Tuesday, 2 November 2010
Hedgerley and Burnham Beeches
As I was driving to do some work yesterday I was struck by the intensity of the autumn leaves, and resolved to get out today to see them up close. This walk begins just off the busy A355, north of Farnham Common and the main part of Burnham Beeches.
You head east along the drive to Pennlands Farm. After the farm, the track winds through a pleasant valley. Above the ridge to the left I saw no less than ten kites circling around a broad area of sky. At one point five were circling at different heights above a single point on the ground; it was like a stack of planes waiting for a landing slot. The track becomes a lane and leads to Hedgerley.
Arriving at Hedgerley, I decided to make a brief detour to see the village. A sign revealed that it has won the Bucks Best Kept Village competition no less than 10 times since 1984. I first passed a fine three storey Georgian building, Court Farm, and then a lovely group of terraced cottages, the Dean Cottages.
A bit further on, on the other side of the road, is the very pretty former school of 1869. The stone over the middle set of windows contains the message "Feed my lambs" - how sweet.
And off to the right lies the parish church of St Mary the Virgin, by Benjamin Ferrey (1852). A little further on, along the main road, is the pub, as tradition dictates.
I now retraced my steps and walked up the road, turned right through some houses to enter Kiln Wood. This is followed by a further section of road, before you turn left into a delightful out-lying section of Egypt Woods.
You now cross Egypt Lane to enter Burnham Beeches. This is a very lovely road.
Now you are in the Egypt Woods section of Burnham Beeches and there are scattered fine views of clumps of beech trees in their autumnal glory.
The route bears left through the wood to the top corner where you turn sharply right to return to the start of the walk. On reaching my car, I resolved to drive home via Egypt Lane. The views along the edge of the woods are every bit as good as those inside it!
From: Pathfinder Guide No 25 Chilterns and Thames Valley (Jarrold).
Map: Explorer 172 (Chiltern Hills East).
Conditions: cloudy, threat of rain, mild.
Distance: 4 miles, with the detour.
Rating: three stars. Too much road. Those in search of autumn colour would do better to head straight to Burnham Beeches.