Disused horror movie church on a long walk in Henley Chilterns

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.

It also takes in a tumbledown, disused Norman church that featured in 1970 British horror movie Blood On Satan’s Claw and is in the heart of Brakspear country – which brews a very fine bitter indeed.

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.

The valley below
The valley below

A little further on and there’s a short stretch of road to navigate and a nice example of an unusual English place name.

Does my Bottom look Bix in this?
Does my Bottom look Bix in this?

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.

Corn blimey
Corn blimey
Standing guard at wood's entrance
Standing guard at wood’s entrance
Golden, just golden
Golden, just golden
Fern, baby, fern
Fern, baby, fern
A green house
A green house

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.

The ex-church of St James
The ex-church of St James
Overgrown and out of use
Overgrown and out of use
Fall from grace
Fall from grace

After rejoining the road briefly, we’re soon back in the subtle yet endless variety of fields of pasture and barley…

Another good spot to pause and rest
Another good spot to pause and rest
Barley, loads of barley
Barley, loads of barley

Before some welcome relief from the hot sun under a canopy of beech trees.

A green parasol
A green parasol

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.

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Disused horror movie church on a long walk in Henley Chilterns

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