At Home With the Wanderer

The North Bucks Wanderer (that’s me) isn’t wandering much further than the end of the garden at the moment, so I’m a bit stuck for my usual method of going to the actual place and seeing for myself. When I was there I'd take photos, just for that post.

But I’m going to carry on posting, and I’ll be using photos from my archives, instead of taking new ones.

Meanwhile, you can explore North Bucks here, online. There are over one hundred posts on the North Bucks Wanderer blog, from all over the area; just look in the sidebar.

Tomorrow’s post will show you how to explore North Bucks (and any other part of England if you like) from home, then you can look forward to going and seeing for yourself, when we can all do that again.

Open Mondays and Thursdays

The south aisle  HillesdenThe chancel, Hillesden.

On Monday mornings from now on, you’ll be able to see a new regular post to start the week; the Monday photo. The regular post that usually appears on Wednesday morning will be moving to Thursday morning.

This week’s two posts are related. I had gone to Hillesden for our first Monday photo, (see the post below) and thought I’d just pop into the church; the last time I visited the village I hadn’t really seen it.

I like the older churches with their massive walls and narrow deep set windows, but Hillesden church is lovely; light and airy yet still solid, with the old glass in the big windows throwing patterns of sunlight over the inner walls.

So that’s the post for this Thursday: Hillesden church, “The Cathedral in the Fields”. Not what I had planned, but I just couldn’t resist it.

Stone Cold Soulbury

The Soulbury Stone

In the village of Soulbury is a piece of the Peak District; several tons of limestone. It isn’t hard to find; it sticks out of the road at a minor junction, and was left there about 450,000 years ago by a retreating glacier.

Pieces of ‘foreign’ rock like the Soulbury Stone are called glacial erratics. This stone was torn out of the rock bed by a glacier during an ice age and carried along for miles.

The climate became warmer and the glacier, though it was many hundreds of feet thick, shrank and retreated. The Soulbury Stone was left behind.

The stone, of carboniferous limestone first laid down 300 million years ago, probably came from somewhere near what is now Bakewell in Derbyshire, a hundred miles away as the crow flies.

You might think that the stone is just sat on the surface, but this is an illusion as the army are said to have found out during World War 2. They tried to move it with two tanks, and failed. The visible part of the Soulbury Stone probably weighs about a ton, but who knows how much is buried? No wonder they couldn’t shift it.

In 2016 a vehicle crashed into the stone and the driver submitted a car repair bill for £1,800 to Bucks County Council. The stone was undamaged in the collision.

I don’t think the council paid the bill, but for under £500 they had some white lines painted on the road around it. Looking (from photos) obtrusive at first, the lines are now eroded away and much less obvious.

Hole in Soulbury Stone

In the top of the Stone is a strange five sided hole. It looks as though somebody drilled five smaller parallel holes in the stone then broke out the rock between to make a bigger hole. I wonder why.

There are a few stories in the village about the Stone. A dubious one says that Oliver Cromwell stood on the Stone while his men ransacked the church. It’s also said that only one eighth of the stone is above ground.

Another story is that the stone is the Devil’s foot, cut off by villagers who fought the Devil when he came to the village.This tale is said by some to have been dreamed up by a previous landlord of the Boot pub, just down the road from the stone.

Whatever the truth, the Soulbury Stone was there long before the village.

Soulbury Stone

What Is It Made Of?

Carboniferous limestone is mostly calcium carbonate, from the shells and hard body parts of millions of sea creatures that died and sunk to the bottom of the sea.

Over the millennia the shells and body parts were compressed by the weight of the layers above to become limestone.

If you want to know more about the rocks and processes that made the UK, The Geology of Britain; an introduction by Peter Toghill is worth a look.

On a Break


I've been taking a break, so this week's post is a bit late; it should have come out on Wednesday morning, not Friday. Sorry folks! Back to the normal schedule next week, I should think!

This photo is of the farmhouse of Station Road Farm, in Quainton. Born in 1932, my Dad grew up on the farm, and lived in the farmhouse.

Over The Border

Hanslope church from Tardley Gobion

I'm taking a break this week, but the North Bucks Wanderer will be wandering again next week. In the meantime, if you look over there... (points right for computers, down for phones) you can look through the NBW archives either by date or subject. With over fifteen months of posting, there's bound to be something you'll like.

Our area, or "stomping ground" covers the Aylesbury Vale district and the Milton Keynes district. It's a wiggly border. Sometimes it follows rivers; the Thame at Ickford in the South, the Great Ouse and its tributuary the Gove near Castlethorpe, and Wolverton. At Finmere it follows a Roman road. At one time Caversfield in Oxfordshire was part of Buckinghamshire, completely separate from the rest of Bucks.

Sometimes I'll go to the border, and I'll post another one of my Tales From the Edge. The photo at the top here is from one of those tales. The river Gove and the Grand Union canal are out of sight at the bottom of the valley, but on the other side, on top of the hill is Hanslope church. It's in Bucks.

Er, I seem to have written a post... Oh well, enjoy! I'll see you next week.