Ridgeway - Nuffield to Chinnor

17 May 2014

I hadn't visited the Ridgeway since October 2012, but with a bit of help from Lucy, today George, Lottie and I had a very pleasant walk, gradually getting closer to Suffolk..

After leaving Lucy, Ellie and Hetty at Nuffield to do some geocaching, Lottie, George and I have set off along the Ridgeway, with a crossing of Huntercombe Golf Club and its bluebell woods

After a descent through more woodland, we emerge onto open fields

After the gain in height during the previous walk on the Ridgeway, we are now well above the Thames valley - in fact we are on a spur at the foot of the Chilterns which the Thames loops around, with Henley to our south-east and here looking to the north-west towards Oxford.

Passing through the delightful Ewelme Park

The little church at Swyncombe House

Heading towards North Farm, where the Ridgeway turns sharp right and regains what may be regarded as its more historically accurate route, after the long detour the modern route has taken since Mongewell by the Thames

After a fair bit of up and down, the historic route is now regained and we have a track with only modest gradients for the rest of today's walk

Our legal rights summarised for the various routes - in fact the post is missing a sixth option, which is a private track. The "road" mentioned on the signpost is actually the restricted byway, which despite its limited legal rights looks like a tarmac road.

After a short lunch stop at the car, where Lucy had brought me a welcome ice-cream, we continue along the old track, now gradually mellowing after some years of a ban on motorised vehicles

George is now over 12 but still going strong on these walks

Beyond the M40 and Beacon Hill, the Ridgeway runs alongside the route of a dismantled railway, the former Great Western Railway branch from Princes Risborough to Watlington, part of which now forms the heritage Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway

From the Ridgeway, a look up to the escarpment of Juniper Bank - the original London to Oxford turnpike took a steep route down the escarpment here via the 1718 Stokenchurch to Wheatley Turnpike Trust's route before being moved a little to the south-west on the line of the current A40.

Approaching Chinnor, is this a red kite in the sky?

Total distance 18.4 km and 314 metres of ascent in 5 hours 20 minutes (with a little stop at lunchtime and a bit of geocaching) - that means we're about 73% of the way to Ivinghoe Beacon, and two walks of similar length to today's will see this National Trail completed.

previous Ridgeway walk - North Stoke to Nuffield



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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson