Pete's Walks - Hambleden, Stonor, Henley (page 1 of 5)

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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 walk of about 13.4 miles on Saturday, 6th August, 2011. This was a new route for me, though about a third of it was on familiar paths and another third on paths I'd walked once before. Most of the paths that were new to me were at the start and end of the walk, though there were another couple of short sections in the middle as well.

I started walking from the Hambleden village car park about 9.35 am, following the narrow street into the village centre and then passing the church on my right. Another street continued ahead, soon turning right to pass another side of the church. I ignored the first footpath on the right (which I've always used before, it is part of the Chiltern Way) and instead took the second path on the right, immediately after crossing the dry bed of the Hambleden brook. This crossed a small section of a large empty pasture, to reach the road going north through the Hambleden valley.

A lane in Hambleden

 

This is actually looking north along the course of the Hambleden Brook, which was completely dry - the footpath I took out of the village is to the left

I turned right along the road, following it for a short distance before taking a bridleway on the left, just beyond a solitary house. The bridleway was initially on a hedge-lined track, where I spotted some spikes of Dark Mullein. On reaching a corner of Ridge Wood (I think) the bridleway turned left, but I continued ahead on a footpath just inside the edge of the wood. This rose quite steeply up the side of the valley and I was soon puffing and panting. The slope eased as I left the wood, the path continuing between crops of corn and maize (there were four Lapwings in a bare patch in the corn on my left).

The bridleway leading to the north-eastern corner of Ridge Wood

 

The path up through the edge of Ridge Wood (yet again my camera makes a steep slope look flat!)

 

Looking back over the Hambleden valley (perhaps now you'll believe me rather than my camera as to how steep it was!)

 

Between Ridge Wood and Great Wood

 

The path then entered the extensive Great Wood, soon turning right on a track through the trees. After a while the path forked left from the track - the wood here was definitely mixed, with conifers as well as deciduous trees such as Ash and Silver Birch. I passed through a pleasant open glade, where a lot of Marjoram was growing, and then the path joined another track. I passed some Nettle-leaved Bellflower and some more Dark Mullein in a glade as I followed the track westwards, soon descending into a small valley.

 

Just after the path turned right in Great Wood

 

Just after the path forked left from the track in Great Wood

 

Great Wood

 

Great Wood

 

In the bottom of the wooded valley the path ended by joining a bridleway where I went more or less straight on - I'd been on paths that were new to me since leaving Hambleden, but here I was joining a familiar path, part of Walk 15 of my Chiltern Chain Walk. The bridleway climbed the far side of the valley at an easy angle, soon changing direction from west to north-west. On leaving great wood, it continued between tall hedgerows for about half a mile to reach a lane at Upper Woodend Farm.

 

Start of the uphill bit in Great Wood, just after I joined the bridleway

 

The bridleway coming to the end of Great Wood

 

The bridleway continuing to Upper Woodend Farm

 

The bridleway continuing to Upper Woodend Farm

 

The lane from Upper Woodend Farm

Part 2 of this walk

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