Buckinghamshire Walk – April 2016

Head to the picturesque Misbourne Valley for a wander through Chalfont St Giles, tucked on the edge of the Chilterns, to the south of Amersham.

River Misbourne near Chalfont St Giles
River Misbourne near Chalfont St Giles

From the edge of Chalfont St Peter – another village well worth a look – the walk heads through fields to reach the neighbouring village of Chalfont St Giles. On the Deansway we pass Milton’s Cottage, a lovely 16th-century brick and timber cottage that, for a few brief years, was home to the great poet, John Milton, who had fled London to escape the plague in 1665. It was while at the cottage – which is now a museum – that Milton completed his epic poem Paradise Lost and started to contemplate its sequel, Paradise Regained; the house is open four days a week from Easter till October (01494 872313).

Milton's Cottage, Chalfont St Giles
Milton’s Cottage, Chalfont St Giles

Continue down the Deansway, passing Stonewells Farmhouse – said to date from the 15th – and then along the High Street to reach The Green and duck pond, watched-over by the village sign depicting St Giles and the unusually named pub, Merlin’s Cave; spot the wizard’s hat pub sign. In the early 1970s, following the success of the classic BBC sitcom, Dad’s Army, it was decided to make a big screen spin-off and Chalfont St Giles doubled as Warmington-on-Sea. Along the High Street, the former Crown pub (now the Costa coffee shop) stood in as Captain Mainwaring’s bank, whilst Warner’s Butchers stood in for Corporal Jones’ butchers shop.

Chalfont St Giles village sign
Chalfont St Giles village sign

An archway off The Green, leads past the double-gated lychgate to reach the 800 year old parish church which houses some interesting medieval wall paintings. Incidentally, in the churchyard lie the ashes of Bertram Mills, the circus owner.

The final leg of the walk heads along the valley, following the River Misbourne, a peaceful chalk stream that rises near Great Missenden and flows south to join the River Colne, to arrive back at Chalfont St Peter; published in the April 2016 issue of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life.