One Saturday in November, I found myself with no plans, and decided to go for a trail run in the Chilterns.
I’m far from being a pro-runner. My fitness and navigation levels mean I will generally take about twice the normal time to finish a run, but it’s still an awesome way to cover longer distances, especially in wintertime when days are short.
That day, I picked the Princes Risborough to Wendover 17km walk from the Time Out Country Walk Club 1, available on the website of the Saturday’s Walking Club. If you have an OS map app, the easiest way to do these walks is to download the trail on the app. Otherwise, the website gives you good indications to follow. But if you get lost, beware; it’s often very hard to find your way back on the trail with no map!
The run took me around three hours at a leisurely pace. It followed the Ridgeway Path, which is well signposted, unto woodlands and chalk downlands. There is some uphill bits – which might explain why I was so swore the next day – but you are well rewarded with incredible views of the Chilterns at the top.
The walk also takes you by Chequers, the prime minister’s country house, and the Boar War Memorial. It finally ends in the town of Wendover, which took me by surprise. For anyone who hasn’t visited, it is a quintessential British town: quaint, with small cottages and old shops offering anything from art, cheese and wine, to yummy desserts.
I strongly recommend a stop at the Rumsey’s Chocolaterie for a hot chocolate, a quick glance at A little bird told me, a small gallery with children’s book limited editions (think Roald Dahl) and a few hours at the Wendover Antiques indoor market.
The welcoming fireplace will draw you in another world where you will find yourself lost in between old books, pocket watches, vintage clothing, 18th century teapots, and WW1 medals.
The train back to London only took 50 minutes, and while I watched passengers get in, ready for their nights out in London, I cherished the prospect of a night with the 1950s book that I picked up at the market.