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Ellesborough and Chequers Court

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Ellesborough and Chequers Court
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 31 Dec 2011 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Buckinghamshire, Chilterns
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Ellesborough and Chequers Court
Length: 5 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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A 5 mile walk in the Buckinghamshire Chilterns which takes walkers on a circular route around Chequers Court, the Prime Minister’s official country residence. Taking in a range of hills and valleys within the Chiltern’s area of outstanding natural beauty the views are beautiful from many points. The walk also includes a section of the Ridgeway, said to be Britain’s oldest road.

The walk follows woodland and field paths which will be very muddy and slippery after wet weather. There are several fairly steep ascents and decents including a number of steps. The walk passes over six stiles (all of which have open fencing alongside for dogs to pass through) and a number of gates. Approximate time 2 to 2.5 hours.

The walk starts from the crossroads of Butler’s Cross on Ellesborough Road between Wendover and Ellesborough, where there is some free parking. Ellesborough Road is accessed from the A4010 between Princes Risborough and Stoke Manderville. Approximate post code HP17 0TS.

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Walk Sections

Butler’s Cross to Springs Cottage
Butler’s Cross to Springs Cottage

Start point: 51.7552 lat, -0.7804 long
End point: 51.7553 lat, -0.791 long

From Butler’s Cross walk north up Chalkshire Road with the Russell Arms pub on the right. Opposite houses numbers five and six, turn left into a footpath signed for Aylesbury Rings. Cross over a total of four stiles as you go down this narrow footpath fenced between fields of horses. All of the stiles are within open fencing with gaps at the side or underneath that most dogs should be able to pass through.

Continue straight ahead along the grass field edge path, and then as you emerge onto a track, follow the path straight ahead until you reach Springs Cottage on the right.

Springs Cottage to Hedgeline
Springs Cottage to Hedgeline

Start point: 51.7553 lat, -0.791 long
End point: 51.7506 lat, -0.7915 long

Pass over the left hand of the two stiles in front of you (which does have an adjacent dog gate) and then turn left heading uphill towards Ellesborough Church. At the top of the hill pass over the stile (again with an adjacent dog gate) and go up the steps into the churchyard. Go straight ahead and pass by the church on your left.

Exit the church yard via the gate at the front of the church, cross over the road and turn right for about 40 yards past a bus stop. Turn left through a kissing gate and follow the grass path uphill until you reach the hedgeline.

Hedgeline to Ridgeway
Hedgeline to Ridgeway

Start point: 51.7506 lat, -0.7915 long
End point: 51.7414 lat, -0.7936 long

Pass through the kissing gate within the hedgeline and then follow the grass path as it swings to the right of Beacon Hill. As you draw level with the hill, go straight ahead through a gate into a section of woodland. Climb the steps to pass through the trees and then as you emerge at the top, cross over the field and follow the grass path as it continues into the next belt of trees.

Cross over a mud vehicle track and pass through the kissing gate opposite. Go ahead with the fence boundary to the woodland to your left, and after 50 yards veer away from the fence to the right to pass diagonally up the centre of the grass field. You will reach a metal kissing gate at the top corner of the field.

Ridgeway to Crossroads
Ridgeway to Crossroads

Start point: 51.7414 lat, -0.7936 long
End point: 51.7374 lat, -0.7724 long

Do not pass through this kissing gate, instead turn left to follow the path across the top of the field. You are now on the Ridgeway. The Ridgeway has been in use since at least 3,000BC and is commonly regarded as Britain’s oldest road. The original route stretched for 250 miles between the Dorset coast and The Wash.

At the far side of the field pass through the gate and continue ahead down the mud track. On the right is woodland and on the left is the (very sturdy!) metal barrier fence for the Chequers Estate. As you continue along this track you will have great views of the Chequers house. Don’t be fooled by the apparent lack of security – the property is well protected but in a very discreet way.

Chequers Court, or simply Chequers as it is known, probably gained its name in the 12th century because it may have been inhabited by Elias Ostiarius, the surname meaning usher of the Court of the Exchequer. An alternative explanation is that the house is named after the Chequers Trees that grow in the grounds. Chequers was given to the nation as a country retreat for the serving Prime Minister in 1917, when a new breed of politician meant that these men did not have their own country palaces to entertain foreign dignitaries.

Soon after the track bends to the right, turn left through a gate signposted for the Ridgeway. Continue ahead with the field fence on your left. Pass over the driveway of Chequers via three gates and continue ahead along the field edge mud footpath. At the end of the field, pass through a gate, cross the road and continue along the Ridgeway into the woodland opposite (marked with a blue arrow and white acorn).

Follow the path as it meanders through the trees and begins to climb until you reach a cross roads with the bridleway and the South Bucks Way.

Crossroads to Combe Farm
Crossroads to Combe Farm

Start point: 51.7374 lat, -0.7724 long
End point: 51.7479 lat, -0.7784 long

Turn left here along the bridleway. At the next junction where a number of paths meet, turn left onto the tarmac lane, and then after a short distance turn right onto Missenden Road. Opposite the lodge house, after just a few paces, turn right onto the mud footpath into the trees.

As you come to a gate across the path, turn left with a golf course in front of you. Follow this track to the road with Combe Farm on the right.

Combe Farm to Ellesborough Church
Combe Farm to Ellesborough Church

Start point: 51.7479 lat, -0.7784 long
End point: 51.7526 lat, -0.7898 long

Cross over the road and turn right along the narrow pavement. After about 100 yards, turn left through a staggered barrier fence to access the clay footpath going diagonally uphill across the crop field.

At the opposite end of the field pass through a staggered gate and turn right onto a track. You will emerge onto the road opposite Ellesborough Church. Cross over the road and enter the church yard through the gate. This time take the right hand path heading towards the church entrance and then follow this path to the right with the church on your left.

Ellesborough Church to Butler’s Cross
Ellesborough Church to Butler’s Cross

Start point: 51.7526 lat, -0.7898 long
End point: 51.7555 lat, -0.7828 long

The Church of England parish church of Saints Peter and Paul has stone carvings of the two saints above the entrance and many Prime Ministers have attended this church for morning worship when in residence at Chequers.

Leave the church yard via the gate at the far side of the church and you will pass between two cottages named after St Peter and St Paul. Follow the tarmac slope down to the road and continue along the pavement through Ellesborough. Famous residents of Ellesborough are said to include the actor Sir David Jason and Formula One driver Sir Jackie Stewart. Follow the pavement back to the crossroads at Butler’s Cross.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2011 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


1 responses to "Ellesborough and Chequers Court"

We took this walk on 6 April 2013, on the first spring day with lots of sun and rising temperatures. We were delighted with the varied vistas and the terrain. We highly recommend this walk and plan to do it again in the autumn to enjoy the trees with foliage.

By deeyon on 2013-04-07 12:49:07

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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