Saturday, 18 April 2015

Turville,Fingest,Skirmett Circular walk and Henley on Thames 17th April 2015

On the 17th April 2015 I left home for a hour and a half drive to Turville,Buckinghamshire via the M25 and M40. I arrived in Turville at about 1030 and park up outside the church.
 Turville or ( Dibley on filming days) is postcard pretty, with many of its cottages dating back to the 16th century.

Turville is Anglo-Saxon in origin and means 'dry field'. It was recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 796 as Thyrefeld.


The village was the location for outdoor scenes in the sitcom The Vicar of Dibley. In the series, the church of St Mary the Virgin was renamed "St Barnabus" 

The 1942 Ealing Studios film Went the Day Well?, in which German paratroopers invade a small English village, was filmed in Turville, as were many of the scenes from the 1963 comedy film Father Came Too!. Additionally many of the outdoor scenes of television show Goodnight Mr Tom were filmed in Turville, as was the dream scene in Bride and Prejudice.
Scenes have also been shot in the village for Midsomer Murders, Lewis, Marple, the 2008 Christmas special of Jonathan Creek, the British drama An Education and the 2009 BBC adaptation of The Day Of The Triffids



 Turville was home to Ellen Sadler, who fell asleep in 1871, aged eleven, and purportedly did not wake for nine years, becoming known as "The Sleeping Girl of Turvile". The case attracted international attention from newspapers, medical professionals and the public. Rumours persist in the region that Sadler was visited by royalty for a "laying on of hands"


 The full story can be read here.
Sleepy Cottage is also where Richard Armitage lives in The Vicar Of Dibley.



 The very door that you see Dawn French leave frequently in the Vicar Of Dibley.


St Mary The Virgin Church aka St Barnabus from The Vicar Of Dibley.

It is obvious why the timber-framed cottages and the beautiful flint built church of St. Mary The Virgin next to them, were chosen as the setting for the popular television series, 'The Vicar of Dibley'. Here is the epitome of a sleepy English village. Dawn French, as the replacement female vicar, meets stern resistance to her untraditional approach to religion, but is soon adopted and adored by the congregation. - See more at: http://www.beautifulengland.net/photos/index.php/buckinghamshire/turville#sthash.rRRiBom9.dpuf


A sight many will recognise as Geraldine (Dawn french) standing giving sermons in the Tv series.

If you look above the houses behind the village of Turville, you'll see Cobstone Hill and atop it, the 18th century Cobstone Windmill. This is another building that has had starring roles on the big screen. Most famously, it was used in the 1968 film 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang', as the home of Caractacus Potts and his family. It was this film that saw the mill be cosmetically restored, as it had suffered vandalism for some years before. In 1971 it was purchased by actress Hayley Mills and her first husband Roy Boulting, who fully restored it. Since then the windmill has been privately owned and used as a location for the likes of 'The New Avengers' starring Joanna Lumley and the 1996 film '101 Dalmatians'.


A Red Kite, the first of many.

Red Kite

Looking down on Turville from Cobstone Hill.
However, because it's privately owned, you can't get close to it. Bear this in mind if you decide to climb from Turville village to the top of Cobstone Hill in the hope of seeing where Dick Van Dyke  drove Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The most direct route to the property is extremely steep.
I was puffing away as I neared the top, a lot steeper than it first looks!!





Cobstone Windmill
The Windmill as in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Red Kite

I now walked a short stretch down a lane before taking a short section of The Chiltern way into Fingest.
The village name of Fingest comes from the Anglo Saxon name Thinghurst, meaning 'wooded hill where assemblies are made'. In the 16th century the name is recorded as Thingest and then Fingest.


My first glimpse of the church was lovely, the sun was shining,birds were singing and I could smell the freshly cut grass by the groundsman.I first guessed as I neared the church was it appeared to look Norman and I was confirmed correct as I read some history as I entered.

The parish church of St Bartholomew's dates from the early Norman period. It has an unusual tower, with a double vaulted roof. The church is a Grade I listed building.

