Sunday, 17 November 2013

Wendover to Princes Risborough (The Ridgeway 3)

The Red Lion, Wendover

We resumed The Ridgeway on a very misty morning, picking up the route in the centre of Wendover and walking up the hill past some very attractive cottages. Further along we left the road to climb Bacombe Hill and then carried on up the 260m Coombe Hill. At the top is a monument which was erected in 1904, by public subscription, in memory of 148 men from Buckinghamshire who died during the Second Boer War. It is one of the earliest examples of a monument to the fallen, rather than to commemorate a victory.

There is apparently an excellent view from the top, but we could see nothing and so headed swiftly south along the side of the ridge to cross a road and enter a large area of woodland. The beech woods of Goodmerhill Wood were a delight to walk through.

At the end of the wood we crossed another road and entered the grounds of Chequers. It dates from the mid 16th century but has been much altered since and was given to the nation by Lord Lee of Fareham in 1917 to be used as a country retreat for the Prime Minister of the day. You can't see much of it - reasonably enough - as warning signs require you to keep to the outer edge of the park.

After crossing the main drive, you climb across a field and into more woodland. Just before you enter the wood there is a nice view across the fields with the roof of Chequers visible on the left and the Boer War monument just discernible on the end of the ridge.

We saw an especially fine tree as we left the next section of woodland.

Later we emerged into an open area, with farm buildings out of shot on the right, where a winding path led towards a lovely selection of autumn trees.

This brought us to Pulpit Hill where there was a great, but indistinct, view south west over Princes Risborough, with Wain Hill in the background.

We meandered our way down, passing the popular Plough pub at Lower Cadsden and then skirting Princes Risborough along the line of a former railway. We ended this leg when we hit the A4010. From the map, I had thought the Ridgeway turned right here, but the signs pointed left. We have found a number of discrepancies between the map and the signposts and have decided on a policy of the signs being the definitive route.

We had therefore bypassed Princes Risborough, but before we started I had a very brief look at the centre and took this picture of the Town Hall of 1824 located in the centre of the Market Place.

Conditions: misty, drizzle, clearing somewhat as the walk progressed.

Distance: 6.5 miles (18.3 covered so far).

Map: Explorer 181 (Chiltern Hills North).

Rating: four stars, but more for its potential appeal than today's walk which was rather frustrating.

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