WHEN you visit Turville for the first time, don’t be surprised if the place looks familiar.
So many films and TV shows have been shot in and around this picturesque Buckinghamshire village that a sense of deja vu is almost unavoidable.
From the Vicar of Dibley and Midsomer Murders to Killing Eve and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the quaint buildings frozen in time against the glorious backdrop of the Hambleden Valley are often indelibly etched on our memories.
Isn’t that the windmill in which Dick van Dyke – sorry, Caractacus Potts – lived with the children back in 1968 when Chitty Chitty Bang Bang hit the big screen?
And isn’t that Geraldine Granger’s cottage in The Vicar of Dibley? And the church where she preaches?
Don’t worry, you’re not imagining it – you really have seen these places before.
In fact Geraldine’s Grade II-listed home in the grounds of St Mary the Virgin Church hit the national headlines when it went up for sale in 2022 for the first time in 60 years.
But then this is the English countryside at it’s best, so it’s not surprising that the ramblers and sightseers flock here at weekends, sometimes clogging the narrow country lanes as they explore the pretty villages, historic churches and cosy pubs that they’ve seen on TV.
Most are keen to combine a leisurely ramble with a sociable Sunday lunch in a classic country pub, so hostelries like Turville’s Bull and Butcher are popular watering holes.
Built in 1550, the quintessentially English pub boasts large open fires and original beams in the winter and a large sunny garden and patio area for warm summer days.
Owners Brakspear know there’s nothing like a walk in the countryside to work up an appetite, so they’ve produced a handy free app describing dozens of circular walks around many of their pubs, some like the Bull boasting downloadable leaflets you can print out too.
A trio of walks feature on the Turville leaflet, ranging from an hour-long wander round the village taking in the church and distinctive Cobstone Windmill – a smock mill dating from around 1816 that was owned by the actress Hayley Mills in the 1970s – to longer and slightly more demanding routes taking you further afield to the villages of Skirmett, Frieth and Fingest.
Incorporating clear directions, pictures and some useful snippets about local history, there are similar leaflets covering routes around other Brakspear pubs in the valley.
Weekend ramblers in this part of the world are also likely to stumble across fans of the Midsomer Murders detective series hot on the trail of DCI Barnaby, thanks to a downloadable guide to the Hambleden Valley launched in 2018.
The 17-mile circular route from Marlow to Hambleden, Fingest, Lane End and Frieth features locations from the TV series and includes tourist attractions like the Chiltern Valley Winery and Brewery and Lacey’s Farm.
But this valley is a veritable magnet for ramblers, cyclists and nature lovers, and if you want a friendly guide to an even wider range of picturesque routes around the area, Chilterns-based runner, trekker and “general mud-lover” Richard Gower has a whole range of illustrated walks on his website.