The massive western Norman tower was built early in the 12th century and has unusual twin gables - it is believed that only one other similar construction exists in the country.

Each side of the bell chamber has paired openings with semi-circular roll moulded arches. The tower once held two bells, only one of which remains, dating from 1830.

The chancel has two chamfered lancet windows to the north wall, two restored fifteenth century two- light traceried windows to the south, and a 14th century "Decorated" style window to the east. The church also has a reworked 15th century octagonal font with traceried panels.

There are smaller openings lower down the tower, and a 13th century traceried window to the west. The tower is wider than the nave. These two made up the original church with the chancel added in the 13th Century.

The nave has impressive ancient woodwork to the roof, with five sets of principle rafters with collar beams supported by curved brackets and wind braces.


 In May, 2013 George Clooney and Matt Damon arrived in Fingest to work on their new film. The actors, who have worked together several times, were filming the period drama Monuments Men, which was released in February 2014, alongside The Artist actor Jean Dujardin.
I Passed The Chequers PH as it was still too early for a drink and probably wasn't open yet anyway.

I now walked along the road once more and took a turning heading towards Skirmett.



I stopped to look at my map as I was originally thinking of walking to Henley On Thames. A man cutting his hedge walked over to offer some help.
He suggested I walked up his gravel drive where a footpath takes you into Coombe Wood part of the Great wood.I set off up another steep hill into the wood.

A view back to Cobstone windmill


A view down to Skirmett

A panoramic view from the top of the hill
As you enter the woods there are several signs stating you must keep your dog on a lead and stick to the paths as there is vermin control in operation. Which said to me ,do either of these and you'll be shot!! Throughout the woods you could see the hides up in the trees used for shooting.

After a while it wasn't clear where the path went, so I ended up straying. I saw two different herds of deer that ran off on sight as well as rabbits, squirrels and pheasants.

I eventually found the footpath again but it didn't go in the direction I wanted to, so I ignored the warnings and went my own way constantly looking around for a angry farmer and shotgun!


I exited the woods and still not on any footpath walked along the edge of the wood in a field heading towards Hambleden.

I come down to a road and its at this point I decided a walk to Henley On Thames and back would probably be too long for today and I headed back up the road to Skirmett where I could visit the pub for a drink!
Red Kite



I eventually reach The Frog at Skirmett (formely The Kings Arms).

I tied Ben my dog up in the beer garden and went in to order a drink.

I got myself a half of Leaping Frog and  a packet of crisps to enjoy in the garden in the sunshine while taking in the beautiful views.


After finishing my drink I continued on my way through Skirmett.

I find a path I noticed on my way down earlier that heads back to Turville.I took this and head onwards with another pub in mind.



Another sign of Spring,Lambs. Spring isn't spring without seeing Lambs,bluebells and the first flowers emerging.Unfortunately  there were no bluebells today.

View back down to Turville from Cobstone Hill.

Cobstone Windmill

I now reach Turville and The Bull and Butcher PH.
 

The Bull and Butcher Inn has a long history and an interesting name. The building dates from 1550, but did not become licensed premises until 1617, when workmen, rebuilding the church, refused to continue unless ale and food were supplied to them. The ale house was originally known as, "The Bullen Butcher", but has been corrupted over the centuries to create a name associated with meat – "The Bull and Butcher". 'Bullen' is derived from Ann Bullen, who became Ann Boleyn at the French Court. The "Butcher" is, of course, Henry VIII, who had his wife beheaded. The Inn is now a listed Grade 2 building. - See more at: http://www.beautifulengland.net/photos/index.php/buckinghamshire/turville#sthash.8gHFPTTR.dpuf
The Bull and Butcher Inn has a long history and an interesting name. The building dates from 1550, but did not become licensed premises until 1617, when workmen, rebuilding the church, refused to continue unless ale and food were supplied to them. The ale house was originally known as, "The Bullen Butcher", but has been corrupted over the centuries to create a name associated with meat – "The Bull and Butcher". 'Bullen' is derived from Ann Bullen, who became Ann Boleyn at the French Court. The "Butcher" is, of course, Henry VIII, who had his wife beheaded. The Inn is now a listed Grade 2 building. - See more at: http://www.beautifulengland.net/photos/index.php/buckinghamshire/turville#sthash.8gHFPTTR.dpuf
 The Bull and Butcher Inn in Turville gives you another chance to follow in the steps of many an actor who's dropped in to this historic pub for a pint as part of a real take, in between takes or after a take! Built in 1550, it's a listed grade II building.

