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Jay Walking

South Bucks Way: Chalfont St Peters to Great Missenden

Getting to the start of the walk was a little painful, as there is no train station in Chalfont St Peters and so I had to spend some time waiting for a bus from Gerrards Cross. I used the time to get try and get the OS maps app working correctly, as it frequently stopped working on both my phone and tablet, it’s enough of a problem for me that unless it gets better I will look for another solution. It’s no good having a mapping app that does not work on any device, I could understand if the devices were old or cheap but neither were.

After reaching Chalfont St Peters, I spend some time locating myself on the map, and headed off. Chalfont St Peters was quite busy but I didn’t explore but headed off through some allotments. There were a lot of badly maintained plots but a lot of good ones, one of which had some impressively large sweetcorn plants, some of them reaching over 2 metres high and having large cobs on them. It did not take long before the path was heading through fields though there were buildings still around over to the East. The route was mainly at the bottom of a small valley formed by the River Misbourne, mainly through farmlands, a lot of which were not planted with anything. It was easy to find your way, despite the infrequent way marks, the route basically paralleled a road which was a little distance to the East. The road could not be seen but the cars going along it could be both seen and heard though they weren’t annoying.

Path through an allotment with vegetables and weeds growing either side
Field with an old apple tree orchard

The next town on the route was Chalfont St Giles, and a little south of here there was an old orchard mainly with lots of unmaintained apple trees, a lady waiting at a gate told me here husband was searching for a plum tree. I got a little confused finding the actual route into the town but eventually got on to the right one behind a church and emerged onto the high street. The town looked quite nice, with lots of old timber framed buildings, I didn’t stop except to buy a coffee, before heading onwards, still following the river valley. Leaving the town the route is coincidental with the Chiltern Way a 216 km circular route around the Chilterns, I’d seen other bits of it on the Ickneild Way. The next town was Amersham, which was about 5 km in a Northerly direction, there were a few people about as I left Chalfont St Giles but very few after this and I had the path to myself, until I was caught up by a couple jogging very slowly. They passed me by and headed off to their car and I was on my own again. There was not much to see along this part of the route, mainly passing from one field to another, I considered having a break but checking my map and the time decided to push onto Amersham.

Path going through a woodland forming a tunnel
Uncultivated field below a grey cloudy sky

I duly reached Amersham heading through Old Amersham, which was a nice looking place with lots of well maintain Georgian buildings, a lot of them being lpubs or restaurants. It is an old place mentioned in the Doomsday Book and Oliver Cromwell’s family lived around here during the Civil War. The apparent reason for all the large pubs is that the town was the first stop after London for horse drawn coaches. It has started to drizzle as I walked into the town and I considered going to one of the pubs but as it was only really light drizzle I sat in the town’s well looked after Memorial Gardens and ate a sandwich debating whether to go home, but as the drizzle stopped deciding to continue. The Memorial Gardens are large and well planted with a statue of a soldier, a large model of HMS Dreadnought, with flowers growing out of its gun turrets and a model of a World War 1 bi-plane. I left Amersham heading along Old Amersham high street past more large pubs and expensive looking shops, finally crossing a busy road and heading through the local cricket ground.

Amersham Memorial Gardens with lots of well laid out lawns surrounded by red flowers
Path through the grounds of Shardeloe, set in fields with tree

3 horses wearing masks to keep the flies of their faces
The Norman Church at Little Missenden, showing the old tower with newer additions

After Amersham the route passes through the grounds of Shardeloes, an 18th century country house designed by the wonderfully named Stiff Leadbetter, the grounds of which seem to still function as a farm, there were a number of sheep wondering about and later on quite a few nice looking horses in various paddocks. The day had become hot again, though still overcast, I headed on through the small village of the Little Missenden, mainly walking on road but once outside the village, the route went through some more farmlands. There were still a few kilometres to go to Great Missenden which was my target for the day, I was getting tired but pressed on, through the small village of Little Kingshill, finding my way though another private road with houses remarkably similar to those I had seen the previous week. There were well marked footpaths that took me on to Great Missenden, where I quickly found the train station and sat down for a welcome rest.

Cut wheat field with a path heading into the distance

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