urban75 country walk: Princes Risborough to Wendover, Bucks
Report by urban75 editor, 2nd Jan 2006
The hangovers were huge after some hard Christmas partying at Offline and Unsound, but a hardy hardcore gang of seven turned up for the first walk of 2006.
We caught the train from the lovely Marylebone station to Princes Risborough, a small country town lying between the Vale of Aylesbury and the Western Escarpment of the Chiltern Hills.
The town is on the route of the Icknield Way (which claims to be the oldest track in the country), and stands 400 feet above sea level, affording excellent views of the surrounding Chilterns.
Princes Risborough was once a major junction, connecting with country branches to Thame and Watlingford.
Part of the Watlingford branch has been preserved, with the three and a half mile line running from near Princes Risborough to Chinnor station.
Chinnor and Princes Risborough railway
In this picture you can see the now-disused large ex-GWR signalbox.
Bucolic scene - note Whiteleaf Cross in the distance on the hillside.
Above the hamlet is Whiteleaf Cross, the earliest of the Chiltern Hill features.
First documented in 1742, historians believe that the cross may have been carved into the hillside chalk by monks in the 15th or 16th centuries, perhaps for navigational or devotional purposes.
We followed the Ridgeway Byway, which was well signposted throughout the route.
Walking towards Whiteleaf hill.
Climbing Whiteleaf hill.
Looking out from Whitleaf hill.
Team photo from the top of the hill.
We grabbed a pint and lunch at the Plough, Cadsden Road, Cadsden while waiting for the seventh member of our crew to meet up with us (a domestic crisis meant that she missed the train).
Heading towards Chequers.
Towards Pulpit Hill.
Around Pulpit Hill.
Passing Chequers, the Prime Minister's country residence. The building was given as a country home for PMs in 1917 by Lord Lee of Fareham
The path keeps a fair distance from Chequers, although security is still tight. As we walked across the approach road, CCTV cameras whizzed around to monitor our progress - a bit of a strange feeling when you're in the middle of a field!.
Perhaps it was the dreadlocks that made them think there was an anarchist invasion coming their way. Or maybe it was the Cardiff City FC hat!
Team shot in the forest.
With so many signposts scattered all along the route, it's almost impossible to get lost (although out tour guide did have to undergo the humiliation of asking a passer by directions!).
View from the National Trust-owned Coombe Hill overlooking Aylesbury Vale.
A family was sending off balloons with messages from the top of Coombe Hill.
Watching the balloons disappear, Coombe Hill.
Coombe Hill scene.
Standing atop Coombe Hill is a grand monument dedicated to the men of Buckinghamshire who died in the Boer War.
Sited in a Metropolitan Green Belt and Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Wendover is a picturesque, small market town.
The town has had a Royal charter to hold a weekly market since 1464 and its good connections to London have resulted in house prices soaring.
In this view, you can see the half-timbered Red Lion Hotel.
A well deserved pint was had by all in the White Swan on the High Street, Wendover.
Some pub pondering.
Waiting for the train home from Wendover station. Top day out - nice one Hollis!