Just do it!

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Bullet in the Heart: Great War Surgery

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Village Secrets (Chiltern Walk)

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An invigorating 12km walk for a wet and windy afternoon; judge it right and you could be in the woods when it rains and romping across open downland when the sun is shining. Judge it even better and the ice cream van will be in the Coombe Hill NT carpark and they’ll be serving tea and cake in #Ellesborough Church. Get it wrong and you’ll be too muddy to go to the nearby pub when you stagger back to the Pulpit Hill carpark at Lower Cadsden. _____ The first part of the walk is along well-marked paths through dense mixed woodland; gloomy, muddy and a tad claustrophobic. Blink and you miss #Dunsmore – except for the chapel by the village pond. Built in 1897 (Victoriana meets pebbledash), the Church of the Resurrection fell into disrepair in the 1980s and was rescued by the village who now run and maintain it as an ecumenical place of worship. (Once home, I regretted my hasty dismissal of Dunsmore when I discovered Peter Jewell’s affectionate and gossipy history on the village website. Apparently, the village is haunted by a ploughboy who was struck by lightning – and Churchill’s detectives whiled away their time at The Fox pub during WW2 when their boss was at nearby #Chequers.) _____ Breaking out of the woods onto Coombe Hill makes all the sylvan slog worthwhile; the distant views, particularly after heavy rain, are quite spectacular. The path down from the forbidding Boer War memorial is very steep but soon eases. Even if they’re not serving teas at Ellesborough Church, do make the 50m detour to enjoy the rather lovely hilltop setting of this, the parish church for Chequers (I was told that Johnson has not yet worshiped here). Suitably refreshed, the route back to Pulpit Hill is open, nicely undulating, and a veritable showcase (according to the information boards) of Chilterns flora and fauna. _____ My approximate route is on [osmaps.ordnancesurvey.co.uk]. Find the starting point then click on Discover Routes and search for ‘Pulpit Hill to Coombe Hill via Dunsmore’. #autumnwalks #Chilterns #countrywalks #getoutside

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Kites and Ice Cream (Chiltern Walk)

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African Adventuers (Chiltern Walk)

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I designed this 13.5km hike to include as many thigh-burning gradients as possible – which explains its rather inelegant plan. It starts and finishes by the church in Stokenchurch. Churches are always good places to start walks; prettiness, parking, often a pub – plus you can see the tower or steeple peeping encouragingly over the trees on your final leg. From Stokenchurch, it’s down, up, down, up to Bledlow Ridge then along a bit and down, up, down, up, down, up back to the start. Walked anti-clockwise, lots of the downs are across open fields (grass, stubble, plough) and almost all of the ups are through shady woods or along Hobbit paths – which was good because it was surprisingly warm for September. The gem in this Chiltern coronet of a hike has to be the little Church of St Mary the Virgin in Radnage. Built by the Knights Templar at the end of the 12th century; boxy and quite plain from the outside, utterly delightful and clearly well used and loved within. The footpath passes through the living wildlife churchyard so do look in, leave a donation in the honesty box – and spare a thought for George Phillimore, Victorian rector of this peaceful village, and his wife Henrietta whose two sons died, seven years apart, adventuring a world away in Africa. My approximate route is on [osmaps.ordnancesurvey.co.uk]. Find the starting point then click on Discover Routes and search for Chiltern Ridges and Furrows. #autumnwalks #Chilterns #countrywalks #getoutside

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Early Morning Calm (the fair’s in town!)

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The fair’s in town #earlymorningcalm

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Felix Vallotton: Painter of Disquiet

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Then and Now: Oxford and the Great War

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Early Morning Oxford

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Early morning in #Oxford #shade #sunlight

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Four Woods Walk (Chilterns Walk)

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Grimm’s Ditch and Lily Bottom (Chiltern Walk)

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