Chiltern Hills: Wendover Woods walk

St John the Baptist Church

In preparation for our forthcoming 84 mile section to hike Italy’s Via Francigena, I recently enjoyed a short weekend away with our friends Mike, Russell and Roza. Sadly Chris had covid so was unable to attend and Flo had double-booked so it was just the 4 of us.

It took me about an hour and 15 minutes to drive to Wendover where we met at 9:30 am in the Go Ape car park. The large cafe was open for breakfast although we had all had breakfast before leaving home so set off to start the walk.

The first walk of the weekend on the Saturday was a 16 mile circular walk. The weather was cloudy with light rainy and sunny spells in the morning. However, we had a couple of torrential downpours in the afternoon!

Mike had planned the route and led us through the woods towards the village of Swan Bottom where we passed through the churchyard of the historic St John the Baptist Church – The Lee at Great Missenden.

We had a couple of short breaks and ate our sandwiches in a field on the edge of the woods just before Cholesbury.

Cholebury Camp

We passed through Cholesbury Camp which is an Iron Age hillfort. An information board at the site explains it was excavated in 1932 and evidence of iron smelting was found together with fragments of pottery dating from 50BC-50AD.

Soon after Chorlesbury Camp the sky darkened and this was when the torrential rain began.

However, towards the end of the walk at Pavis, Black and Northill Woods nature reserve the rain stopped and millions of raindrops glistened like crystals on the branches and bracken.

Towards the end of the walk as we got near to the car park at Go Ape we spotted two dear peering through the woods!

After a huge piece of cake and a welcome coffee in Go Ape cafe we drove to our accommodation for the night, the Dinton Hermit.

My room at the Dinton Hermit

The Dinton Hermit was a lovely 17th century pub which has 8 en-suite rooms. Thankfully the shower was hot and powerful which was welcome after getting cold and wet on the walk during the afternoon! The 4 of us enjoyed a few drinks in the historic bar and a meal in the modern restaurant.

The Dinton Hermit was named after someone called John Bigg, a local hermit who lived in a nearby cave and was said to have been the main executioner of King Charles I.

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