Aylesbury – Stoke Mandeville Walk

Warm, blue skies and hardly any breeze to spoil the afternoon, we seized the opportunity to enjoy British weather at its best with a walk πŸ™‚ . We had decided to continue our walk from last year alongside the Grand Union Canal and discover what else that it may have in store… Starting out by the “Hills & Partridges” Lock we found ourselves meandering down the canal along the towpath enjoying the sunshine. The lock name amused me, conjuring up images of large rolling fields and hills, or even a country tavern. Sadly neither exist nearby, just a weeping willow majestically hanging over the canal, and a few trees, all hiding the urban life of Aylesbury behind it.

From 2015 – 06.09.2015 – Aylesbury – Stoke Mandeville Walk

Continuing further along the canal path, we soon reached the next lock, where the rural canalside ran parallel a harsh cold metal fence. Although we were still walking away from town, the canal still flowed alongside Aylesbury housing estates and underneath large roads, it never seemed to reach the countryside! Eventually we spotted from across the way “Circus Field Basin”, the basin simply had a large number of Canal Narrow Boats moored up. Although I was expecting a large amount of clowns and acrobats to be amongst them and possibly a big top behind them LOL. In fact this was a purpose built basin and was built in 2014 and the bicentenary (200 years) of the Aylesbury Canal Arm was held here in September 2015!! (not too long after I had walked past it!)

From 2015 – 06.09.2015 – Aylesbury – Stoke Mandeville Walk

As we continued along the canal the scenery began to change around us, houses began to disappear and large farmers field now surrounded the canal. Gone were the heftier concrete roadbridges, replaced by much smaller brick built bridges. From what some of them looked like they seemed to have been constructed when the original canal was created in the early C19th! We eventually reached the next lock known as “Broughton”. It was from here-onwards we really did fell like we had reached the countryside. Curiosity really did take over when we approached another bridge, as we decided to climb to the top of the bridge to find out where the path may lead us. We were soon to find out the bridge it was full of brambles and grasses, truly abandoned. Were all the other bridges on this stretch like this? Bridges to nowhere? Not used by the farmer? It felt so odd to have a bridge it was not even used!

From 2015 – 06.09.2015 – Aylesbury – Stoke Mandeville Walk

Noting that the bridge would not be able to lead us to anywhere we decided to walk onwards to seek another route away from the canal. We continued on the towpath until we reached the “Redhouse” lock. The lock was well maintained and looked very well preened. One of the local houses were probably home to the lock-keeper and now only a hint of the bygone era of the canal waterways. Now the Canal Trust and volunteers probably maintain the lock instead. We decided here to part our ways from the canal, to see if we could find any paths to take us through those lovely fields. However, to our surprise the path was so well looked after it was tarmacked! We were not walking through any farmers land! It certainly not long before I realised why, when we reached the end of the path we found ourselves near the entrance to a factory!!

From 2015 – 06.09.2015 – Aylesbury – Stoke Mandeville Walk

We hastily had to find a way to walk very quickly, it was not very easy, since most of the routes were along roads at this point. The footpaths we did find did not seem to take us very far as they ran parallel with the very large A41! Even when we did cross the A41, to find yet another public path, our venture did not last long as our route was blocked off by a group of cows!! Although we regretted our actions of leaving the canal to discover other walks, we remained undeterred and we soon found a route which was to take us past fields into the small village of Aston Clinton. We did come across some tiny thatched cottages in the village, very reminiscent of Quainton.

From 2015 – 06.09.2015 – Aylesbury – Stoke Mandeville Walk

The village did not take too long to walk through, but nevertheless I have discovered that it is quite steeped in history. As small as it is now, Aston Clinton, is mentioned in the Domesday book, but with the name “Enstone”. The name “Aston Clinton” derives from the De Clinton family who owned the local Manor house in C13th, no longer stands today. However, by C19th Lord Rothschild, who owned local estates, decided to build “Aston Clinton Park” on the same site as the original manor house. Unfortunately, fortune changed and in the early 1920s the Rothschilds decided to sell of the property for a local private school. It was here that the author Evelyn Waugh who was responsible for writing books such as Brideshead Revisited and Men at Arms. From what I can read he was a very good teacher at the school and enjoyed a drop at the local tavern in Aston Clinton as well πŸ™‚

From 2015 – 06.09.2015 – Aylesbury – Stoke Mandeville Walk

Moving on from Aston Clinton we walked past some beautiful countryside, and on past some dark woodland. The woodland was particularly spooky as it was Ministry of Defence land, therefore I dare not taken any photos just in case I was being watched! We soon found ourselves in Weston Turville, which did not seem any larger than Aston Clinton. However as we did walk through this little village, I did stop to admire the Gold Post Box. The box is Dedicated to Pamela Relph, who grew up in the village, she was the Rowing Gold Medallist in the Mixed Coxed Four in the Paralypmics in London 2012 Paralympics. Just past the post box, I noticed a sign for Weston Turville’s main Street, however it was not Main and not very accessible, as it was a private road and full of cottages – “The Old Thatched Cottage”, “Chantry Cottage”, “Candlewick Cottage” – how enchanting! I would loved to have taken a peek down this road, particularly as some of the buildings are protected πŸ™‚

From 2015 – 06.09.2015 – Aylesbury – Stoke Mandeville Walk

From here we followed the road on through Weston Turville and onwards towards Stoke Mandeville. It was not long before we reached Stoke Mandeville station, two curious concrete statues caught my eye, a very large lion and what a gardener. These sculptures were originally fashioned for the Royal Chelsea Flower Show in 1986 and eventually they made there way to Stoke Mandeville to be permanently sited here. Unsurprisingly the reason the station was chosen was the sculptor, Paul Temple, based the gardener on the railman who used to look after Stoke Mandeville Station for year. What a lovely thought this unsung hero was captured by this artist! It was here we decided to finish our walk for the day πŸ™‚

Please click on the photo below to browse through all the photos taken on our walk –

2015 – 06.09.2015 – Aylesbury – Stoke Mandeville Walk

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3 responses to “Aylesbury – Stoke Mandeville Walk

  1. Pingback: Stoke Mandeville – Wendover Walk | Karen's Sponsored Walks

  2. Pingback: Aylesbury – Haddenham | Karen's Sponsored Walks

  3. Pingback: Broughton – Ascott Walk | Karen's Sponsored Walks

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