Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Five Chiltern Villages 17th June 2014

On the 17th June 2014 I left home to do a walk called Four Chiltern Villages. I added them up and there is actually Five Old Amersham, Coleshill, Winchmore Hill, Penn Street and Little Missenden.
I took the dog on the train and tube (which he hated and was actually shaking,poor thing) which took almost 2 hours and arrived at Amersham station. I left the station and took the route I had taken on the Amersham to Little Missenden walk previously but only as far as the Church in Old Amersham and then my route differed. Again I used OS Map (Explorer 172).

I walked through Parsonage wood as before but only along a different path this time.

Parsonage Wood
 I followed the path now downhill and emerged from the wood onto a path with a beautiful view down to Old Amersham.
Amersham is a market town within the Chiltern District  in Buckinghamshire, England, 27 miles north west of London, in the Chiltern Hills.
There are two distinct areas: Old Amersham, set in the valley of the River Misbourne, which contains the 13th century parish church of St. Mary's and several old pubs and coaching Inns; and Amersham-on-the-Hill, which grew rapidly around the railway station in the early part of the 20th century.
Television programmes filmed in the town include:
View down to Old Amersham from Parsonage Wood

Old Amersham
My dog Ben can't resist water and was straight in the crystal clear waters of The River Misbourne,took a while to convince him to get out.
River Misbourne
At the bottom of the hill I came out by the cemetery on my left and St Marys Church on my right alongside the bubbling River Misbourne.
St Mary's Old Amersham dates from around 1140 A.D. though the site has been a holy one for much longer, as it stands where Roman Road crosses the little River Misbourne. The missionary monks of St Augustine and indeed earlier evangelist Bishops would baptise their converts at just such a location.

As the town expanded during the middle ages, the church was extended, widened and heightened, much work being done in the C14, when the building came to look much as it does today.

In the early C16, King Henry the 8th sanctioned the persecution of the Lollards, early Protestants, and a number of unrepentant townspeople, now known as the Amersham Martyrs were burned on the hill overlooking the town.

St Marys Church Old Amersham
Now unlike my last walk, I turn left onto the High Street and up a bit is where the official Four Chiltern Village walk begins at a car park. Click on the link to see the page to print if you fancy doing this very same walk.
I cross the road  just before the roundabout and walk up Gore Hill a steepish hill alongside a busy road (A355).Gore Hill and was reputedly the site of a bloody battle between the Saxons and the invading Danes in the ninth century.
Further up the hill I turn right along a tarmac path and cross the A404 by a footbridge. Then along the path a little further I turn right onto a footpath behind some houses and out into fields of barley.

Path near Gore Hill


Water Tower nr Rushymead
 The Water Tower is a water tower located in Coleshill, Buckinghamshire. It was built by German prisoners of war during the First World War to provide a gravity fed water system for the nearby town of Amersham. The tower is 30 metres (100ft) high with an internal diameter of 5.4 metres (18ft). Its location on the summit of a hill makes the tower something of a local landmark and it is easily visible from the M40 motorway. Central London, Canary Wharf and Guilford Cathedral can be seen from the top of the tower on a clear day. In the early 1990s the tower was turned into a residential dwelling. In 1999 it featured on the Channel 4 programme Grand Designs

After following the path a way and at times it was hard to, this isn't a well trod path and it isn't always clear as where the path goes I get my view of Coleshill.
The village name is Anglo Saxon in origin, and means 'Coll's hill', though it has only been known by this name since the early 16th century. Previously it was known as 'Stoke'. The change of name occurred at about the same time as the village was transferred from Hertfordshire to Buckinghamshire by the Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844. Coleshill sits at 550ft above sea level.

Looking down to Coleshill
I crossed two stiles and came down to the road by Cherry Tree Farm and turned right to follow the road into the village.

Cherry Tree Farm Coleshill
The road was filled with gorgeous Georgian houses and other expensive dwellings.
Lovely Georgian House in Coleshill

All Saints Church, Coleshill
All Saints Church was built of flint and stone in 1861 by G E Street.
All Saints Church, Coleshill
I arrive at me first pub The Red Lion in Coleshill.
The Red Lion, Coleshill

The Red Lion,Coleshill
Had a half pint of Doom Bar.
Taste Notes Stuart Howe Head Brewer
“The aroma of Doom Bar combines an accomplished balance of spicy resinous hop, inviting sweet malt and delicate roasted notes. The mouth feel is a perfectly balanced and complex blend of succulent dried fruit, lightly roasted malty notes and a subtle yet assertive bitterness. The bitterness remains into the finish with dry fruity notes which implore the drinker to go back for more.”

