With a three day bank holiday weekend looming, and only Saturday looking good weather-wise, I decided to hike 14 miles through along The Chiltern Way. Yep, I’m full of great ideas. I took with me my treasured mechanical Pentax KM. Although a few of these photos were shot with the standard Pentax 50mm f/1.7, this seemed a good opportunity to try out the Miranda 24mm f/2.8 lens I got from Dan James over at 35Hunter. It appears I got myself a bit of a bargain.
I started at the unique St Bartholomew’s Church in Fingest. The massive western Norman tower was built early in the 12th century and has unusual twin gables. Apparently there’s only one other similar construction in the country.
I can’t pass by a church without having a look round, and ones from this period are particularly fascinating. Those gables and roughcast walls are great. And the way it’s set without any modern distractions visible, it’s possible to imagine you’re back in the time of knights and archers.
The Chiltern Way is a 134 mile circular walking route that goes through the beautiful rolling landscapes of the Chiltern Hills. It passes through the counties of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire. We do public footpaths very well in Britain, with access protected in law, and this one is waymarked throughout. Perfect for someone like me who can’t even fold a map up, let alone navigate with one.
Like St Barts, Pishill Church was originally an 11th century Norman church, but was rebuilt in 1854. Pishill itself is little more than a hamlet, just a few homes plonked on top of a hill. Apparently the name means “hill where peas grew”, derived from the Latin pisum for pea and…well, you can guess the rest. Those dudes were nothing if not literal.
After 12 miles I made it to the village of Turville. That’s Cobstone Windmill you can see up the top there. It dates to 1816, and if it seems familiar that’s because in 1967 it was saved and renovated for the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In fact it’s appeared in numerous TV shows and films over the years. Probably its earliest, and inevitably my favourite, is the 1945 British anthology flick, Dead Of Night. Way ahead of its time.
I would have liked to have gone up and had a look round, but my route lay off to the east. At this stage in the day that looked like a long and deceptively steep detour. I was happy just to hobble the last couple of miles back to the car. Another day, perhaps.