A little trip to… Wendover

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I am thankful for many things, but one thing I gain immeasurable satisfaction from is the Town and Country Planning Act 1947. By forming the green belt, it helped contain London and the cities of the UK into manageable shapes so we didn’t end up with endless urban sprawl. And so upon finding myself in Wendover, less than 40 miles from the centre of London, one of the first things I saw was a thatched cottage in a row of houses so picturesque I was expecting the cast of Morse, Midsomer Murders and Downton on tour to make an appearance. The Chilterns, where Wendover is nestled, is well known for its beauty and is  home to many varied landscapes from chalk streams to beech woods and chocolate box villages.


But the real draw for me in these parts is Wendover Woods, over 800 acres of deeply wooded landscape and many well-signposted walks all designed to shake off the stresses of the city. Living in the woods is the Firecrest, Britain’s smallest bird. You’ll find it much easier looking out for the Red Kite which has become a familiar site in the Chilterns since the re-introduction of them started in the late 1980s. From the station, we walked down Hale Lane and within minutes the village falls away to be replaced by open fields and parcels of woods. The path follows a gentle incline and soon enough the views behind you take on a grander form as more and more gently rolling countryside becomes visible.


After ten minutes walking down Hale Lane you will find a left turn into Wendover Woods itself, giving you an option to take on one of the circular walks within the woods. Head north and you’ll find yourself at the Cafe in the Woods, or just wander about. Either way you won’t be disappointed. If you’re a sporty kind, then you’ll find the woods to your taste with its fitness assault course scattered throughout.


When our walk led us back to the centre of Wendover we ate at the Shoulder of Mutton which is reliable, affordable and has an enormous garden. You can’t go wrong with a day trip to the Chilterns and Wendover is so easy to access, it is just crying out to be explored.

Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty 

Wendover Woods forestry commission website

Shoulder of Mutton Wendover

A delightful day in the country!

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Ah, I love The Chilterns, me. It’s now been about two years since I first moved here and I remember a really great walk I went on with a friend where I spotted my first Red Kite – a bird I miss when I’m not in the area – and loads of Pheasants. We accidentally walked into a wood, and it’s not hard round here as there are woodlands all over. Unfortunately, back then GPS on phones was shocking and we managed to find our location within a 300 metre radius, which unsurprisingly didn’t help us get out of the wood. I thought we were going to die, murdered by the psycho in the film ‘Severance’. Instead, we ended up seeing a Deer and fighting through bushes to emerge victorious in a Rugby field. First time for everything…

Glorious woodlands - 2009 style

Fast forward two years later and my love for The Chilterns hasn’t got smaller, but has increased. I used to live in Devon so I was used to spectacular landscapes such as Exmoor or Dartmoor; stuff that just knocks your socks off…but there’s something so utterly bucolic about the Chilterns that the most stressed-out banker/rich person (around these parts they tend to be loaded) will feel calmed and delighted to be out in the open fields, the sloping valleys and wooded hills. It’s all sorts of idyllic.

Today the weather was the best it ever gets in Autumn so I made sure I used my day off wisely. I set off to Chesham Bois woods and aimlessly wondered about looking for pictures of the Autumn to take. It was one of those days where the camera can’t actually pick up what is so beautiful about the landscape as the pleasure is all internal but some images start to capture how it felt. Peaceful, relaxing…a feeling that everything will turn out ok. Generally stuff that city people probably don’t notice so much.

A lovely lamp-post

I startled perhaps a million Pheasants and at one point every few footsteps saw something bolt out from a bush or fly away, making me a bit angry that I wasn’t in a Disney film where all the animals would come and have a laugh with me.

I’m off to Copenhagen next week and soon to be booking a trip to Cuba where the landscape will be so different and I know I’ll be agape at the beauty. Sometimes it’s wonderfully comforting to know that home can offer the best sort of beauty.

My Chilterns set on Flickr is here.