Wendover – Watford Walk

With trees so bare, so bare!
But O so beautiful, so beautiful!
The grey and blue sky
© 1972, Fleetwood Mac, Album – Bare Trees

These words were to ring true for all of my walk, grey skies and very cold weather all day, but very beautiful scenery to be enjoyed throughout… A wander around Wendover small market with a few stalls to look round for a few moments in time before setting out on my walk for the day. Starting off with South Street, which was rather quaint as tudor style buildings were mainly scattered along the road. Turning into “Chapel Lane”, I fully expected to find a church en-route. However as the lane became a footpath, it seemed to follw a number of houses rather than leading me to a chapel. Passing by Wendover Community Orchard, the path was soon to cross over ridgeway national trail. Nevertheless this was a trail for another time, so I continued onwards.

From 2016 – 17.04.2016 – Wendover – Watford Walk

The footpath joined with a small roadway, which I now found myself walking alongside. On reaching the next junction, I started to head down a lane, was beautifully surrounded by fields. Some sections were quite narrow, proving difficult to walk along, particularly when a car tried to pass by! Along the way, I spotted a sign for “Hale Valley Vineyard”. A very odd place grow a vineyard, I would have normally expected one in warmer climes! The vineyard has about 500 vines and produces dry white wines, although there has been some production of sparkling white wines in days gone past. Apparently you are able to book a tour around and view the vines, I wonder if you can manage to have some tasters too?! Marching onwards along the lane, I was soon to pass by “Wendover Woods”. With grey skies and the dark shadows cast by the trees above, it really did look a bit dark and foreboding. I think it will be worth investigating further.

From 2016 – 17.04.2016 – Wendover – Watford Walk

Beyond the woods, the landscaped opened up either side of the road with rolling hills and lovely views across the vale. Eventually the lane started taking past a very small number of houses, I was very surprised to find a large mansion just around the corner. The notable Henry Colet twice Mayor of London in C15th and formally knighted, was born here although it was in an earlier version of the building that stands now. I merrily continued on my way, going past the Ridgeway once more, the grey clouds seemed huddle together and then the rain started to tumble from the skies. For quite sometime I was a quite bemused by the rain as it seem to turn white, at first I confused this with spring blossom falling from surrounding trees. However, the further I walked the trees lining the road disappeared and the white specs coming down from the sky got larger and came down faster! It was then I realised that it was snowing and I was not the only one to battle the weather as I saw a number of cyclists fighting it too as they were on the Chiltern Cycleway which my route now partially followed! Therefore I did not hesitate along this stretch as the snow was extremely cold and the faster I walked the warmer I was! With speed in mind, I found a small chapel belonging to the village of St Leonards.

From 2016 – 17.04.2016 – Wendover – Watford Walk

A church has stood in this very area since C11th when the local Manor was granted to Henry de Crokesley and lands were set aside for a Chapel at ease. During the C17th the Church fell into disrepair, particularly noted after the English Civil War when only the timber construction remained. Restoration and rebuilding of the Church was undertaken at the end of the C17th and is the one that stands today. Heading away from St Leonards, I found myself walking along some very narrow lanes. With overhanging trees, high hedges lining the roadside and a number of turns, quiet but difficult to negotiate in place. The lanes soon brought me out into the small hamlet of “Braziers End”, although it was not much to look at except houses, it really was a great name for the area! The term “Braziers End” is said to be derived from when groups of travellers used to gather together in the area and light Braziers whilst celebrating weddings.

From 2016 – 17.04.2016 – Wendover – Watford Walk

Leaving Braziers End behind, I continued onwards and through the village of Bellingdon. “Bellingdenu” is the Anglo Saxon that the current village name is derived from, meaning “Bellas Valley”. I now have visions of an Anglo Saxon lady ruling and owning the entire valley I had been walking. Walking through the village I spotted a small Corrugated Iron Church, I had seen one previously, in comparison it was well used to the other one, which was unused and unloved. Eventually I started my descent downhill and found I was now approaching “Chesham” Unintentionally I found myself walking further into this town than I originally planned as I misread my route map! However, I did not explore as much as wanted to, so I will be back to find out more about this town! Picking up my route again, I spotted a little plaque showing how a small piece of land had been given to the town of Chesham in the Festival of Britain in 1951! Walking up all I continued onwards through the small areas of Lye Green and Orchard Leigh.

From 2016 – 17.04.2016 – Wendover – Watford Walk

It was not too difficult to navigate on this occasion as there was a footpath alongside the road. I eventually turned into “Jasons Hill”, interesting not only did Bella own a valley, but a chap named Jason had his own hill! Reaching the bottom of the hill, I found I was on the outskirts of the village of Botley. Just outside the village was Ley Hill common, to my nice surprise, I found yet another beacon and this one was being made ready to be lit. The beacon was to be lit by the Scouts in honour the Queen Elizabeth II 90th Birthday 🙂 . The common itself is over 32ha in size and is a “country wildlife site” and very well used. Ley Hulle was first recorded in the C15th but not a grassland to be enjoyed by all, since the name meant “unploughed field”. It was used by settlers to extract chalk and clay to create Pottery, tile and for making bricks. I continued on uphill, walking past Ley hill Golf Club, and onto Shantock lane. Unsurpisingly, like the other lanes I had encountered in my walk, it was narrow and high hedges line the roadside. Nevertheless, I was still able to find my way through onwards through, and eventually reached “Hogpits Bottom”, I am not sure where this name came from, but sounded like something from Harry Potter!

From 2016 – 17.04.2016 – Wendover – Watford Walk

On my way through I found the C18th “Bricklayers Arms” public house. Looking very inviting, I did not quite manage to partake in a tipple, but I could see it was very busy and very much enjoyed. Although the series of Midsomer Murders was not actually filmed here, it is worth knowing that the original cast stopped for a pint a while back! The next stretch of my walk was to take me past the village of Belsize and take me down a number of lanes, both Plough Lane and eventually becoming Bottom Lane. I am still not quite sure what it was bottom of though! I eventually found myself in Chandlers Cross, which looked familiar to me as I had walked in this area before. As this was familiar territory, I found that rather hurried this section of my walk. However, on this occasion I decided walk past Whippendell Woods and onwards.

From 2016 – 17.04.2016 – Wendover – Watford Walk

As I did I found myself negotiating yet more traffic along a very narrow lane, Grove Mill lane to be precise. On the other side of each fence was a Golf course which belonged to “The Grove” Spa & Hotel, still looking as lovely as I had previously seen it. I was pleasantly surprised as a I turned a sharp corner to find Grove Mill, although it looked like residential property now, it still had all the original features of a mill. Going across the humpbacked bridge, I soon found that I had to cross the Grand Union Canal. I had finally reached Watford my destination, so it was here that I finished my walk for the day.

All My photos for the day

2016 – 17.04.2016 – Wendover – Watford Walk

My Route

<

One response to “Wendover – Watford Walk

  1. Pingback: Denham – Great Missenden Walk | Karen's Sponsored Walks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s