Friday, 9 October 2015

Russell's Water, Ibstone, Turville Heath and Pishill

I am trying to make the most of any sunshine, particularly now the days are so much shorter. This time I decide to complete a missing section of the Chiltern Way that stretches from Ewelme, Oxfordshire all the way up to Hexton, Hertfordshire. Here is a map of the ten mile walk:

I started at Russell's Water (of Chitty-chitty bang-bang infamy) and headed for Pishill Bottom. The woods here have a very ancient feel and showed little sign of the approach of autumn.

pishill bottom woods

The Chiltern Way then wanders through over a mile of mixed woodland. I was surprised to find some Yellow Pimpernel out in flower. I am also happy to report that there were lots of fungi of different types. This one I am still trying to identify, it looks like a 'coral fungus' - possibly Lentaria afflata but could well be Wrinkled club (Clavulina rugosa).

coral fungus,club fungus

The next group of piny fungi were on the edge of the woods, I'd guess Lilac bonnet (Mycena pura).

fungi,lilac bonnet

Next it was out onto fields where there were quite a few arable weeds still in flower. A linnet that I often see at this time of year was soaking up some sun.


I then joined a section I had walked five years ago that heads north to Ibstone. On the way it passes the grounds of a grand house, near Wormsley Park - famous for its cricket ground and owned by the billionaire Mark Getty , this is the impressive monument there.


The views all around were splendid, particularly with some fair weather cloud.

Ibstone view

At the top of a steep slope was a nice patch of wild-flowers with clustered bellflowers, scabious and here marjoram. Alas no butterflies here, on the whole walk I saw just two speckled woods and one peacock - disappointing.


All around me on the walk was the sight and sound of pheasants, their life expectancy is rather short. All sorts of feeders were out to make sure they are nice and plump for the table.


I have visited Ibstone a few times now, most recently last year so I don't need to dwell on it again. I walked south and saw bonfire smoke just caught in the sunlight to make an atmospheric setting.

smoky view

Halfway between Ibstone and Turville Heath was a delightful find, a south facing slope covered with all sorts of chalk-loving wild-flowers. Many were still in flower including clustered bellflower, fairy flax, devil's bit scabious, centaury and here Chiltern gentian.

chiltern gentian

My route south then passed a field full of arable weeds still in flower including mullein (Verbascum thapsus).


I climbed up to Turville Heath with fine views all around. Here a few autumn tints can be seen in the trees.

view,Turville Heath

Turville Grange is an impressive house, once owned by the family of Henry Ford, another American billionaire. Before that it was owned by a princess - Princess Radziwill aka. Caroline Lee Bouvier the sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Turville Grange

Back to the countryside and another pretty autumn flower I often see is Black horehound (Ballota nigra).

black horehound

Pishill was my next destination. It is small hamlet, and has a small church to match. The church has an interesting history with the local Lord at Stonor (fiercely Anglo-Catholic) resisting increasing the salary of the vicar here. It is a modern church on an ancient site , it retains an unusual 14th century octagonal font. I was delighted to find a flapjack for sale in the church porch, it was delicious.

Pishill church

In the churchyard was a magnificent waxcap fungus. I think it may be Hygrocybe conica also known as Witch's Hat or less poetically, Conical Slimy Cap.

waxcap,Hygrocybe conica

By this time (4pm) clouds had come over and the last section was through woodlands. There were lots of fungi around. My last picture is another 'rarer' type I think this is possibly Trumpet Chanterelle (Cantharellus tubaeformis).

Trumpet Chanterelle,Cantharellus tubaeformis