Buckinghamshire Walk – August 2018

Head to Great Brickhill in North Buckinghamshire for a wander over the Greensand Ridge and along the Grand Union Canal.

After leaving Great Brickhill the route heads back over the Greensand Ridge with views stretching out to the west
After leaving Great Brickhill the route heads back over the Greensand Ridge with views stretching out to the west

The walk sets out along a country lane for a while before heading through fields up towards Great Brickhill following a section of the Milton Keynes Boundary Walk, a 63-mile walk that circles Milton Keynes.

Great Brickhill has a number of picturesque houses
Great Brickhill has a number of picturesque houses

The village of Great Brickhill, which lies on a ridge of Cretaceous aged sandstone known locally as The Greensand Ridge, was mentioned in the Domesday Book and since that time the manor has had only four owners. William the Conqueror gave the manor to Earl Hugh of Chester and in 1170 it passed to the de Grey family. The manor came into the possession of Sir Thomas Somerset for while during the 16th century, before it was bought by William Duncombe of Ivinghoe; the Duncombe’s and their relatives have owned the manor since that time, although the old manor house was demolished in the 1930’s.

The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin
The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin

The village has a number of historic buildings, parts of St Mary’s Church date from 13th century whilst along Rotten Row there is the old Bake House, home to the village bakery until the 1980’s and a 17th-century thatched cottage. The small village green – known as The Three Trees due to its stand of three trees – sits opposite The Old Red Lion pub which dates back to the 16th century.

The memorial stone and village map at the small green, known as The Three Trees
The memorial stone and village map at the small green, known as The Three Trees

We soon leave the village behind and head down through part of Rushmere Country Park, a large expanse of mixed woodland, lowland heath and meadow straddling the Buckinghamshire / Bedfordshire border, before skirting round the southern edge of Alders Farm Fishery Lakes.

Catch a quick view of the fishery lakes at Alders Farm on the way towards the canal
Catch a quick view of the fishery lakes at Alders Farm on the way towards the canal

A short climb takes us back over the Greensand Ridge before heading down to the River Ouzel; the river rises in the Chilterns and flows northwards to join the River Great Ouse at Newport Pagnall.

Messing about in boats on the Grand Union Canal
Messing about in boats on the Grand Union Canal

The final leg of the walk follows the towpath alongside the tranquil waters of the Grand Union Canal. Originally known as the Grand Junction Canal when it opened in 1799, the canal was built to give a direct link between London and Birmingham; published in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life, August 2018.