Walks following the chalk downlands of south Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire on or near the Chiltern Way north of the Thames.Checkendon and Stoke Row
Woodcote and Goring
Stoke Row; Nettlebed and Bix
Cookley Green; Watlington; Stonor and Warburg
Rotherfield Peppard and Henley
Woodcote and Exlade Street
Cookley Green and Russells Water
Stokenchurch and Ibstone
Swyncombe and Ewelme
Whitchurch Hill and Crays Pond
Watlington and Britwell Salome
Mapledurham and Goring Heath
Turville and Fingest
Sonning Common and Kidmore End
Russells Water and Pishill
The start of November is often the best time for autumn colour. This year it seems to have come a week or so early. It is the beech trees that predominate on the chalk and they make a splendid show. I started the walk at Rotherfield Peppard north of Reading and walked on a circuit of about 12 miles taking in Bix and Henley-on-Thames. Here is a map of the route:
View Rotherfield Peppard to Henley in a larger map
It was not just the beech that was highly coloured, the bracken had changed colour too.
Even though the last two posts have been full of fungi there is still room for a few more. I think this is Porcelain fungus.
The sun was still catching the autumn beech leaves.
The path takes you right past the National Trust managed historic house at Grey's Court. The de Greys lived here for over 400 years.
Heading north towards Bix, led me through some woods with many fungi, I have resisted posting all but the better shots.
There were a few flowers still making a noble effort for the time of year, mainly clover and some chicory but also scabious.
The path from Bix took me down a steep, narrow lane to Middle Assendon. A small village with a few too many modern houses. The pub -the Rainbow- looked very inviting. I was now on another long distance path, the Oxfordshire Way which I had used on a previous walk to Watlington. Here it soon leaves the village and climbs up high over the valley, with excellent views to the West.
All too soon the path is on the flat land on top of the ridge with no views. It is only after another mile or two that a view on the other Eastern side towards Marlow opens out.
Nearing Henley the trees that make up the hedge by the side of the path looked rather striking .
Autumn colours were breathtaking in places.
The clouds came over on approaching Henley-on-Thames, so no great pictures of the town. A previous walk last year was more fruitful.
Walking back west on Grey's Road from the centre of Henley you come to the entrance of Friar Park. This is a special place because it was the home of George Harrison (the Beatle) for some years [1970-2001]. It is an eccentric late Victorian house built by Frank Crisp.
The path took me on the fringes of woodland, and these were full of the season's other main highlight - fungi. I had the choice of a walk along the bottom of the valley or along the top, with the ground decidedly damp the upper route proved better.
This was an ancient path called 'Pack and Prime Lane'; it offered an overland trek for goods from London to Reading when the river level of the Thames was too low for boats. Some views to the north had patches of purple-red; I am not sure what they were at this time of year.
Finally I returned to the church at Rotherfield Peppard. It is on an old site but was rebuilt in the 1870s. The font looks old but very little else does. I just managed to catch the afternoon light streaming onto the altar.