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Turville on TV

Climb into glorious woods and enjoy views you may find familiar.

Distance 3 miles (4.8km)

Minimum time 1hr 30min

Ascent/gradient 150ft (45m)

Level of difficulty Easy

Paths Field and woodland paths, some road walking, 9 stiles

Landscape Rolling Chiltern countryside, farmland and woodland

Suggested map aqua3 OS Explorer 171 Chiltern Hills West

Start/finish SU 767911

Dog friendliness On lead around Turville and Skirmett and across farmland

Parking Small parking area in centre of Turville

Public toilets None on route

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© AA Media Limited 2013. © Crown Copyright Licence number 100021153

1 Take the lane just to the left of the church entrance, with Sleepy Cottage on the corner. Pass Square Close Cottages and the village school before continuing on the Chiltern Way through a tunnel of trees. Climb gently to a gate and keep ahead along the field edge to a waymark in the boundary. Branch half left at this point, heading diagonally down the field to a stile.

2 Cross the road to a further stile and follow the track through the trees, passing a gas installation on the right. Pass a bench on the left before breaking cover from the trees. Avoid a path branching off to the right and continue up the field slope to the next belt of trees. Turville and its windmill are clearly seen over to the left. Enter the woodland and keep left at the junction. Follow the clear wide path as it contours round the slopes, with the ground, dotted with beech trees, rippling away to the left. Descend the hillside, keeping to the woodland edge. Follow the fence and bear left at the next corner, heading to a stile by Poynatts Farm.

3 Walk along the drive to the road, bear right and enter Skirmett. On the right is Cobs Cottage and next door to it is the aptly-named Ramblers. Pass the Frog Inn and follow the road south to the next junction. An assortment of houses, a telephone box and a post box line the route. Turn left, pass a stile on the right and walk along to the next left footpath. Follow the field edge to a bungalow and stile, cross over to a drive and make for the road.

4 Bear right, heading out of the village to the junction with Watery Lane. 'Except for access' signs can be seen here now. Look for the stile and footpath immediately to the right of it. Cross the field to a stile in the corner and make for the boundary hedge ahead in the next field. Cross the stile and head diagonally right to a hedge by some houses. Once over the stile, take the road opposite, signposted 'Ibstone and Stokenchurch'.

5 Walk up the road for about 120yds (110m) and swing left at the first waymarked junction. Follow the Chiltern Way between trees, offering teasing glimpses of the Chilterns themselves. Cross a stile and head diagonally down the field towards Turville. Make for a track and follow it to the village green.

A visit to the delightful Chiltern village of Turville leaves you with the impression that you may have been here before - not in reality perhaps, but in the private world of fantasy and imagination. It's more than likely you have been to Turville without ever leaving the comfort of your armchair. Puzzled? Then look a little closer as you begin this walk and you'll find the answer is quite simple.

Turville is one of Britain's most frequently used film and television locations. Its picturesque cottages and secluded setting at the bottom of a remote valley make it an obvious choice for movie makers and production companies. Over the years the village has featured regularly both on the large and small screen. Two notable productions in recent years have brought Turville to the attention of a new generation of television audiences. The BBC comedy The Vicar of Dibley, starring Dawn French in the title role, is filmed in the village and the tiny cottage by the entrance to the church doubles as the vicar's home.

Back in 1998, the village was extensively used in the award-winning ITV drama Goodnight Mister Tom with the late John Thaw. This delightful wartime story was an immediate hit and Turville's classic village 'Englishness' was the programme's cornerstone.

Goodnight Mister Tom may have been set during the Second World War, but one of Britain's most famous propaganda movies, filmed at Turville, was actually shot during it. Went the Day Well, based on a short story by Grahame Greene, dates back to 1942 and illustrates how a small English village is captured by German fifth columnists. Several locals and ex-residents of Turville recall how they moved props on a handcart and pushed rolls of barbed wire on cartwheels, which were used in the film as blockades. The Old School House, by the green, was the local police station in the story.

Overlooking the village is Cobstone Mill, an 18th-century smock mill, which has also played a key part in various productions. The windmill was used in a 1976 episode of The New Avengers television series in which Purdey and Gambit, played by Joanna Lumley and Gareth Hunt, drive through the village in a yellow MGB, chasing a helicopter that lands by the windmill. Cobstone Mill was also used in the delightful children's film classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), starring Dick Van Dyke as eccentric Caractacus Potts, who transforms an old racing car into a wondrous flying toy. The family lived in the windmill.

While you're there

Visit Turville's Church of St Mary the Virgin. There was a church here in the 12th century, but it is not clear if there was one on this site before that. The first vicar of Turville recorded on the roll in the porch was a Benedictine monk who came here from St Albans in 1228. The squat tower dates from about 1340.

Where to eat and drink

Though quite expensive, the Bull and Butcher at Turville at the start/finish of the walk is an ideal place for refreshment. The Frog Inn at Skirmett provides a good selection of home-cooked dishes and bar meals. There's a real fire, family room and garden.

What to look for

Some of the best views of the Chilterns can be enjoyed on this scenic walk. The chalk hills are thick with beech woods, which makes walking here a joy at any time of the year, and wherever you look there are dry valleys, hidden combes and dramatic escarpments.

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