I’d been out on the bike, to cover the first anniversary of the unveiling of the David Bowie statue in Aylesbury; I posted about it last week. Now it was late afternoon, and I had other things to see some miles away; the sun was dropping in the sky.
From Aylesbury, (see my post earlier this week) I headed South through Stoke Mandeville. My destination was Hillesden. It's in the opposite direction, but I was out on the bike, and I like to take an indirect route, riding along the back roads as much as possible.
At Stoke Mandeville I headed out over a level crossing and across the flat landscape. I had a rough idea of where I wanted to come out, and soon spotted a sign for Dinton. I rode through Dinton and out on to the Thame to Aylesbury road, and across the junction I could see Dinton Castle.
Dinton Castle, 2009. It doesn’t look like this now, but you can see the finished result here.
It’s not really a castle, but a folly. Years ago I stopped there on another indirect journey and took a few photos with my new that day super wideangle lens, as the sun went down.
The folly was looking neglected then, but works were going on to stop it getting any worse.
Dinton Castle was built in 1769 as an eyecatcher by Sir John Vanhatten, so he could see it from Dinton Hall. He kept his collection of ammonite fossils in the castle, built into the walls.
I couldn’t look round the castle again; it has since been renovated and turned into a private house. It featured in the Grand Designs TV programme last year. I didn’t take a photo.
From there I rode across to Westcott. I lived there as a baby for a while, in what used to be a Royal Air Force hut belonging to the RAF. I tried to find the location, but had no luck. I’ll go back another day. From Westcott I crossed the Roman Akeman street. You might know it as the A41.
I headed North on minor roads, stopping once to check the map and to take a photo of the bike in the landscape. Hillesden is a few miles South of Buckingham.
Eventually I reached, not Hillesden itself, but a farm at the end of a narrow lane that I knew had a footpath. That path led to where I knew I could get a good photo of Hillesden church, half a mile away. I had been there before in September and taken photos for this blog.
Then, the trees were still in full leaf and I couldn’t see much of the church. This time the trees were bare and I could see much more of it, though the ploughed earth of September was now obscured by crops.
From there I headed home. The sun was about to go home and the temperature was dropping. When I got home to a warm house I was very glad that I had lit the fire that morning.
Hillesden Church is known as The Cathedral in the Fields, and there’s more about it and a photo I took in September, in this previous post.