge of Lott Wood. Enter a field and follow the left-hand edge, then keep ahead down through the next field. Cross a stile and follow the enclosed path uphill. Cross another stile, turn right and follow the drive as it swings left uphill and then curves right to a junction. Turn right and follow the lane as it swings left, pass the gate used earlier and continue to arrive at the Royal Oak. Turn right along Church Street back to the start.


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