Village Green,Coleshill

All Saints Church, Coleshill
I walk back alongside the church and at the bottom I cross and turn right towards Lands Farm. I pass through a wooden gate. Now the notes say follow the path over some stiles, but the path is overgrown and very muddy so I walk along the farm field next to it and cut back onto the path further down.
I make my way into West Wood and then emerge into a field and get my first of Winchmore Hill.

Looking down to Winchmore Hill
 It has a triangular green in the centre (on which a fĂȘte is held regularly). The houses around the green mainly date from the 20th century.
The village at one time had four pubs. The Queen's Head, The Nelson, The Plough and The Potters Arms. Currently The Plough and The Potters are trading.
The Winchmore Hill Village Show is held annually in early September. It consists of the Produce Show - where villagers enter their own fruit, vegetables, preserves and even homemade bread to be judged - as well as countless traditional village stalls and competitions, all centered around a marquee erected on the common. Tug-of-War, Welly Throwing, 5-a-side football and a Dog Show are just some of the events that take place on the day.
I come to the end of the path, the notes say turn right but sod that I turn left to head for the pub.
The Plough,Winchmore Hill

I pass The Plough and head for The Potters Arms.
The Potters Arms,Winchmore Hill

The Potters Arms,Winchmore Hill
I bought myself a half pint of Banks "Lion Roar".

Lions Roar

Banks's Brewery (Marston's plc)
Type Classic Bitters / Pale Ales
ABV 3.8%
Malty, hoppy flavours with cream and toffee biscuit notes and a refreshing clean, bitter finish.
The Potters Arms,Winchmore Hill
The Potter Arms Pub name recalls centuries of pottery making in the area.I
The Potters Arms,Winchmore Hill
I left the pub and headed back the way I came passed the footpath and now back on route.
Winchmore Hill
I lost count of the amount of Red Kites I saw today but at Winchmore Hill they were soaring above my head. I never tire of seeing these magnificent birds and their amazing cry.
Red Kite at Winchmore Hill

Red Kite at Winchmore Hill
At the end of the road I turn left and follow the road for about 200 yards before crossing into a footpath on my right.Across the field through two kissing gates and a stile into Priestlands Wood and out again into another field past a lone telegraph pole and across a stile.

I follow the path to the end again the path says turn right but I turn right and walk past a War Memorial on a green and up to The Squirrels Pub. I am now in Penn Street.
War Memorial,Penn Street
The parish name is originally Brythonic and means simply hill: Penn village stands on a particular promontory of the Chiltern Hills, and from the tower of the Holy Trinity Church in the village it is supposedly possible to see into not less than eight other counties. There is also a beacon hill with a signal post on it in the village boundary.
Segraves Manor, the principal manor in Penn, historically belonged to the Penn family. Sybil Penn, wife of David, was dry nurse and foster mother to King Edward VI and Lady of the Bed Chamber to his sister Queen Elizabeth I. William Penn (after whose father, Admiral Sir William Penn, Pennsylvania is named) erroneously believed himself to be a descendant of this family. However in 1735 the manor passed from the unmarried Roger Penn to his only heir and sister, who was married to Lord Curzon. Penbury Grove House was built in 1902 by the American engineer Horace Field Parshall to be a replica of Pennsbury Manor, William Penn’s house in Pennsylvania.
Penn Street
The Cottage Bookshop in Penn has been used as one of the filming locations for the A Tale of Two Hamlets episode of the ITV television program Midsomer Murders. It was also used to film an episode called "Bookshop Chuckles" of the children's television show ChuckleVision. The tree acre set for Nanny McPhee was also constructed there.
The Squirrel PH, Penn Street
I walk further along the road and then cross and walk past The Vicarage of Holy Trinity Church.
The Vicarage of The Holy Trinity Church,Penn Street
Then before just in Penn Woods is Holy Trinity Church itself.
The church was built 1849. The architect being Benjamin Ferrey.
Patron is The Earl Howe whose ancestors have lived on the Penn Estate for generations and has close ties with the church.
The Holy Trinity Church,Penn Street

Gargoyles on The Holy Trinity Church,Penn Street
I now enter Penn Woods the largest beechwood in The Chilterns. I follow a path but end up further up walking further into the woods to escape the very muddy path.
Penn Woods

Penn Woods

Penn Woods
At times I was fighting my way through the overgrowth, but eventually emerged onto the busy A404 road. I crossed immediately opposite onto Sheepcote Dell Road. I walk along a path on my right a little way up towards Bemond End. Through a field of cows but then I spotted a lone bull sitting watching me and the dog. I cautiously walked through keeping one eye on where I was heading and one on the bull. I walked through a gate and turn left onto Tobys Lane ( another pathway).
Bull nr Beamond End

