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The Misbourne Valley and Old Amersham

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The Misbourne Valley and Old Amersham
Author: NickC, Published: 11 Apr 2013 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Buckinghamshire, Old Amersham
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
The Misbourne Valley and Old Amersham
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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The Misbourne is a modern success story and a testament to the efforts of campaigners to rescue it. A natural chalk stream, water companies were attracted to its exceptionally pure water and by the 1990s it was one of the worst affected rivers in the country for abstraction. A new pipeline was built from more sustainable sources and the river was rescued, and this circular walk gives you the opportunity to enjoy a stretch of it, as well as the delights of Old Amersham. It begins in the town, but soon heads up the side of the valley cut by the river to afford great views, although there is a climb involved first to earn them.

The river itself is your companion for much of the second half of the walk, and includes a delightful stopping point by a ford, great for picnics or a paddle. At the walk's end there's the opportunity to take in a monument to seven Protestant martyrs burned at the stake in the 16th century, as well as the opportunity to sample part of Old Amersham. Here you can see the King's Arms, which featured as The Lucky Boatman in the film 'Four Weddings and a Funeral', as well as a number of historical buildings. Allow a couple of hours for this five and half mile walk.

Old Amersham is bypassed by the A413, about four miles north of Beaconsfield and five miles south of Berkhamsted. It should not be confused with its near neighbour Amersham on the Hill, although this does offer a tube link if you don't mind a little bit of extra walking (around a mile each way). Park in the large public car park behind the car showroom in Old Amersham (HP7 9DD), where there are also well maintained public conveniences.

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Walk Sections

Start to Rodgers Wood
Start to Rodgers Wood

Start point: 51.6666 lat, -0.6132 long
End point: 51.658 lat, -0.6025 long

Leave the car park and head back to the main road through Old Amersham. Turn left and head down towards the roundabout with a large Tesco superstore to the left. Cross over the road and then again, heading right. The path starts at Bury Farm, by a white house, and is clearly marked as the South Bucks Way. A short gravelled drive leads to a five bar gate with a stile, after which you immediately enter a field at the back of one of the Misbourne's pumping stations.

Keep the railings to your left and go under the A413, signed 'The Chiltern Way', following the track as it bears left. You are now at the foot of a hill and on the right hand edge of a field. Follow this until you reach an opening in a hedge after 100 yards. Head uphill, taking a south-easterly course heading for Rodgers Wood.

Rodgers Wood to Saddlestones
Rodgers Wood to Saddlestones

Start point: 51.658 lat, -0.6025 long
End point: 51.6467 lat, -0.5831 long

Take the stile into the trees and follow the short track across the corner of the woods. Soon you re-emerge onto open fields. The way ahead is clearly visible, with Day's Wood before you offering a target. Just before this, go over a stile on the right hand side and skirt the edge of the wood on its western edge. The trees obscure the valley below for a while as you climb further uphill, once more following a south-eastern route, while heading slightly away from the wood in order to meet the next gate and stile at the end of the field.

Cross the stile and head for the gate at the bottom right of the field. The path here isn't well defined, but the gate is obvious enough. Go downhill, towards Upper Bottom Farm, going down the track where there is a short series of steps taking you into the farmyard. Turn left at the road, going past Lower Bottom Farm, which is built in the traditional Chiltern brick and flint style, with a storehouse on saddlestones to your right.

Saddlestones to Ford
Saddlestones to Ford

Start point: 51.6467 lat, -0.5831 long
End point: 51.6572 lat, -0.591 long

From Lower Bottom Farm, continue down the road and just as it begins to curve left you will find yourself at a junction of paths. You need to take the one on the left, marked 'South Bucks Way'. A line of willows clearly marks the course of the river on the right. The corner of the field offers the first glimpse of water, but the shy river quickly disappears into a wood. Continue along the edge of this wood and head straight out across the field when it ends.

After 200 yards there's an intersection with a track leading back to the farm and to the right there's a ford and wooden footbridge, perfect for pooh-sticks! Head over the river, which hides briefly in a small dip, unseen, but certainly heard.

Ford to Martyrs Monument Detour Start
Ford to Martyrs Monument Detour Start

Start point: 51.6572 lat, -0.591 long
End point: 51.667 lat, -0.6118 long

Keep the river to your left and continue along the edge of the field, passing through a gap in its corner. Eventually you will reach an underpass with the A413 overhead, and you will emerge from the woods to see a sign for Ambers of Amersham ahead. Head for this, crossing the road just before it. The path goes past the front door of the Chequers pub, along the Ambers courtyard, and through a small alleyway on the left. On reaching the road cross over and take the metalled cycleway, where the river reappears, almost miraculously, on your left. Continue along the path until you reach the sign for the Martyrs Monument.

Martyrs Monument Detour Start to Martyrs Monument Detour End
Martyrs Monument Detour Start to Martyrs Monument Detour End

Start point: 51.667 lat, -0.6118 long
End point: 51.6671 lat, -0.6123 long

There is now an option to visit the Martyrs Monument, a 300 yard detour, there and back. Although it is uphill (on the way, downhill on the way back!), this is worth it just to get a sense of the dissenting history of this area. The monument was erected in 1931 to mark the sacrifice of seven Protestant martyrs burned at the stake nearby in 1521.

To reach the monument, continue to the second sign sending you there and the path bears right, heading uphill along the side of a field, and bears right at the top of the hill. Continue until you reach the monument, and return the same way back to the main route of the walk.

Martyrs Monument Detour End to End
Martyrs Monument Detour End to End

Start point: 51.6671 lat, -0.6123 long
End point: 51.6666 lat, -0.6132 long

Rejoin the walk at the second monument sign and head down the side of a hedge with the cemetery on your right. Take the path as it heads right and stay with the path as it crosses a stone footbridge and brings you into St. Mary's churchyard. Pass down this road, keeping the church to your left, and turn right on reaching the junction with Church Street. On reaching the main road you will see magnificent the Market Square in front of you, and for those that want to see it, the Kings Arms mentioned in the introduction, is a little further down to the right.

The walk however heads left, down The Broadway. The Old Grammar School and Memorial Gardens follow in quick succession on your left, and you stick with the pavement until you reach the entrance to the car park and head left back to the starting point.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author NickC and may not be reproduced without permission.

1 comments for "The Misbourne Valley and Old Amersham"

i tried this walk today, and unfortunately was not able to complete it. in the Rogers Wood to Sanddlestones section firstly it took somewhile to locate the stile to cross (broken down and hidden in the woods) there was no discernable track to follow

Looks like this is not a well used route as there was no clue underfoot even of the direction to go

By jellybobcat on 15 Oct 2015

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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