Just occasionally when we’ve been walking the location and the weather have come together to produce a really memorable walk. This was one of those occasions.
We returned to the Hambleden Valley after last week, but this time we’ve decided to walk north, up the valley towards Turville, before looping round through Fingest and Frieth and returning to the car by way of Hambleden. A planned walk of 12 miles meant we aimed to leave home early and get walking soon after sunrise. Well, we were walking by 8-30am and in time to catch the last of the early morning light. Winter arrived in the Chilterns this week and this morning the valley is coated in a sugary frost. This, combined with the light, produces some memorable images as we walk through Ridge Wood and climb Commemoration Hill. We see more wildlife on this walk than we have for some time. We’re aware of deer flitting though the shadows, just out of sight and overhead, red kites and buzzards wheel lazily in the morning air. We’ve not seen a soul all morning and this probably accounts for the wildlife we’re seeing.
By mid-morning we reach the Chiltern Way and the long straight walk to Turville. The sun is warm and there are more people about. Some of the views across the valley towards Fingest and Frieth are ‘picture postcard perfect’ for the Chilterns. Not that our photography does them justice!
We walk around the foot of Turville Hill (and its windmill) and head on to Fingest and the steepest climb of the walk, through Mousells Wood, to Frieth and Skimett. The climb leaves us both out of breath and we pause to watch red kites hunting over the fields above Skimett, a welcomed break.
From here it’s a short descent to Skimett and an easy walk along the Hamble Brook and to the car. If you’re looking for a walk that captures the Chiltern Hills and their beauty then this has to be one of the best and, of course, it has been helped by clear blues skies and beautiful sunshine. We highly recommend the Hambleden Valley!
Hambleden picture gallery (more pictures on Flickr):
Distance: 12.4 miles; Difficulty: Moderate
Coordinates for Satnav: N51° 40.363′ W0° 31.527′