Buckinghamshire Walk – April 2018

Head north through Buckinghamshire to the village of Edlesborough for a walk in the shadow of the Chilterns, passing a memorial to a remarkable lady.

Following the River Ouzel, which is little more than a stream here, marking the county boundary with Bedfordshire to the right
Following the River Ouzel, which is little more than a stream here, marking the county boundary with Bedfordshire to the right

Our walk this month is based at the village of Edlesborough on the eastern edge of Buckinghamshire tucked below the Ivinghoe Hills, which part of the Chilterns. From the village, which was known as Eddinberge in the Domesday Book, we follow the River Ouzel, which is little more than a stream at this point, for a while to reach Eaton Bridge; the river forms part of the boundary between Buckinghamshire and neighbouring Bedfordshire.

Edlesborough's colourful village sign near the start of the walk
Edlesborough’s colourful village sign near the start of the walk

We then head through Northall, home to the Swan Inn, before heading south-west past Butler’s Manor, where you can still see the remains of a moat, to reach Ivinghoe Aston. A quick walk along the village street takes us past the aptly named Village Swan pub, saved by local residents from property developers.

After leaving Ivinghoe Aston the walk heads back to Edlesborough with views of the church and the Dunstable Downs beyond
After leaving Ivinghoe Aston the walk heads back to Edlesborough with views of the church and the Dunstable Downs beyond

The final leg of the walk heads north-east, with views of the Dunstable Downs ahead. On the way, keep a lookout for a memorial to Bridget Elizabeth Talbot – a woman of many achievements – who was born at Little Gaddesden.

Memorial to a remarkable lady, Bridget Elizabeth Talbot O.B.E
Memorial to a remarkable lady, Bridget Elizabeth Talbot O.B.E

During the First World War, she served with the Anglo-Italian Red Cross and in 1920 she received an OBE for her work with the Red Cross; she remained an active supporter of the organisation all her life. She invented a waterproof torch for lifebelts and was instrumental in getting this made compulsory, thereby saving the lives of many seamen. She also helped save a large swathe of the Chiltern Hills by heading a national campaign to secure the Ashridge Estate for the National Trust following the death of Earl Brownlow in 1921.

The walk passes St Mary's Church at Edlesborough
The walk passes St Mary’s Church at Edlesborough

We soon pass the Church of St Mary the Virgin which stands on a small hill to the south-west of the village, affording a great view. The church, which is now cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust, dates by to the 13th century. Although it is normally locked, the key is available from the village shop and post office, and is usually open on the first Sunday of each month between May and September, between 2 and 4 pm. If you get the chance to see inside it is well worth the effort; there is some fine medieval woodwork including the chancel screen and some lovely Victorian wall paintings and stained glass.

St Mary's Church at Edlesborough
St Mary’s Church at Edlesborough

From the church it’s a short walk back through the village, passing the former 16th century brick and timber barn on the way; published in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life, April 2018.