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Walk - the villages of the Thames Valley

PUBLISHED: 11:49 05 December 2014 | UPDATED: 14:56 23 March 2015

Church of St Nicholas at Nether Winchendon

Church of St Nicholas at Nether Winchendon

Archant

Follow Steve Davison as he takes a walk through three picturesque villages just to the west of Aylesbury

The thatch-roofed Bell pub at ChearsleyThe thatch-roofed Bell pub at Chearsley

From the village green in Chearsley, overlooked by the village shop and thatch-roofed Bell pub, the walk heads down past the Parish Church of St Nicholas to cross the River Thame. The church dates from the 11th century, with later additions and alterations, whilst the 40-mile long River Thame rises in the Vale of Aylesbury to the north-east of Aylesbury and flows south-westwards to join the River Thames near Dorchester. The walk is now following part of the 12-mile circular Wychert Way that meanders past several Buckinghamshire villages that have buildings made from ‘wychert’, a mix of clay and straw.

The walk continues through fields to arrive at Cuddington, another picturesque village with a shop and thatch-roofed pub; The Crown. A sign on the village green proudly proclaims that the village has won the accolade of Buckinghamshire’s Best Kept Village on numerous occasions, and avid follows of ITV’s Midsomer Murders may recognise parts of the village which has starred in several episodes of the TV series.

The walk heads through the village passing the Church of St Nicholas which dates from the 12th century although it was much restored by the Victorians and then the 16th century Tyringham Hall, home to the College of Animal Physiotherapy, before following Tibbys Lane down past the picture-postcard thatch-roofed Tibbys Cottage.

After re-crossing the River Thame we arrive at Nether or Lower Winchendon, the walk now joins part of the Thames Valley Walk and Bernwood Jubilee Way back to Chearsley. The 15-mile long Thame Valley Way follows the River Thame between Aylesbury and Albury, while the 61-mile long Bernwood Jubilee Way meanders through the countryside that once formed the Royal hunting forest of Bernwood.

The walk crosses the River Thame between Points 2 and 3The walk crosses the River Thame between Points 2 and 3

On the way we pass the gated entrance to Nether Winchendon House, spot the dancing bears atop the gate posts (for opening times visit: www.netherwinchendonhouse.com). The manor house dates back to Tudor times (15th century), though its present Strawberry Hill Gothic style was added in the late 18th century. Stop-off at the Church of St Nicholas which dates from the 13th century, to admire the 18th-century box pews overlooked by a galley and Royal Coat of Arms before continuing back to Chearsley.

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Walk summary

• Start/finish: The Green at Chearsley, limited on street parking; grid ref SP717105

• Map: OS Explorer 181 and 180 (just)

• Distance:4.5 miles (7km)

• Terrain: gates and stiles, fairly level, paths, tracks and lanes

• Time: 2 hours (excluding stops)

• Refreshments: Chearsley – The Bell (01844 208077) and shop; Cuddington – The Crown (01844 292222) and shop

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1 (SP717105)– Stand beside The Green in Chearsley, facing The Bell pub, and turn right along Church Lane, which soon swings left down to the church. Keep ahead, and where the surfaced lane turns sharp left, go straight on along the grassy strip (bungalow on left). Go through a kissing gate on the right and bear left through the field. Go through gates either side of a footbridge over the River Thame. Bear diagonally left (north-east) through the long field and then continue along the field margin on the right. Keep ahead through the next field and once in the third field take the right-hand fork diagonally across the field aiming towards a barn. Go through a kissing gate and continue up the track to a road. Bear right to a crossroads in the centre of Cuddington with The Crown ahead.

2 (SP738110)– Turn left, soon passing the village shop and then the Bernard Hall, and follow the road as it curves right round the church. Immediately after passing Tyringham Hall turn left down Tibbys Lane; signposted ‘footpath to Lower Winchendon 1’. Continue down the tarmac path passing round Tibbys Cottage to a path junction. Fork left across the footbridge and once in the field, where the path splits again, take the right-hand path down alongside the field argin. Cross a stile and continue along the enclosed path. Cross two stiles a metre apart and continue through the field following the right-hand margin. At the far right corner go through small gates either side of a footbridge over the River Thame.

3 (SP737121)– Keep ahead following the right-hand field boundary (raised section). Cross a stile beside the gate and continue to a track with a cottage on the right. Turn left along the track; the walk now follows the Thame Valley Walk and Bernwood Jubilee Way back towards Chearsley. The track soon follows a high brick wall on the left and then passes the entrance to Nether Winchendon House. Keep to the lane as it swings right to a three-way junction with the church ahead. Turn left along the lane and just before The Old Parsonage (right), fork left at the footpath sign to enter a field. Follow the left-hand margin along two sides of the field and where this falls away to the left go straight on across the field to the far side. Cross the stile and turn left along the lane to a T-junction,

4 (SP727113)– Turn right for 40m and then turn left across the road. Cross a stile in the hedge and bear diagonally right through the large field to reach a stile some 150m to the right of the southern field corner. Cross over and continue through the next field following the left-hand hedge. Cross another stile at the corner and keep ahead through two fields separated by a small gate to reach a kissing gate in the far left corner. Do not go through the gate but turn right, soon passing a house and continue along the gravel drive. Bear left along the lane for 10m to a junction and bear right up the narrow lane. Keep right at two junctions to arrive back at The Green.

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