Pete's Walks - Buckland Common and The Lee (part 1)

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If you are considering walking this route yourself, please see my disclaimer. You may also like to see these notes about the maps.

Google map of the walk

I did this walk of 11-12 miles on Wednesday 3rd December 2008. For the first time in what seemed ages, I did a new walk - but as it basically linked together sections of three previous walks, there were only a couple of short sections that I'd never walked before. I'd spotted the walk on my maps a couple of weeks ago - on my older copies of the OS Maps for the Chiltern Hills I have highlighted the long-distance paths that I walked, and I noticed a roughly triangular route consisting of parts of Walks 5 and 6 of the Chiltern Chain Walk and part of the Chiltern Link.

I started in Buckland Common, having parked by the post box in Bottom Lane (Grid Reference SP921071) where Walk 6 of the Chiltern Chain Walk starts and where I have twice started the penultimate walk of the Chiltern Way. I'd been late in leaving home and didn't start walking until about 10.15, but it was still a freezing cold and quite misty morning as I set off. I had to take care not to slip on ice as I followed the lanes out of Buckland Common, following the route of Walk 6 but in the opposite direction. I went a few yards to the end of Bottom Lane, then turned right. At the next road junction I turned left. Though it was grey and murky, I was just glad I could see anything as the previous time I'd walked the route in this direction I'd been in thick fog.

A rather frosty Buckland Common


I turned right, down the drive to Dundridge Manor, but soon took a field path on the left. After a hundred yards or so I turned right, crossing a field and passing to the left of Dundridge Manor farm. I continued straight on along a farm track, with gloomy views over the fields and valleys to my left. The track went up and down a slight dip, then when it turned left I carried on ahead over an area of rough grass beside a small quarry to reach a narrow wood. The path went on through the wood, soon bearing left. It soon left the wood, continuing beside it a short while, then followed a hedgerow going right and uphill. This brought me to Arrewig Lane, beside Erriwig Farm.


Looking left from the track from Dundridge Manor farm - you can see how grey and gloomy it was at the start of the walk


Looking left from the track from Dundridge Manor farm


The track from Dundridge Manor farm


The path heading towards Arriwig Lane

I went a few yards to the right along the lane, before going left on a bridleway on a track. This soon turned right, but I continued straight on along a footpath that went through an area of scrub and then continued beside a hedge on my right, descending another small dip and rising up the other side, before descending again into a small valley with a wood now on the right. The path continued up the opposite slope, between a hedge and the wire fence of a paddock on my right. Near the top of the hill I reached a pasture, and followed the hedge on my left to a gate in the corner.

Here I reached a T-junction of lanes or minor roads, where I took the road ahead of me. The mist and murk had now cleared and the skies were gradually clearing up and turning blue. After a few hundred yards I took a footpath on my left, along the left edge of an empty pasture with a farm across to my right. There were several mature trees along the field boundary. I went through a kissing-gate in the field corner and crossed another empty pasture to reach Lowndes Wood.

The footpath after Arrewig Lane


Looking back along the short stretch of road walking


Start of the path across the first empty pasture

The path now ran through a succession of woods for about three quarters of a mile, the direction gradually curving right from east to almost south. The nature of the woods varied, some parts being typical Chiltern beech woods, others consisting of other deciduous trees. I passed a lot of holly bushes. The path was perfectly clear, though a bit muddy in places. I crossed over the route of the Chiltern Heritage Trail at one point. A bit further on, there was a large pasture on my right as I continued on a bridleway just inside the edge of the wood. Walk 6 of the Chiltern Chain Walk soon turned off left into the wood, but I continued straight on.

Start of the path through Lowndes Wood


Looking back along the path through the woods

When I reached a bridleway T-junction by the corner of the pasture, I turned right on another bridleway - I was now just inside another wood, still with the same pasture just to my right. I spotted a yellow fungus growing on a fallen log on the ground here, which I later had identified on the 'Wild About Britain'  web site as a Sulphur Tuft. In the corner of the wood, the bridleway turned left to go steeply uphill - I'd originally planned to go that way, but now decided to continue straight ahead on a footpath. This would mean more time on paths new to me and a bit less time repeating part of the Chiltern Link route. The path ran between a wire fence and a hedge on my right, with a sequence of sheep pastures on the other side of the fence. As I followed the path along the valley (called Ballinger Bottom), a Buzzard flew out of the hedgerow ahead of me, and then did so again a few hundred yards further on.

The woodland path beside the pasture, after turning right at the bridleway junction


Sulphur Tuft fungi


Start of the path along the valley of Ballinger Bottom


Looking back along Ballinger Bottom


The path took me to a small number of houses on the edge of Ballinger Common, where I joined the route of the Chiltern Link (which I walked three years ago).  I turned right and crossed a road, and took a path that ran through a long narrow section of woodland, where I saw a couple of dog walkers. I went over a stile where the path briefly left the wood and ran along the edge of a large pasture, before re-entering the wood and following a clear path that joined a track running along the far side.


The path between Ballinger Common and The Lee, where it briefly enters a pasture

Part 2 of this walk

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