Sunday, 29 July 2007

East Claydon and Claydon House

Claydon House

We were on our way back from a party (well, the morning after) and keen to find a walk in the locality. The walk begins by the church in the pleasant village of East Claydon and goes across fields to its near neighbour Middle Claydon. From there you soon find the long driveway up to Claydon House, and walk through a classic country house park. The path skirts the house and exits the park by another drive, now the entrance for deliveries. A triangular route over fields takes you to the third of the Claydons, Botolph Claydon and you return, mainly along the road, to East Claydon. 5.5 miles in all.

The park is splendid and the views across the fields in the early part of the walk are very pleasant, but the route back is, as so often, a bit dull and the detour over the fields adds little but length to the walk.

Rating: three stars.

From: 50 walks in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire (AA).

Map: Explorer 192 (Buckingham and Milton Keynes).


We were very struck by this vast field of dead rape as we made our way through it. It felt somewhat like walking over a deserted battlefield. What had happened?

We were also amused by this elaborate bus shelter on the outskirts of East Claydon.

Claydon House

Claydon House (National Trust) is an 18th century mansion replacing an earlier Tudor house, although only a third now remains. It belonged to the Verney family until 1956. The interior is famous for a series of state rooms featuring rococo carving by one Luke Lightfoot. Florence Nightingale was a frequent visitor to her sister who was married to Sir Harry Verney.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Chipping Camden and Dover's Hill

The 15th century church

The 17th century market hall

The walk starts in the centre of the town and follows a section of the Cotswold way uphill towards Dover's Hill. This is a long scarp which has a fine view over the Vale of Evesham - with, sadly, signs of flooding in the distance.

The Vale of Evesham from Dover's Hill

From there the walk goes downhill across fields and then swings south for the inevitable long uphill section along the edge of the woods of Weston Park. The return route rejoins the Cotswold way and offers a nice view of Chipping Camden nestling in its valley.

Chipping Camden Church from the Cotswold Way

The final stretch into the town showed disturbing evidence of recent flooding with a pile of ruined carpets and furniture on a grass verge.

Rating: 3 and a half stars.

From: Cotswold Walks (Jarrold Pathfinder Guides number 6).

Map: Explorer OL45 (The Cotswolds).

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Pangbourne College and the River Pang

The river Pang near Pangbourne

This walk, which I did in the early evening, starts from the centre of Pangbourne and initially follows the Thames for about a mile. This is not quite as good as it sounds because the route is along the main road, and the river is not at its most inspiring here. However, the road is lined with a series of magnificent late Victorian and Edwardian mansions - apparently originally known locally as "the seven deadly sins". The route then turns away from the river through woods and fields to pass through the grounds of Pangbourne School and thence to the village of Tidmarsh. It returns to Pangbourne via the water meadows alongside the Pang.

Rating: three and a half stars.

From: Rambling for Pleasure: Around Reading second series by David Bounds for the East Berkshire Ramblers’ Association Group.

Map: Explorer 159 (Reading, Wokingham and Pangbourne).


The latter part of the walk was full of interest. First there were a troop (flight?) of swallows performing aerobatics over a corn field on the edge of Tidmarsh, then some rabbits in a field, including the wonderfully alert one below, and finally some splendid long horn cattle.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Highland Wood and Walk Shaw (Cane End, north of Reading)

A flower meadow along the way

A pleasant 4 mile stroll which starts by the Fox pub at Cane End on the A4074 Reading-Oxford road. The route crosses a long expanse of fields then passes through the delightful Highland Wood (very good for bluebells in spring), crosses the main road again and then passes through a mixture of fields and woods to return to the start.

A nicely varied mix in a short space.

Rating: 3 stars.

From: Rambling for Pleasure: Around Reading second series by David Bounds for the East Berkshire Ramblers’ Association Group.

Map: Explorer 159 (Reading, Wokingham & Pangbourne).