Last time we were in the Hambleden valley it was the week before the Henley Regatta. Almost exactly 7 months later we’re back with a shorter walk planned. I could live round here…by which I mean I’d like to live round here, of course! There are internet reports of when the Hambleden estate was last sold (2007) to one of Prince Charles’ polo-playing buddies. A snip at £38M…especially when you consider £38M rarely buys a decent premiership striker nowadays! In reality, living anywhere round here is out of our league. The estate web page is currently advertising The Old Keeper’s Cottage for £3250/month. Still, walking and enjoying the scenery is free.
The forecast was for cold, clear skies. Instead the skies are heavy and foreboding, nothing unusual for a mid-January walk I suppose. This was one of those walks where we spent our time saying ‘This would be beautiful in summer!’…not that it was particularly grim today…just that a dull winter morning is not the best for appreciating the scenery.
Parking in the car park near Moor End we walk up the lane towards North Cot Wood before taking a detour over the fields to Rotten Row. The duck pond, complete with duck house, is as picturesque as when we passed through here on our Medmenham walk in June. We cross the fields and into Hatch Wood. For the next 30mins our walk is punctuated by the sound of gunfire somewhere on the Estate. It’s only on returning home that we discover the estate has a reputation as one of the ‘best pheasant shoots within 75 miles of London’…at least according to estate publicity. Putting feathered carnage out of our minds we press on through Bushes Woods and eventually Hambleden. A 6.75 mile walk with only one serious climb at the start. Several sections of this walk are along quiet Buckinghamshire lanes, no bad thing today given the muddy state of some of the paths but the route could probably do with some refining for the summer when I expect the lanes are busier.
Pheasants Hill picture gallery (more pictures on Flickr):
Distance: 6.75 miles; Difficulty: Moderate
Coordinates for Satnav: N51° 40.363′ W0° 31.527′