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