It’s no secret that we love our railways here and my son has become quite a fan of Rob Bell and his railway walks. I’d bought a book about disused railway walks ages ago and recently my son picked it up to see if there were any close to us. We were both surprised to find that there is, so last month we spent some time exploring the Phoenix Trail which runs from Thame to Princes Risborough.
We joined the Phoenix Trail on the outskirts of Thame, having found free on-street parking close by. The trail is ideal for families to enjoy as the route is totally flat and can be enjoyed by cyclists too. It’s worth noting that there are no amenities on this trail, but there are benches or some sort of seating spaced at 500-metre intervals along the route.
Exploring the Phoenix Trail we could spot evidence of its previous existence as a railway line almost as soon as we joined the track.
From track to old station platform edging, to the bridges that would have crossed the tracks in days gone by.
Whilst I have a son who is fascinated by anything train related who loves exploring old railway lines, there are plenty of points of interest along the trail to keep children engaged.
From different artwork installations,
To markers along the trail depicting the solar cycle, with the sun moving at each point.
It will come as no surprise that my son’s favourite art installations were the signal seats. The signals actually move as you sit down on the seat. A big hit here.
We found exploring the Phoenix Trail the perfect way to spend a few hours, looking out across the countryside, listening to the birds. We felt as if we were in a different world and actually we were surprised by how quiet it was on the trail on the day we visited.
There’s a rather wonderful bench to sit and take a break along the walk, I quite fancy a smaller version for my garden, what do you think?
We didn’t walk all the way to Princes Risborough on this visit to the Phoenix Trail but we’re aiming to start the trail at that end next time when hopefully the Chinnor and Princes Risborough steam railway will be back in operation.
Have you walked any disused railway trails you could recommend we investigate?