Rising steadily from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, to Albury, Oxfordshire, the Thame Valley Walk is a 15-mile route that links the North Bucks Way and the Aylesbury Ring.
The start of the walk passes through open pastures that are often wet or flooded and provide a valuable habitat for a wide range of wildlife, including birds such as redwings and lapwings.
It continues onto the village of Eythrope, home to Waddesdon Manor, one of the five great houses built by the Rothschilds in the Vale of Aylesbury in the late 1800s.
Black poplars, one of Britain’s rarest species of trees, line the route as it heads southwest towards Nether Winchendon and Chearsley. They are cut above head height out of the reach of grazing animals, a technique known as pollarding.
Take care crossing the railway line between Chearsley and Long Crendon before the walk follows a stream through an area of willow, poplar, oak, ash and alder that is home to pairs of breeding woodpeckers.
Long Crendon itself is home to the Courthouse, which was built in around 1550 and was one of the first buildings obtained by the National Trust. This 15th-century timber-frame property, which was used for parish activities for 400 years and dealt with crimes including the sale of bad fish, unlicensed brewing and overcharging customers, opens on various days throughout the year – check opening times with the property before visiting.
From Long Crendon, the Thame Valley Walk travels south to Thame before heading back out over open fields to Shabbington and Albury beyond.
Buckinghamshire County Council publishes a four-page guide to the Thame Valley Walk.
For those taking public transport, the start of the walk is within striking distance of Aylesbury train station. Haddenham and Thame Parkway, northeast of Thame and about 1.5 miles off the trail’s route, is the nearest station to the finishing point.