This 14-mile circular walk out into the Chilterns from Henley is a beauty in the summer – through cool woods, across golden fields and green, green valleys at the foot of the Chilterns.
Wild flowers and butterflies are everywhere, red kites wheel and keen overheard and, if you’re lucky, you’ll see deer skipping between the trees.
What, then, is not to like?
About an hour in and you’re presented with this green and pleasant view. It’s well worth taking a moment to soak it all in. A still-cold can of lager bought back in Henley is an ideal accompaniment.
A little further on and there’s a short stretch of road to navigate and a nice example of an unusual English place name.
Then it’s across a field of corn, through some woods, alongside a valley dressed in patchwork fields, more woods and past a house draped in ivy.
We’re now more than halfway round, having stopped of at The Crown in Pishill, and heading back south. Through a gap in the hedge at the side of the road is the abandoned church of St James in Bix Brand – disused since 1875 with features dating back to Norman times.
It’s falling apart, carpeted with foliage inside and out and in all likelihood spooky as hell after dark.
After rejoining the road briefly, we’re soon back in the subtle yet endless variety of fields of pasture and barley…
Before some welcome relief from the hot sun under a canopy of beech trees.
Six hours after leaving, we return to Henley with aching legs, a sunburnt neck and the promise of more Brakspear.
As a grim footnote, just before coming back into town, we pass the former mansion home of George Harrison where the Beatle was stabbed by mentally ill intruder Michael Abram. All you see if a wooden fence topped with razor wire.