Roald Dahl in the Chilterns
Roald Dahl, Little Missenden, The Chilterns
Just south of Great Missenden, where Roald Dahl lived for much of his life, is the village of Little Missenden and its surrounding woods and meadows. Fill the landscape with the characters from his stories as you walk. Explore the woods, teeming with pheasant, ready to be poached by Danny and his father. Run past a farm fit for Boggis, Bunce or Bean. Spot animal holes in the banks where Fantastic Mr Fox and Badger surely still live. Have a fantastic feast on an open hillside. Pass a very grand house where the Giraffe, the Pelly and the Monkey would have been gainfully employed to clean all the windows.
Distance 6.5 km/4 miles
Terrain One gentle climb, but mostly flat or downhill, fields of wheat with paths through the middle, the best bluebell woods we’ve seen, old farms, cricket pavilions, lakes, streams and wildlife.
Walk the Walk
START THE WALK: The Village Green, Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire (OS Explorer Map 172 grid ref: )
1 Opposite the pub, is the village hall. By the side of this runs Toby’s Lane, signposted Chiltern Heritage Trail. Walk up here, past the black and white cottage. Take the footpath ahead of you into the woods.
2 This a deeply cut, ancient path that climbs gently. Look out for fox and badger holes in the banks. Keep going, taking the left fork where the path splits.
3 The path opens up with a rape field on your right and shortly you will see a stile in the hedgerow, on your left. Climb over, turn right, and walk along the edge of the field for 50m/55 yards, then turn left, following the hedgerow that divides the two fields.
4 Halfway along, cut through the gap in the hedge to the other field and follow the path diagonally across the field and along the far hedgerow. Look out for pheasant and other game.
5 Walking towards Bunce’s farm, or maybe the Greggs farm from The Magic Finger, you will see a stile to your left, just before an avenue of trees. Climb over the stile and walk diagonally across the field, heading for the gap between two houses.
6 Walk right out onto the lane. Turn right, passing Griffin Cottage and then, very shortly, turn left onto a footpath into the wood. You will now be walking through a wooded glade, filled with bluebells in early summer. Some of the best we’ve seen on all our walks in southern England.
7 Keep going straight on the path, passing a large pylon. Here the path narrows and dips away. Keep going straight on down the hill, passing an electricity substation and down to a double stile.
8 Take the left hand stile and cut across the field gently down hill. This is a perfect place to enjoy a picnic and a Fantastic Feast, raise a toast to Roald Dahl and Fantastic Mr Fox.
9 The path joins a dirt track. Walk straight over, following the footpath sign. Don’t follow the track left. At the clump of trees, turn left.
10 Go through the kissing gate and turn right down the lane. This will take you past a beautiful old cricket pavilion and Amersham Cricket Club. At the end of the metal fence, turn left, heading on the South Bucks Way through the Cricket Club and over the stile into the woods again.
11 On your right is a small lake with ducks. On the hill above on the left is a vast mansion, Shardeloes House. It has plenty of windows for the Giraffe, the Pelly and the Monkey to clean.
12 Keep going straight on, back along the valley floor. The path joins a dirt track to a farm and soon arrives back at the village and the pub. Turn left on the road.