After last week's detour via East London we're back in the Chilterns. As last week, the weather is dull as dishwater and it's left to the autumn colours to lift our spirits. As per normal we meet few people, which by and large, is the way we like it! The odd dog walker with an over-excitable puppy, a young couple with rucksacks who look like they mean serious business and 'Tory Boy' landowner!
We join the River at the Woolwich ferry pier and within a few minutes we've reached the Thames Barrier. The great silver domes could be made for a day like today, they blend perfectly with the dull skies and river. From here we head towards Canary Wharf, something which we appeared to be doing for the next 3 hours as it looms menacingly to our right The lazy meanders of the Thames mean we pretty much walk around three sides of Canary Wharf and by the time we leave it behind I'm glad to see the back of it!
We park in Beech Road and head across the fields to Cuddesden. Rain's in the forecast but for now the sun's out and we can see the full length of the Chilterns stretched out from Ivinghoe to Woodcote. I get the feeling a clear evening's view, with the sun in the west, would be spectacular. From Cuddesden we skirt Garsington and Horspath before the steep climb into Shotover Country Park.
This is smugglers' territory and you can see why. Hidden away in the Cuckmere Valley, Alfriston could be miles from anywhere. The sort of place to go if you don't want to be spotted. As we drive through the village at 12 o'clock it's clear the village is no longer a secret. The main street throngs with walkers and cyclists who've arrived in the village from a morning spent on the Downs, just in time for lunch. We'll be back in the village...but much later. Our walk starts at the far side of the village, high up on the Downs overlooking the Cuckmere at High and Over (Hindover).
An early Autumn walk along the Thames near Henley. It's been a while since we last walked and we'd been looking forward to getting out again all week. If the weather let us down the walk itself had plenty to keep us interested. The Thames, river boats and posh houses mean we do little talking.
Not many Bedfordshire walks in our list and this is certainly outside of our normal 'Chilterns' patch. Essentially, this is a 9 mile ramble through the grounds of Woburn Abbey. Plenty of opportunities for pictures of deer, some views of the Bedfordshire countryside and time to chat.
One last walk in the Misbourne Valley, this time starting from Old Amersham. If last week's predominant colours were green and blue, this week yellow and red are starting to appear...a hint that Summer is reaching its height. We park up in Amersham Old Town car park and walk south to Coleshill, crossing the route of HS2 on the gentle climb up to the village. We'll cross its path again later in our walk (as we return to Amersham along the South Bucks Way). Enough has been said here and here about HS2 so I won't reopen that festering wound!