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Ridgeway Ramble: Wendover to Princes Risborough

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Ridgeway Ramble: Wendover to Princes Risborough
Author: NickC, Published: 24 Apr 2013 Walk rating : Rating:star0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Buckinghamshire, Princes Risborough
Walk Type: Long distance path
Ridgeway Ramble: Wendover to Princes Risborough
Length: 7 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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Pick a clear day for this walk, as there's some great views to be had early on from the Coombe Hill War Memorial, both across the counties and, more immediately, down to Chequers, the PM's weekend country retreat, a closer view of which follows later on in the walk. The route follows the Ridgeway National Trail, and as such is marked by the acorn symbol throughout, which at times is just as well as there are some sections through beech woods where otherwise it might be easy to get lost. Towards the end of the walk you can stand on top of Whiteleaf Cross, one of a number of similar carvings on chalk hillsides along the Ridgeway, where there are also some more views.

This is a linear seven mile trek, with some fairly significant hills in between, so it shouldn't be tackled lightly. Allow a good two and a half to three hours to complete. It starts and ends in towns where refreshment is available, and there is a pub towards the end.

Ridgeway, Chequers, Coombe Hill Boer War Memorial

Wendover lies just to the east of the A413 Aylesbury Road, on the B4009. Park in the car park in the centre of the town (follow signs for the library) - closest postcode HP22 6DU. Both Princes Risborough and Wendover are on the Chiltern Line, but on different branches, so a connection would be required. Buses also run between the two towns, but check timetables before setting out, and again connections may be required via Aylesbury.

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Walk Sections

Start to Coombe Hill Memorial
Start to Coombe Hill Memorial

Start point: 51.7619 lat, -0.7431 long
End point: 51.7532 lat, -0.7718 long

Leave the car park to the main road and turn left, staying on the pavement past shops on the High Street until the roundabout. Cross over the road and resume your previous direction along Pound Street, heading for, and passing, the Shoulder of Mutton pub. Continue over the bridge over the A413 and continue up Ellesborough Road, ignoring the path on the right immediately after the bridge.

After about 250 yards, look for the fingerpost pointing left on the other side of the road, just as the road bends to the right. Take this path and follow it into Bacombe Hill. The path bends slightly to the left as it ascends, passing some tumuli along the way. Keep heading uphill for a little over half a mile. Ahead, the Coombe Hill Monument will act as a guiding beacon and target for the end of this section, where you will be able to enjoy a well-earned rest! The monument is a memorial to the fallen of the Boer War, erected in 1904.

Coombe Hill Memorial to Chequers
Coombe Hill Memorial to Chequers

Start point: 51.7532 lat, -0.7718 long
End point: 51.737 lat, -0.7806 long

From the Memorial, bear left from your previous direction of travel, following to top of the hill, looking down the escarpment to your right. Before too long, in the distance, you should be able to see Chequers, the Prime Minister's weekend residence, as well as a golf course, famously used by US Presidents as well as British Prime Ministers!

Pass along to the right of a line of gorse until a wire fence running downhill. Ignore the stile ahead, instead bearing left to a kissing gate amongst trees to the left. Pass through this and into a beech wood and then over a field slightly to the left. This brings you to a road with a cottage in front of you. Head right for 100 yards to a drive. Go through a gate and enter some fresh woodland. Stick with the National Trail signs and when a field on your left ends go through a stile on the right and maintain your direction. This brings you to a track and a T-junction.

Turn right (downhill) all the way to a road, which you need to cross. Pass through the kissing gate opposite (watch out for those CCTV cameras!) and follow the (very) clearly marked path, with a view of Chequers to your right. The path crosses over the main drive short of the lodge. The driveway here was planted with beeches by Sir Winston Churchill and is known as Victory Drive.

Chequers to Whiteleaf Cross
Chequers to Whiteleaf Cross

Start point: 51.737 lat, -0.7806 long
End point: 51.7288 lat, -0.8111 long

The path now cuts across a field, heading slightly left, towards Maple Wood, which it now skirts to the right, then left. At the end of this field and the beginning of another (Whorley Wood), take the gate to the left and head out across the field in front of you, bisecting the two woods. The path now heads uphill and comes to a kissing gate and the top of a coombe, a Site of Special Scientific Interest as it is a rare boxwood.

On meeting a crossroads of paths, head left, across a ditch and pass to the left of a small hill, known as Chequers Knap, going through a kissing gate under trees. You are soon following the edge of Pulpit Wood, on top of which lies an Iron Age hillfort. Pass through another gate and maintain your direction for a brief while, with the path heading right and then half-left through a gap in the scrub, bringing you into a field. The area to you left is another Nature Reserve.

Head across the field to some trees, where the path heads downhill between wire fences to Cadsden Road and The Plough pub. Just after the pub, the path heads off the bridleway and turns half-left into a beech wood via a kissing gate. Where the path divides head right, steeply uphill now, up Whiteleaf Hill. Princes Risborough now comes into view. Continue ahead to the partially hidden Whiteleaf Cross.

Whiteleaf Cross to Market Place Princes Risborough
Whiteleaf Cross to Market Place Princes Risborough

Start point: 51.7288 lat, -0.8111 long
End point: 51.7244 lat, -0.8324 long

Looking out over the cross, head left along a level path beneath trees to a car park. Head down to the road and turn right, going along the road until you reach a concrete drive heading uphill to the left. Head for a kissing gate and between woods and a line of trees. On reaching a kissing gate bear right to a road.

Do not cross the road, instead take a sharp 90 degree shift to the right to head across the field in front of you. At the lower slope to the hill there is a kissing gate which brings you onto the Upper Icknield Way - the spire of Princes Risborough church should be directly ahead of you. Turn left here until you reach New Road. Follow this downhill to Horns Lane, where you need to head left and where convenient cross the road, heading down the High Street and the Market Cross to reach the end of the walk.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author NickC and may not be reproduced without permission.

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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