The storm had passed and it was quite a nice Autumn day, warm, with the sun peaking through and there not being any wind to speak of. I had been working from home since early in the morning and needed to get out of the house over lunchtime so Debbie and I decided to head over to Stonor for a walk, following a route from the Crimson Short Walks book for the Chilterns.
We parked on the side of the road near to the entrance to Stonor House, then walked along the fenceline with the house to our left until we reached a footpath signposted for Southend and the Chiltern Way, where we went through a gate and walked up a rising grassy path which took us above the house, still on our left. We got a wonderful view of Stonor House in the valley below from up here, and also of the red kites which were now circling below us. There were many red kites here and they were a constant on this walk.
The path went across the hill slope and then started downhill with Kildridge Wood on our right, before it took us into that woodland, passing through a gate and carrying on through the middle of Kildridge Wood and Balham’s Wood, which was filled with all the colours of Autumn, until we reached a fallen tree blocking our way. Unlike First Capital Connect, which ground to a halt from St Albans to St Pancras as a result of the storm damage, causing me to miss the Camel gig at the Barbican on Monday, we managed to continue on our way by climbing over the fallen tree. We found ourselves out of the woodland and turned left on a road which took us towards Southend.
The guidebook told us to then turn right down a concrete track, which we did, but when we then turned left over a stile into a field we came to another track, which led us to believe we may have turned right down the wrong track initially. It did not matter as we carried on into the next field and followed the field edge to the far side of the field before encountering the Angry Cows.
There was a stile to be climbed but the look on the face of the cow standing on the other side was saying none shall pass. I started to climb the stile and the cow took a step forward. It was certainly blocking the path across the field to the wood on the other side. We crossed over the stile into the field and then skirted away from the cow, taking a course around the edge of the field before we could safely cross to the trees on the other side. At which time we encountered offspring of the Angry Cow. They had been at the far end of the field, alongside the woodline, and now they began to walk towards us. It all seemed very pleasant at first, the young calves coming over to see who was in their field, but as they got closer it became very clear that the look in their eyes was saying get orf our land.
We made our exit into Summerheath Wood.
The path through Summerheath Wood was obvious and easy to walk along, and we soon came out at the road. We turned left and followed the road along past two turnings to the left until we reached a junction and saw a sign for the house Saviours. We followed that sign and to the left of the driveway entrance to the house was a gate into a field beside the house. To be honest, the first field could as easily have been part of the garden of the house, and we quickly followed the path across that to get into a second field, where we found a horse and some sheep. We then entered a third field and cut across to a gate which opened on to an enclosed track. We turned right and there were some stunning views out to our right and then suddenly to our left there was a helicopter, making turns and hovering, circling around. It appeared to be military and we suspect it was a training flight, and it made an unexpected show for us up there with the red kites.
The path now descended across fields until it brought us to a track at the bottom and we turned left. We followed this out to the road, passing a digger which was using ballast to try to fill some of the holes in the track, and then turned right on to the road. Stonor Park was now on our left and we finally saw some deer. So they do not call it Deer Park for nothing. At the next junction we turned left and this brought us back to the car after a very enjoyable four miles of walking through the best of an Autumn’s day.
You can see more of my photographs from the walk here.