26th May 2013
|MORNING "PLOUGH" GT KIMBLE CYMBELINE ELLESB'GH COOMBE H. HOME THANKS! FEATURES READ ME|
This was one of John C's fine Chiltern Walks, and we had excellent walking weather to match. After sampling the aestheic feast of the bluebell woods we advanced ever onwards over hill and dale to Little Hampden, of English Civil War fame. The "Rising Sun" was no more but we picknicked nearby at about 12:30. Our path led on via Solinger House and more pleasant beechwoods, until we reached the "Plough" for a drink. The "Plough" is the PM's pub when he's at Chequers.
Cymbeline's Castle was next on our plan; from its grassy bald top we could admire a distant view over the Vale of Aylesbury. Closeby was Ellesborough Church, with its interesting monuments from ages past. The PM also comes here. We then climbed up to the Coombe Hill Monument, the highest viewpoint in the Chilterns. There were outstanding views towards the north west and back towards Chequers. It was a memorable day in the great outdoors, right on the edge of Metro Land. Thank you John, for an excellent walk!
This is what you will see here. Enjoy your browse!
We take a quick admiring look at the "delicate" Victorian iron work that graces Great Missenden Station - looks like Metropolitan Railway. Traditional houses, draped with wisteria and fronted by well kept gardens provide an aesthetic start to our walk. Mature oak trees and spring time bluebells mean that we really are in the Chilterns. The threat of the HS-2 at the moment still seems just that, but we see part of the route it will take - through tunnels and over viaducts. We come to Little Hampden of English Civil War fame. The "Rising Sun" pub, a convenient and much appreciated watering hole for walkers, is no more - well it's now a private residence. Apparently, the owners of the original pub were two singular (think about it) gentlemen, whose particular brand of "customer care" was not always appreciated as well as it might have been by the customers themselves. Today, to assuage the pangs of hunger felt by some of our party, we decide to picnic in a nearby field before advancing to "The Plough".
After some more nice landscapes, we reach "The Plough at Cadsden" in the north eastern reaches of Princes Risborough. "The Plough" is apparently the PM's local when at Chequers. The PM is holidaying in Ibiza now, so we won't see him today.
The pub has given us sufficient strength to launch an assault on Cymbeline's Castle. We walk high above the village of Great Kimble and enjoy distant views out to the west. Didcot Power Station, whilst not necessarily basking in romantic glory, nevertheless provides a discernable land mark in the distance. Apparently one can also see the Cotswolds over 50 miles away. A chalky path set amidst a rolling green landscape characterises our way to "the Castle", or what's left of it.
The bald but otherwise green pate of Cymbeline's Castle suddenly rears up in front of us. The mound is the remains of a motte-and-bailey castle, where fragments of pottery from the Iron Age, Roman times and as well as the Middle Ages have been found. A nice place for archeologists. The attribution to Cymbeline may be a Victorian invention - but why not? I mean we can bring Shakespeare into this. Keeps everyone happy.
Ellesborough Church dates from the 14th and 15th Century but was also subject to the treatment meeted by the Victorian restoration zealots. The church is dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, whose statues appear above the porch. The churchwardens offer us some tea and scones, which give us sufficient energy to scale the spiral staircase up the church tower and to enjoy the scenery from there.
We scale Coombe Hill for the final fling of the day. A steep climb, rewarded by more good views are the hallmark of this stage of our walk. Quite a few visitors on top. Must be a car park nearby.
A scenic path takes us gently down to downtown Wendover, with the Wendover Woods making a pleasant late spring backcloth. Wendover is not its bustling self today. It's a Bank Holiday Sunday after all. From the top of the pretty High Street it's not far to the station.
John, Many Thanks again for sharing some of your extensive knowledge of the Chilterns with us. It certainly was an excellent - and interesting - day. I think you ordered the good weather specially for us! Many Thanks indeed.
Here are the path and height plots for those who also like to see the quantitative aspects of existence. These plots do often, as here, reveal some interesting aspects of a walk.
Our path went a little bit "to and fro" in order to take in the various interesting and delightful features of the north west Chilterns. John advertised the length of our walk to be about 11 miles; he plotted the route by hand. My estimate from plotting the route electronically is 10.95 miles or 17.62 kilometers, which splendidly concurs with John's figures!
Our height map suggests that our total height range is about 120 metres. The lowest points are at either end (as normally expected, because that's where railways are often built) and the highest is Coombe Hill Monument. "Coombe" is from a Celtic word meaning hollow, which is indeed suggested by the two "height humps" on Coombe Hill. According to John, Coombe hill is the highest view point in the Chilterns, but the highest physical point is in Wendover Woods and is in fact three feet higher than Coombe Hill - so there! Another quiz question or answer to the same!