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July 24th 2021 Wendover and the Chilterns Challenge

Event led by Khris
Attendance: 4
Distance: 15.16 miles (24.4km)
Time: start 10:26, end 18:12, lunch 35 minutes
Terrain: woodland, footpaths, bridleways, farm tracks and road.
Elevation: start 135m, high 252m, low 119m (Total ascent 625m)
Weather: Low cloud with intervals of sun, 20-22°C
Number of sewage work: 0
Number of churches: 3
Number of golf courses: 0

This was “The Chiltern’s Circular Challenge” walk with from the historical market town of Wendover via Princes Risborough.

We left Wendover for our first slow steep ascent to the hamlet of Dunsmore. Anglo Saxon in origin and means Dunna’s Moor. Most of the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust and is heavily wooded with beech trees. We continue through woodlands and arable land full of crops from wheat, barley, broad beans, corn and meadows full of colour.

We enter the Hampden Estate which is situated in Great and Little Hampden. Originally named Hamdena. The main feature is the magnificent property which was built and owned by the Hobart-Hampden family. The most famous was John Hampden who thought against the Ship Money Tax which was levied on the inhabitants of coastal areas of England. However, King Charles I extended it to inland counties without Parliamentary approval. This was one of the grievances of the English property class in the lead-up to the English Civil War. The isolation of the property made it attractive location for some scenes in the 1970 film Cromwell. In more modern times Hampden House was used extensively by the Hammer film studios as the perfect gothic backdrop for many of their films.

We pass through the hamlet of Redlands which is surrounded by magnificent European Larch and Ferns on our way to the village of Lacey Green and surrounding hamlets of Loosley Row and Wardobes. Here you have vistas looking over to Bledlow Ridge. Lacey Green was home to Heston Blumenthal in his younger days. This area is predominantly stables and agriculture. The Lacey Green windmill is the oldest surviving smock mill in England and was restored and owned by the Chiltern Society. We then descent to join the Ridgeway Trail in Princes Risborough.

Princes Risborough was owned by the monarchy for approximately 600 years with many a notable Royal. William the Conqueror granted the lands to for loyal service to the Giffards. On the family passing the land reverted back to the Crown. King Henry II, King Henry III, King Edward I, Queen Margaret, King Edward II, Piers Gaveston, King Edward III, Queen Isabella, The Black Prince (hence, name from changed from Great or Earl to Princes Risborough), King Richard II, King Henry IV, King Henry V, King Henry VI, King Edward VI, Queen Elizabeth I. King James I and Queen Anne of Denmark. Eventually, King Charles I whom sold it off to City of London to pay off the Crown’s debts.

Here we stopped for lunch on benches or front row seats for a spectacular show of the local raptors. The Red Kites averaging between 6 to 20 of them were dipping, diving, calling each other and riding the wind currents. Absolutely one of the most magnificent birds to watch in motion. One of the best success stories in England upon them being re-introduced to The Chilterns by the Getty Foundation.

We follow the Ridgeway Trail up Brush Hill and Whiteleaf Nature Reserve. A good indication is the Whiteleaf Cross on side of hill ‘chalk.’ This is claimed to have been a decision of local lord of the manor in 1742 to have a landmark on the hill. Panoramic views over the Vale of Aylesbury. Here we descent down to Lower Cadsden and the famous local pub “The Plough”

Here we stopped for a refreshing beverage. Spoke with owners due to the pub being promoted by previous PM David Cameron with the Chinese Premier. This made global news and the citizens from China have it on ‘must visit in UK.’ Apparently, David was a regular and frequently left at closing time; Theresa May never visited. However, being an avid walker – probably passed by on her walks with husband and Security. Our present PM Boris visited last July.

On departing we continue through meadows and woodlands with a magnificent array of blooms enticing the insects. We went through The Chequers (country retreat for the serving Prime Minister) permitted pathway to paparazzi corner at Buckland-more Farm Café. This is a hot spot for news media to park and wait for headline news. No media were present on this walk. We started our slow ascent to the top of hill before walking along the ridge to Coombe Hill. The memorial site of individuals from Buckinghamshire who perished in Second Boer War. This the second highest point in Buckinghamshire with the best views of the Vale of Aylesbury (The Rothschilds). On descending back to wonderful Wendover – Wendover Woods was in view with Halton House announcing itself (used as Mess Hall for RAF Halton)

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