Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Rotherfield Peppard, Bix and Henley-on-Thames

The start of November is often the best time for autumn colour. This year it seems to have come a week or so early. It is the beech trees that predominate on the chalk and they make a splendid show. I started the walk at Rotherfield Peppard north of Reading and walked on a circuit of about 12 miles taking in Bix and Henley-on-Thames. Here is a map of the route:


View Rotherfield Peppard to Henley in a larger map
autumn beech

It was not just the beech that was highly coloured, the bracken had changed colour too.

autumn bracken

Even though the last two posts have been full of fungi there is still room for a few more. I think this is Porcelain fungus.

porcelain fungus

The sun was still catching the autumn beech leaves.

autumn leaves

The path takes you right past the National Trust managed historic house at Grey's Court. The de Greys lived here for over 400 years.

Grey's Court

Heading north towards Bix, led me through some woods with many fungi, I have resisted posting all but the better shots.

fungi

fungi

fungi

There were a few flowers still making a noble effort for the time of year, mainly clover and some chicory but also scabious.

scabious

The path from Bix took me down a steep, narrow lane to Middle Assendon. A small village with a few too many modern houses. The pub -the Rainbow- looked very inviting. I was now on another long distance path, the Oxfordshire Way which I had used on a previous walk to Watlington. Here it soon leaves the village and climbs up high over the valley, with excellent views to the West.

Assendon View

All too soon the path is on the flat land on top of the ridge with no views. It is only after another mile or two that a view on the other Eastern side towards Marlow opens out.

Marlow View

Nearing Henley the trees that make up the hedge by the side of the path looked rather striking .

old hedge

Autumn colours were breathtaking in places.

autumn beech

The clouds came over on approaching Henley-on-Thames, so no great pictures of the town. A previous walk last year was more fruitful.

henley thames bridge

Walking back west on Grey's Road from the centre of Henley you come to the entrance of Friar Park. This is a special place because it was the home of George Harrison (the Beatle) for some years [1970-2001]. It is an eccentric late Victorian house built by Frank Crisp.

Friar Park,George Harrison,Henley

The path took me on the fringes of woodland, and these were full of the season's other main highlight - fungi. I had the choice of a walk along the bottom of the valley or along the top, with the ground decidedly damp the upper route proved better.

fungi

fungi

fungi

This was an ancient path called 'Pack and Prime Lane'; it offered an overland trek for goods from London to Reading when the river level of the Thames was too low for boats. Some views to the north had patches of purple-red; I am not sure what they were at this time of year.

Pack and Prime Lane

Finally I returned to the church at Rotherfield Peppard. It is on an old site but was rebuilt in the 1870s. The font looks old but very little else does. I just managed to catch the afternoon light streaming onto the altar.

rotherfield peppard church