Leg 2: Streatley to Barton-le-clay
What a magical experience walking the second leg of the North Chiltern Trail proved to be. Yes, It took me to “my world of dreams so far away”.*
Few words are necessary. I will let the views convey the glorious, early descent into Autumnal exuberance of this four mile joy.
Streatley Church has stood for centuries and seen season upon season pass.
Sloes, hips, haws, brambles, rowan berries, windfall – a russet, scarlet, blue rubber kaleidoscope deserving of a kindly witches’ brew
A stroll across Smithcombe Hill (the less-visited but kinder kin of Sharpenhoe) gifting views over Barton, Silsoe, Pulloxhill and off and beyond to the many unspoilt parts of Bedfordshire. The traveller’s joy ; yes those old men are coming……………………….
Downlands, kind underfoot with rabbit-nibbled turf. Chalk hill blues abound; peacocks, small tortoiseshells, commas……….
And onwards to the grand dame of the Clappers (“claperious, meaning rabbit warren). The sharp edged ridge which is my point of reference on all local walks. A glimpse through the trees down into Sharpenhoe.
And there in the far off but easily ploddable distance my Harlington home. I know I can pick my own dwelling out. They say “bloom where you are planted”. Perhaps, perhaps I will ever stay trudging Bunyan’s “delectable mountains”. Can I claim them as my own? No. They belong to the Earth, the Universal Spirit, The Great Love. However, they have claimed a residence in my heart.
Apparently the maximum break in snooker is 147. Well, that’s the number of steps I counted down.
The path then crosses the old Sharpenhoe manor (Bury Farm) and heads right onto the stiff, stick in the clay village of Barton.
The old mill was hosting a craft fair in its car park and Covid restrictions allowing would I imagine be open for refreshments. At this point I diverged from the mapped trail. Crossing the A6 at Streatley on the last leg was doable if a little frightening. I see no reason at all to cross the A6 Barton bypass at this point as the guidebook states.
A sharp right turn down a footpath just before the Mill takes you alongside a stream which runs adjacent to the roadway and then up some steps to emerge onto the lane which leads into Barton. The A6 can then be crossed safely by bridge . Home in time for elevenses.
This really is a super 4 mile walk. Refreshments at beginning and end. One steep descent (care in wet weather). Guidebook (here) gives directions for a circle back to the beginning if you so require. OS Map 193 useful but walk well-signposted.
She’s always there……………
*”White horses” Jackie