"Secrets of" Guided Walks

Secrets of Quainton

Quainton's cap millThe cap and fantail of Quainton's windmill.

The Green

Quainton is very well known for its many half timbered buildings. I can’t tell you about you about all of them, but when you see them around the village, just assume they are 17th Century; you’ll almost always be right.

This walk is three quarters of a mile long mile, or a mile and a half if you choose to do the long version with the views. You can usually park on the Green (See the map), and this walk starts on the lowest point of the triangular grass part of the Green.

At your feet is a manhole. It’s not very old, but it’s where one of a system of village pumps once stood. If you listen carefully, you may be able to hear running water. The pump on this spot was the second one in line; you’ll find the first one on Church Street.

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Secrets of Olney, Part 2

Olney shadow factoryOnce a shoe factory, then a WW2 shadow factory, now flats.

Part Two of Two

The town of Olney, often pronounced “Ohney” lies on the River Great Ouse. There’s been a river crossing here for a long time, and a minor Roman road crossed the river about where the modern bridge lies.

There’s plenty of free parking. In the car park in the middle of the Market Place there’s a three hour limit, but on the roads around there it’s just an hour. Away from the Market Place there’s no time limit on the High Street.

Olney has a great many old buildings, but I’ve just picked out the ones I found most interesting. I’ve divided the town up into two walks, both about a mile and a quarter long. The first Olney walk was published here last week.

Secrets of Olney Walk 2 of 2

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Secrets of Olney, Part 1

Wooden town sigh  OlneyOlney's town sign, in the Market Place.

Part One of Two

The town of Olney, pronounced “Ohney” by many locals, lies on the River Great Ouse. There’s been a river crossing here for a long time, and a minor Roman road crossed the river about where the present bridge lies. It’s the home of the yearly Olney Pancake Race.

There’s plenty of free parking in the town. In the middle of the Market Place there’s a three hour limit, but on the roads nearby it’s just an hour. Away from the Market Place there’s no time limit on the High Street.

Olney has a great many old buildings, but I’ve just picked out the ones I found most interesting. I’ve divided the walk up into two halves, both about a mile and a quarter long. The second half of the guided walk will be published here next week.


Secrets of Olney walk 1 of 2

 

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Secrets of Oving

Oving Hill  BucksOving Hill and Ammonite (squatter's) Cottage. You can see North Marston at the foot of the hill.

A "Secrets Of" Guided Walk

The village of Oving sits high on a hill above Aylesbury Vale. There’s a Roman road, two squatter’s cottages, and amazing views.

In this walk there’s a couple of sections you can choose not to take, but you’ll miss out on the views if you do. The whole walk is just over two miles, but without the two sections (see map) it’s under a mile.

There’s parking to the left of the early 17th Century Black Boy pub. From there, walk back past the pub to the junction.

On the right of the pub is a lane that leads to the Hossil, or horse hole; a pond that’s said never to dry up or freeze.

The Hossil is just a pond, but it’s fed by at least one of the springs on the hill top. Oving stands on the edge of two watersheds. To the North, water runs into the Wash via the Great Ouse. To the South, streams eventually feed the Thames. The springs were used until mains water came to the village in 1939.

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Secrets of Haddenham

Dragon font  HaddenhamThe dragon font.

A "Secrets Of" Guided Walk

The village of Haddenham has over 120 listed buildings, and most of them are made of an unusual material; Witchert.

Witchert was cheap and available. It could be dug up out of the ground just where you wanted to build, so it was used for all sorts of buildings and walls up to about 1920. Here are some of them.

The shortest version of this walk is slightly over half a mile, or 900m; good if you are not too mobile. The longest version is a mile and a quarter, or 2.6 km.

To get there, take the A418 South West from Aylesbury, and when you get near to the village, a couple of miles off the main road, follow signs for Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital. Keep on past the entrance to Tiggywinkles and park next to the green; there’s a pond.

You might see some Aylesbury ducks at the pond; they used to be bred in the village. This breed is easy to recognise. The plumage is white, the bill is pink, and the legs and feet are orange. They are quite large, especially compared to the other ducks I saw on the pond. Ducks with an orange bill are not Aylesbury ducks.

Haddenham has often been a location for film and television. Eleven episodes of Midsomer Murders have been filmed here, and when Kermit, Fozzie Bear and Gonzo parachute into England in The Great Muppet Caper, it’s this pond they end up in.

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Secret Whitchurch

St John's church  WhitchurchThe church, at Whitchurch.

There’s more to the ancient village of Whitchurch than you might think, if you are just passing through. Amongst other things, hidden away are a secret World War 2 workshop, a castle, and a Tudor house that’s in disguise.

I parked on the High Street, facing towards Winslow, a little way North of the petrol station. I was right next to a post box. If you can’t find a spot there, try the side streets on the South (Aylesbury) end of the village.

Keep on the same side of the road and walk North towards the Winslow end of the High Street. There’s a long half timbered house on your left, just after the gentle left hand bend. This 16th Century house is now known as Winster Paddocks, but it was once a coaching inn called The Cock Inn, and from 1914 to 1989 It was a butcher’s shop.

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