This walk starts near the kiln at Nettlebed in the lane behind the bus shelter which runs parallel with the main road. There is usually plenty of parking available here (except when the Sue Ryder sale is on). It is approximately five miles on lanes, footpaths, tracks and through fields and woods. It’s a varied walk including a nature reserve and medieval church.
Start by walking along the lane eastwards, away from the village. Ignore turning on right and follow sign to Crocker End and Magpies. Immediately after this, branch left to Magpies. After a few minutes, ignore left turn to Magpies and continue on lane to Soundess House (cul de sac) ignoring any footpaths off the lane.
At the end of this lane turn left on to the Chiltern Way Extension signposted Russells Water 1½ miles. After a few minutes, the track continues round a sharp bend to right – leave the track here and go straight ahead. There is a sign on the gatepost marked SW27 and also a round Chiltern Way disc. The path goes along the side of the field to a gate. Continue down the hill, through trees, to another gate. Continue on path across fields down to a five-way junction: turn sharp right here, almost doubling back on yourself, along level path signposted Restricted Byway.
After a few minutes enter Warburg Nature Reserve. Ignore any paths left or right and continue until small car park on left hand side is reached: on the right there is a Visitor Centre, usually open every day, with toilets, bird hides, a few seats and daily bulletin update (2¼ miles from start). Join path again and continue, ignoring Restricted Way on the right shortly after leaving Visitor Centre.
After about ¾ mile, ignore Oxfordshire Way Bridleway on the left, and continue to an information board about the medieval church of St. James – it is worth taking a few minutes to look at the church.
A few yards further on, take right turn signposted Crocker End and The Chiltern Way Extension. The path is fairly steep for five or ten minutes then becomes easier and levels off to a kissing gate (about 25 minutes from the bottom). Carry on through a field to another kissing gate to Crocker End passing a house, The Leaze, on left.
Keep straight on along road passing houses on the right, a common/green on left and a post box on right (ignore path on right to Russells Water and Chiltern Way Extension).
Carry on past the 30-mile limit sign, keeping on the road, ignoring turnings on both right and left. Bear right, then keep straight on ignoring road to left and retrace steps to the start of the walk.
If time allows it is interesting to walk down the main street in Nettlebed to visit the church and to see the two colourful windows by John Piper and Patrick Reyntiens
June and David Proudler