Pete's Walks - Hambleden, Bovingdon Green, Frieth (page 1 of 3)

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If you are considering walking this route yourself, please see my disclaimer. You may also like to see these notes about the maps.

Google map of the walk

I did this 12.7 mile circular walk on Saturday, 27th February 2010.

Now that I am back at work, I cannot afford to be so choosy about the weather conditions when I walk. The forecast for today was for early rain followed by showers, locally heavy, but this was better than Sunday's forecast which was for heavy rain all day. It was raining at breakfast time, but stopped shortly before I drove off at about 8.30am. It was quite pleasant for most of the hour-long drive, but started raining again shortly before I reached Hambleden. I started walking about 9.40am, setting off from the car park at Hambleden to initially follow the route of the Chiltern Way eastwards to Bovingdon Green. From the back of the car park I turned left across some playing fields, then turned right for a few yards along a track before turning left. I now had quite a steep climb up from the Hambleden valley. Towards the top of the hill I passed through a wood, which at least gave me some shelter from the rain.  My camera was safely tucked away in my rucksack (I was going to use my weatherproof Olympus Mju, but of course when I checked it this morning its battery was flat after not being used in over a year!), but I took it out to take a shot as I followed a farm track from the wood towards the hamlet of Rotten Row. A Buzzard, the first of several I'd see today, flew into a nearby tees as I followed the track through the pouring rain.

The path to Rotten Row

 

The farm track joined a lane that led (left) into Rotten Row. Where the lane turned left a footpath continued ahead across two empty pastures (the second one quite enormous), and turned right for a couple of hundred yards along a lane. I then turned sharply left, on a path descending through the trees of Heath Wood. In the valley bottom I turned sharply right on to a broad track. A few months ago I bumped into a couple of people walking the Chiltern Way who said they'd looked at this web site to see where they'd gone wrong after getting lost on this section - this was the turning that they had missed. The track followed the valley bottom for over half a mile, moving from Heath Wood to the adjacent Highfield Wood, both woods being largely coniferous.

 

Track through Homefield Wood

 

The track ended at another lane, where I went a few yards to my right, and took a path on the other side of the road. This crossed a couple of small empty pastures or paddocks, then turned right and continued eastwards on a path between hedges. I met a walker coming the other way, and we chatted for a few minutes and it turned out that he knew about this site, only the second or third time I've met someone who's visited these web pages (good luck with the Isle Of Wight Coastal Path, Bob!). [Update 2/04/10: Bob  walked the Isle of Wight Coastal Path on March 24th-27th 2010, and kindly sent me a few short notes about it. I'll pass them on to anyone interested in that walk if they email me]. The rain had stopped by now, and there was a large area of blue sky gradually overtaking me. There was another steep climb as I entered Pullingshill Wood, a beech wood so typical of the Chilterns.

 

Looking back to Homefield Wood - blue skies were catching up with me!

 

The path through Pullingshill Wood, near the top of the hill

 

I crossed a lane and entered Davenport Wood, as so often the path being indicated by white arrows painted on the trees. The sun glistening on the twigs and branches of the trees after the rain seemed to have an unusual effect in part of this wood, almost as if they were covered in snow or ice. I carelessly managed to miss the left turn at one point (my memory was playing tricks with me, I didn't expect the path crossroads so soon), and had to backtrack a couple of hundred yards. Shortly after, I left Davenport Wood (the whole section through these woods seemed much shorter than I mis-remembered from my two Chiltern Way walks). The path continued north-eastwards between paddocks, where I had the first of the walk's numerous close-up Red Kite sightings, and soon brought me to the village of Bovingdon Green.

 

Sunlight glistening on wet twigs and branches in Davenport Wood

 

Path through Davenport Wood

 

Path from Davenport Wood to Bovingdon Green

 

Approaching Bovingdon Green

 

There was a brief shower as I reached Bovingdon Green. I turned left along the minor road through the village, leaving the route of the Chiltern Way and entering what was new territory for me. After about a quarter of a mile, I took a footpath on the right, which ran for some distance between tall garden fences and then descended into a valley through which the curiously named Mundaydean Lane runs. Across the lane a clear track ran steadily uphill through a very large pasture, following a hedge on the right. It was a long but fairly easy climb, well worth the little effort involved for the views alone. Looking left, I could see across the valley to a ridge continuing north from Bovingdon Green, while to my right there were occasionally gaps in the hedge where I could look towards Marlow and Berkshire on the far side of the Thames. Several Red Kites flew low overhead, adding to the interest as I plodded slowly towards Copy Farm.

 

The path from Bovingdon Green down to Mundaydean Lane

 

The path uphill on the far side of Mundaydean Lane

 

Looking back across Mundaydean Lane towards Bovingdon Green

 

Looking East, across Marlow and the Thames Valley to near Cookham Dean in Berkshire

 

Looking west, across Mundaydean Lane

 

One of seven or eight Red Kites I saw as I plodded steadily uphill towards Copy Farm

 

Looking back from near Copy Farm, towards Berkshire

Part 2 of this walk

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