It was a lovely sunny day so we decided to head over to Mapledurham, near Reading, to do a 4.5 mile walk from the Crimson Short Walks guide to the Chilterns. The drive there and back was longer than the walk itself, but it was still worth it, although it should be noted that the village of Mapledurham, which is where the walk starts is some way from the first Mapledurham sign we encountered – it does appear to be a massive village.
We started our walk from the car park which is next to the church, and turned right, away from Mapledurham Mill, to walk up through the village, passing almshouses with distinctive chimney-pots.
It seems that every house in the village is named after the role it used to carry out, so amongst others we passed The Forge before turning right on to a bridleway signposted to Gravel Hill, which goes forward as a surfaced track, to the side of Mapledurham House.
As we walked along this track we noticed red kites hovering overhead, and before long it became clear just how many red kites there were out there, and later talking with one of the residents it seems questions are now being raised as to whether there might be too many. We carried on past Park Farm and the cows until we reached a junction near a cottage and turned left. The track we had been walking along had been busy with cars, and they did not let up along this next stretch, probably because it led to the paintball activity at the top of Chazey Wood, which is where we were heading, although not for the paintball !
We turned right, following the track, and it took us to the mound of Chazey Wood and we carried on climbing.
The track follows the edge of the wood before cutting through its outer edge to emerge beside a golf course. While Debbie enjoyed the fact we were walking along a smooth track, we both thought it meant the walk was somewhat the same over long stretches, and especially as mostly the track was enclosed on both sides, so there were not many views to take in. So we were perhaps over-excited to encounter a frog as we walked along.
We reached a junction near a white, thatched cottage with three chimneys and turned right onto another track, still walking with the golf course either side of us. Some modern housing soon came into view and we followed a footpath sign to the right, which brought us on to another enclosed track, with the golf course on our right and an open expanse on the left giving a view out over Reading. The path curved left and went down a holloway under a delightful arch of trees,
at the end of which we turned right on to a broad track and eventually came out at the cottage and the red kites. We followed out outward route to get back to the village, before taking a quick look inside the church
and around the watermill on the edge of the River Thames.
We drove back through Henley and Marlow, and we would be back in Marlow on Wednesday, which will be a different blog entirely. For now, we had very much enjoyed our walk in the lovely sunny afternoon.
You can see more photos from the walk here.