Tuesday 22 March 2022
Introducing our new walking blogger: Tom Horsfield, who today writes about a stunning route starting and ending in the beautiful Chiltern's village of Nettlebed.
I’m Tom Horsfield, and I currently work as a fundraiser for a national Charity. In my spare time, I love nothing more than discovering new footpaths in the beautiful Chiltern Hills. Getting out walking never failed to lift my spirits throughout the pandemic; my partner and I found ourselves on a new route each week! I’m passionate about sharing my love for this area with others, and it was a pleasure to have a chance to write a blog about a stunning route starting and ending in Nettlebed village, and passing through the Warburg Nature Reserve.
The walk begins with some easily-accessible road-side parking, with the historical ‘Old Kiln’ just around the corner - well worth a peek for a little local history. You then begin down some peaceful one-track roads, flanked by beautiful houses, woodland and a grand estate.
The route then leads you down a long, tree-lined road which could be straight out of a period drama, after which you’re soon immersed in the stunning woodland of Warburg Nature Reserve. A sign quickly appears detailing the breathtaking abundance of flora and fauna here, and steps taken year-round to protect the landscape. Walking the peaceful forest footpath you’re accompanied by beautiful birdsong, the whistle of wind through the trees and a mosaic of light and shade on the forest floor. It’s easy to imagine the woodland in Spring-time, with a dense scattering of bluebells.
The path loops around a beautiful country cottage nestled in the idyllic woodland, then soon after via the Warburg Nature Reserve visitor centre. Upon exiting the boundaries of Warburg, the path narrows and the undergrowth becomes dense. At this point of our walk we were on the lookout for the perfect spot to enjoy our packed lunch – always a highlight of any walk in our books! We didn’t have to wait long. After crossing a road, and continuing along another wooded path, the trees give way to a vast open field, with a tree trunk sat invitingly in the sunshine.
Stomachs full and cravings satisfied, we skirted this field and were now on the home straight back to Nettlebed, passing picturesque farmland and an immaculately cared for collection of allotments.
The final highlight came at the end of our walk, spotting a sign for ‘The Cheese Shed’ which we simply had to investigate. The lane off the main road appeared quiet at first glance, but turning the corner we found a beautiful converted barn selling coffees and cheese toasties, with a buzz of fellow walkers, cyclists and families enjoying an afternoon in the countryside (I can strongly recommend stopping by their farm shop for some treats to take home!).
This is a walk we’ve returned to a number of times since our first visit. The abundance of footpaths in the local area means you never have to walk the same route twice, and the beautiful woodland makes for a perfect setting to find some headspace after a busy week. There will always be something new to enjoy as seasons change, and you’ll be safe in the knowledge that a cup of coffee and warming toastie will be waiting for you at the finish!