The Bull and Butcher Inn has a long history and an interesting name. The building dates from 1550, but did not become licensed premises until 1617, when workmen, rebuilding the church, refused to continue unless ale and food were supplied to them. The ale house was originally known as, "The Bullen Butcher", but has been corrupted over the centuries to create a name associated with meat – "The Bull and Butcher". 'Bullen' is derived from Ann Bullen, who became Ann Boleyn at the French Court. The "Butcher" is, of course, Henry VIII, who had his wife beheaded. The Inn is now a listed Grade 2 building. - See more at: http://www.beautifulengland.net/photos/index.php/buckinghamshire/turville#sthash.8gHFPTTR.dpuf
I enter and order a half pint of Oxford Gold, not cheap at £1.95 for half but still very nice.

Outside again in the village I look at The Telephone box that houses not a phone but a defibrillator. I have seen many different uses for these boxes now out in the country ranging from Tourist information boxes to libraries!



After a final look around Turville, I jump in the car to drive to Henley on Thames some 6 miles away.
I arrive in Henley and drive around looking for a car park. Henley is a huge contrast to the pretty villages nearby and I sit in traffic for a while trying to get around the town.
I eventually park up in Waitrose car park and paid my 50p for an hours parking and walked into the town.

The first record of Henley from 1179, when it is recorded that King Henry II "had bought land for the making of buildings". King John granted the manor of Benson and the town and manor of Henley to Robert Harcourt in 1199. A church at Henley is first mentioned in 1204.

Henley is a world-renowned centre for rowing. Each summer the Henley Royal Regatta is held on Henley Reach, a naturally straight stretch of the river just north of the town. It was extended artificially. The event became "Royal" in 1851, when Prince Albert became patron of the regatta.


The church of St. Mary is nearby, and features a 16th-century tower.
Singer Dusty Springfield (1939–1999) has a gravesite and marker in the grounds of St Mary the Virgin parish church. Her ashes were scattered in Henley and in Ireland at the Cliffs of Moher. Each year her fans gather in Henley to celebrate "Dusty Day" on the closest Sunday to her birthday (16 April). I missed this as it occurred the day before.

Actor Orlando Bloom has property in Henley-on-Thames.



Henley Bridge is a five arched bridge across the river built in 1786. It is a Grade 1 listed building. During 2011 the bridge underwent a £200,000 repair programme after being hit by the boat Crazy Love in August 2010.




I walked around the town and riverfront, I came across evidence of Henley Brewery, unsure if this still exists.


The Malthouse


I passed the world famous Asquiths Teddy Bear shop on New street.



The Town Hall
I now return to the car, bought some lunch from Waitrose before leaving to drive around Henley to look for a Petrol Station to refuel before driving home. All in all a great walk of 7.5 miles.

Driving home was a bit of a nightmare, as I was in Henley my satnav suggested a different way home and saw me driving along the M4 which was fine until the traffic ground to a halt due to an accident, still I had a view of Windsor Castle across in the distance. Then were moving again before more traffic jams on the M25. I left the M25 and drove through Waltham Abbey after a few miles of jams. On reaching Abridge another long queue of traffic waiting to get across the bridge over the River Roding. I detoured a slightly longer route and eventually reached home.


2 comments:

  1. Great photos and write up, you certainly saw a lot. It did make me home sick as I use to live in High Wycombe and regularly walk the area. I now live in Devon. I remember the great storm when so many tress fell in the Chilterns on the short route from Fingest to Turville. There is a walk you can do around that area where you can almost see the windmill at ever key point, I use to call it the bloody windmill walk.

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  2. Thanks Allan, lovely part of the world. Must walk in the area again soon!

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