Beamond End
I follow this for quite a while before looking down onto Little Missenden.
"Missenden" is derived from the Old English for "valley where marsh plants grow". In the Domesday Book of 1086 the two villages are recorded as Missedene and Little Missenden is clearly identifiable by two hides owned between three landlords. One of these hides belonging to the Count of Mortain (around Town Farm) expanded after Domesday to become the manor of Holmer whence the village of Holmer Green was born.
Looking down to Little Missenden from Toby's Lane

Looking down to Little Missenden from Toby's Lane

Looking down to Little Missenden from Toby's Lane
The main London-Aylesbury road used to run through the centre of Little Missenden and past the two pubs – The Red Lion and The Crown. In the early 19th century, a new by-pass road was built to the north and this now forms part of the modern A413 road.
 The village has been used in many films and television programmes over the years, particularly as one of the more frequent ITV Midsomer Murders filming locations. "Missenden Murders" was considered as a possible title for the series. The Red Lion pub has appeared in three episodes. Despite being a small village, in recent times it has also hosted acclaimed comedy and arts festivals.

I walk down to the road and turn right and into the village.
Little Missenden

Little Missenden

Little Missenden
Further up the road I came to the Saxon parish church of St John the Baptist was built next to the River Misbourne. The church was extended in several stages for at least 1000 years, the oldest part being built in circa 975 AD. The chancel dates to the 13th century, the North chapel was added in the 14th century, and the porch the following century. The exterior of the south aisle was rebuilt in brick in the 18th century. Some wall paintings survive inside the church, which were uncovered in 1931. The best preserved of these is a 13th-century depiction of St Christopher with a young Jesus.
St John The Baptist Church, Little Missenden

Little Missenden

Little Missenden
I walk up the road to The Red Lion in Little Missenden.
The Red Lion, Little Missenden
The Red Lion has seen many changes since 1649. The Great Fire Of London, The English Civil War and The Glorious Revolution may have been and gone, but "The Red" has remained much the same with traditional value. The Red Lion has seen many monarchs - from George II to Elizabeth II - and recently welcomed HRH Prince Harry when he dropped in with some friends for some simple fare - ham, egg and chips to be precise!
The Red Lion, Little Missenden
I tied Ben up to a post by the lake in the pub garden and went to buy a drink.
Rainbow Trout in the pond at The Red Lion
The lake was full of Rainbow and Brown trout.
The Red Lion, Little Missenden
Once inside I had a choice of ales but went for a half pint of A Side Pocket For A Toad.
Unmistakable citrus notes from only the best Cascade hops balanced with a floral aroma and crisp dry finish make this straw coloured ale a fantastic session beer.
Missenden House, Little Missenden

The Crown Inn, Little Missenden
I walk back along the road pass The Crown Inn and right onto The South Bucks Way Path.
The River Misbourne
Ben again saw the River,looked at me as if to ask. With permission he jumped and was bounding about and swimming. At least he got to cool down it was sweltering hot now.
The River Misbourne

The River Misbourne

The River Misbourne

The River Misbourne

The River Misbourne

I followed the path pass Shardoloes Manor.
Shardoloes is a large 18th century country house. A previous manor house on the site was demolished and the present building constructed between 1758 and 1766 for William Drake, Sr, the Member of Parliament for Amersham.Built in the Palladian style, of stuccoed brick, the mansion is nine bays long by seven bays deep.
Shardoloes manor, Old Amersham
I exit the path onto Amersham Hills Cricket Club and out onto a lane and straight across into a wooded area that leads me under the A413 alongside The Misbourne and out the other side leading into Old Amersham once again.
Old Amersham

Old Amersham

The Eagle PH, Old Amersham

Alms Houses, Old Amersham

Alms Houses, Old Amersham

Kings Arms Hotel, Old Amersham
I walk along the High Street pass many pubs and up to Market Hall. Market Hall is a two-storied building of brick with stone dressings, the upper story of red and blue bricks being supported on semi-circular arches and surmounted by an octagonal wooden bell-turret and clock.
Market Hall, Old Amersham
Now back to St Marys where we started and back up the steep hill in the heat to Parsonage Woods. Always the hardest part of the day walking back up the hill in this heat.
St Marys Church, Old Amersham

View up to Parsonage Wood from Old Amersham
I walk back through the woods and back to Amersham Station for the return journey. A fabulous 11 mile walk through some lovely Chiltern Countryside and villages and not to forget some lovely ales too!


  1. Hi Chris, I'm the curate at St. Mary's Amersham with All Saints' Coleshill. It was lovely sharing your perspective of your walk around the parish! I'm putting together a postcard to publicise the forthcoming Coleshill village day, and I would really like to use one of your gorgeous photos of All Saints' as the background. Could you drop me a line so we could discuss the possibility? I'm on

    1. Hi, thanks for your kind comments. Please feel free to use any picture you wish. Maybe you could post a picture here of your finished article. thanks again.