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|Red Kites and Ridgeway|
|Author: NickC, Published: 06 Apr 2013||Walk rating : Rating:|
|Buckinghamshire, High Wycombe|
|This varied stroll through archetypal Chilterns countryside provides a number of opportunities to spot red kites, reintroduced into the area in 1989, with the first successful breeding taking place three years later. They are now commonplace in this area and you are virtually guaranteed to see them on this walk - don't forget your camera and binoculars. Look out for the wide (four foot) wingspan and forked tail, with chestnut red and white markings. A stretch of the Ridgeway National Trail is also included, as well as some excellent views over the Vale of Aylesbury. |
This is a fairly strenuous walk largely due to two steep hills, although both are scaled reasonably quickly and the views make the effort worthwhile. The walk is circular and should take around two hours to complete. There's a shop in Bledlow Ridge and a pub, although the latter is not open on Mondays. The track is mainly footpath, although there are some roads and pavements scattered around.
The walk starts and ends in Bledlow Ridge. From High Wycombe or Oxford, take the A40 to West Wycombe. Follow signs for the garden centre and head up Chorley Road, which brings you to the village. Follow signs for the school (Church Lane, just after the shop on your right) and park in the car park opposite (nearest postcode HP14 4AZ), although be sensitive to parking here either end of the school day. If the car park is full, try the village hall on the main road.
|Start to Lodge Hill Farm|
Start point: 51.6725 lat, -0.8478 long
Looking at the school entrance, head right down Church Lane and then right again on meeting the main road through the village. Follow the pavement, past the village hall and the community owned pub, The Boot. The pavement runs out after the pub but continue in the same direction, past the speed restriction signs, for about five minutes. Aim for the bus stops in either side of the road, where you take the first right down a no through road called Chapel Lane.
|Lodge Hill Farm to Ridgeway Junction|
Start point: 51.6834 lat, -0.8508 long
You are now on a made up road. Turn right, following the sign, down to a junction by some rusting farm machinery. Head left here and where the road runs out, by The Granary Barn, head slightly right to join the edge of a field. Pass a stile on your left and continue along the field, also ignoring the footpath striking out across the large field to your right. Stick with the hedge to the corner of the field, where there is another footpath to the left. Ignore this one also, but do take the next path on the left, a further thirty yards on. This heads down an alleyway through trees and for most of the year is identifiable by a puddle at its entrance!
|Ridgeway Junction to Bridleway|
Start point: 51.6974 lat, -0.8629 long
Take the path to the right, following the acorn signs for the Ridgeway. This brings you to another metal kissing gate. Until now, the going hasn't been too bad, but all that is about to change! But before that, look to your right to see if you can make out the hard to spot tumuli in the field below, marked on a map by the gate. Head right, with a barbed wire fence on your left. Continue with the path as it heads into the wood ahead, ignoring the path to your left, staying with the acorn signs.
|Bridleway to Manor Farm Cottage|
Start point: 51.6939 lat, -0.8496 long
After a further thirty yards pass through a wooden gate and continue following the acorn signs. Again, this stretch can get a bit muddy at certain times of the year. Follow the right hand edge of the field in front of you until you reach a junction of the Ridgeway with a footpath on the right. Take the footpath, leaving the National Trail at this point.
|Manor Farm Cottage to Business Park|
Start point: 51.6888 lat, -0.8401 long
Pick up the marker opposite the track, sending you along the left hand edge of a field. This can be a particularly good place to spot red kites, but don't forget to look up! Lodge Hill, which you climbed earlier, is now to your right at about two o'clock. Pass through the gap in the hedge and the path then crosses an open field along a well defined track that the farmer doesn't plough, with the railway line away to your left.
|Business Park to End|
Start point: 51.6807 lat, -0.8346 long
Continue to the crest of the hill and, taking care once more, cross the road and pick up the footpath, heading immediately left, downhill, keeping the road to the other side of the hedge. Follow the path down to just before the corner of the field, where there is a gap through the hedge which brings you back onto the road. Again, there's a short stretch of no pavement here, but just walk along the grass verge to where the road bends left, just by the speed restriction sign and near some houses where the owners all seem to have a penchant for solar power. You are now re-entering Bledlow Ridge
Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author NickC and may not be reproduced without permission.
We loved the views. A fine way to spend an afternoon.
|By seedybee68 on 15 Jul 2015|
This is a lovely part of the world but the walk has too much road (maybe 30%) part of which has no verge and is quite dangerous.
|By Incawalnut on 09 Oct 2016|
The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.
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My wife and I did your Petworth and Shimmings Valley walk yesterday. It was absolutely beautiful and enhanced by the wonderful weather. Your instructions were the clearest I have ever used for walking.
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Very enjoyable and well described route. Views over the river from the warren were stunning.
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Even on a cold windy day with it trying to snow this was still an excellent walk. We managed it with our 2 children of 5 yrs and one in a all terain pram (a defo no no with a normal pram). Will be doing this one again in the summer.
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