Hambleden shop Review

St Mary’s Church, Hambleden

Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

Out on one of my bike rides, the Ravenous Rambler stopped at the Hambleden shop for tea. The village is one of those quintessential English villages. A dog sleeps in the middle of the road, there is a an old well by the tree in the centre of the village square and there are delightful old brick and flint cottages all at odd angles around the village. There is a little bridge over a stream from where you get a good view of the allotments that are a blaze of colour with flowers and vegetables growing together. The church and pub complete the scene. The place is a much used film location; 101 dalmations, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Midsomer Murders to name a few.
Just down the road is the River Thames and Hambleden Lock. Jerome K Jerome wrote “…the rather uninteresting river residence of my newsagent – a quiet unassuming old gentleman, who may be met with about these regions, during the summer months, sculling himself along in easy vigorous style, or chatting genially to some old lock-keeper, as he passes through”. He was writing about the owner of the large newsagent chain of WH Smith. The estate was owned by Henry Smith’s family since the 1870s but sold recently. The most notable resident was Lord Cardigan who was born in the manor house and led the famous Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimea.
There are seats just outside the shop and its a great place to take some time out and sit to have some tea or an ice-cream. They serve the tea in a china pot with milk in a jug on a silver tray. It was wonderful tea and I had some locally made carrot cake that was superb. The best thing about this shop is the locally sourced products. There is a good selection of meat and vegetables as well as all the usual provender of a local shop. There is a constant stream of locals, some with children stopping by for a chat and an ice-cream. Several builders and other tradesmen stopped by for some refreshment as well. You can sit and people watch all day. A delightful child was eating her ice-cream and asking her mummy questions like – “ Mummy, how are houses built?” and “Mummy, how are people made?” The latter question she cleverly avoided.
Hambleden is the centre of some of the best walks and cycle rides in the Chilterns so I do commend it as a refreshment place.
5 stars.


West Wycombe Walks and food

West Wycombe

Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

The old coaching village of West Wycombe is an excellent centre for splendid walks and there are plenty of places where the ravenous rambler can get some refreshments.
I had lunch at the West Wycome garden centre this week. There is a small indoor eating area and then some seats outside with a nice vista. It was rather a strange ordering process – you have to go to the till in the main shop to order and they only have one menu!
I chose a quiche with salad for £4.50 and a pot of refreshing tea and settled down in the shade of the indoors. The salad was very good although no dressing and the quiche was quite small although for the price these days I suppose it was reasonable value and filled a small place inside. The tea was refreshing but the service seemed unfriendly on a day when there was hardly anyone around.
I then went for a short but splendid walk around the National Trust property of West Wycombe Park. The views at this time of year were splendid with trees overhanding the rivers. I walked through the deep cow parsley on a grassy path that passed follies and bridges over a meandering brook. This is not a wild place but a carefully manufactured parkland in the manor of Capability Brown. It is beautiful and an escape from the world outside. A swan with six cygnets swam past and I spotted a kestrel in the trees and several low flying kites. The view of the house from the other side of the lake is beautiful and I came away feeling quite refreshed by the experience.