Pete's Walks - The Chiltern Chain Walk, Walk 13

ROUTE DESCRIPTION - Walk 13, Bledlow Ridge and Lacey Green

OS Explorer Maps required: 171, 172, 181

Approximate distance: 13.4 miles

Start at Bledlow Ridge where Chiltern Way crosses the road (SU 794981).

ANTI-CLOCKWISE

From where the Chiltern Way crosses the road through Bledlow Ridge (just south-east of a pub or restaurant), follow the road a few yards to the south-east and take the footpath on the left. This runs between fences or hedges to reach a pasture. The path goes right here, gradually moving further away from a fence, and then following the edge of the field downhill. It follows the right-hand hedge through the next field and then crosses an arable field to reach a bridleway, where you turn right. Turn left at the road, go down and up a small dip and then take the footpath on the right. It follows the right-hand hedge of three meadows to reach the top of Slough Hill, and continues just inside a wood and then beside an arable field to reach Slough Lane. Continue along the drive on the other side, uphill towards Allnuttís Wood. Where a path crosses (just before a section of the wood on the right has been cleared), turn half-left. Follow the path through the trees, following the faded arrows painted on trees. The path leaves the wood at a gate and continues descending across the hillside, turning right when it reaches a hedge. The path goes through the hedge, and continues along the other side. On entering a small pasture, go left to join a track that goes under a railway bridge. Go through a gate, and continue across another pasture, heading very slightly left to another gate. Cross the A4010 carefully, go a few yards right (passing a pub) and take the road going left into Bradenham (SU 824971).

Just past the church on your right, take the footpath on the left (initially unsigned, it begins along a drive to the right of a building, then crosses a narrow pasture). Continue on this path, which switches to the right of a hedgerow after crossing a track. It rises gently to a corner of Park Wood, where it turns left and descends steeply. At the bottom of the slope it joins a track going right. There is soon a path junction where you go right again. Continue on this path, with Park Wood still on your right for some distance, until you go through a farmyard and reach Smalldean Lane. Turn left for about 100 yards, then turn right. The path soon goes slightly left, and then turns right to follow the left-side of a hedge. Follow this footpath through a number of fields, passing through a couple of tree belts. Just after second tree belt, take the footpath going half-right. This follows the edge of a field for maybe 100 yards, then continues between hedges. After a few hundred yards, turn right on a footpath between trees or bushes. Cross the drive to Promised Land Farm and continue on the path uphill through a large pasture. Go through a gate at the top of a hill to continue through a small pasture, the path then running a few yards along a drive to reach a lane in Lacey Green. Turn left to reach the main road through the village (SP 824001).

Turn left and then take Kiln Lane on the right. When you reach a crossing track after a quarter of a mile or so, turn right for a few steps and then take the bridleway on your left (this can be very muddy!). At the bottom of the hill turn right, back onto Kiln Lane. After about half a mile, where a wood starts on the left, turn left onto a bridleway going uphill just inside the wood. Go straight on at a track crossing, now on a track between hedges. On entering Monkton Wood, take the footpath going left, just inside the edge of the wood. At the end of this path, after about half a mile, turn left along a drive next to a cottage to reach a lane. Now on the route of the Chiltern Way, turn left again for a few yards on Lily Bottom Lane, then go right along a bridleway on the line of the earthwork of Grimís Ditch. After a couple of hundred yards, take the path on the right over a stile. This crosses the corner of an arable field, then crosses to the far left corner of a large meadow or pasture. It then follows a track between the fences of paddocks either side. On reaching the last paddock on the right, go over a stile and cross the paddock diagonally to a stile in the far corner. The path crosses a field and then follows a right-hand hedge through a pasture and a meadow to return to Lacey Green (passing the windmill on your right). Take the road almost opposite, downhill to a road junction in Loosley Green (SP 816006).

Turn right for a short distance, then take the footpath on the left. Pass Collinís farm on your right, and follow its drive downhill. Turn left off the drive just before a bend (to the left), then turn right just before reaching a lane (you go over a small hump here) and go through some trees. Cross the farm drive and follow the left-hand field boundary to reach the A4010 again. Cross carefully, and follow the footpath ahead, going straight on at a distant path crossroads. The path then turns right along the edge of a field. At a path junction after several hundred yards, go left, crossing over a railway tunnel. The Chiltern Way soon goes right, but continue ahead, now on the route of the Ridgeway. Cross another railway line very carefully, and follow the path between hedges through a golf course. Continue on the path, passing to the left of a house and following its drive to reach a minor road. Follow the bridleway opposite, which follows a right-hand hedge (Note: it seems to stay to the right of the hedge, although the map shows it switching to the left after a turn to the right). Continue uphill to the top of Lodge Hill (SP 794001).

Follow the path across the hill and down the other side. The path follows a hedge on the left, then turns left across an arable field Ė part way across turn left onto a bridleway (leaving the Ridgeway at this point). In the field corner, take the bridleway going right. Follow it past Old Callow Down Farm, rejoining the route of the Chiltern Way. When you reach Callow Down Farm, follow the drive a few yards to the right, then turn left and having passed the garden on your left, switch back to the left of the hedgeline (N.B. this is a fairly recent official path diversion which is not shown on older versions of the OS map that donít show the Chiltern Way). Follow the path beside the hedge and then uphill through a wood to reach Routís Green. The path joins a drive with houses on the left. The drive turns right, becoming a surfaced lane. Turn left along another drive, then take the footpath on the right, initially between garden boundaries. The path goes up and down a small dip in a pasture, then continues in a straight line back to the road in Bledlow Ridge (Again there has been a recent official path diversion which is not shown on older versions of the OS map).

 

Bledlow Ridge is a long linear village straddling the road between West Wycombe and Chinnor, situated at a high elevation along the hill of the same name. Originally a hamlet in the parish of Bledlow, it only became a separate parish in 1868, when the chapel of St Paul was built. It is now a haven for London executives and others of the wealthier social classes. It once boasted an impressive windmill, a post-mill built in 1820. This was allowed to decay during the early part of the 20th century and was eventually demolished.

Bradenham is very attractive, set in a broad Chiltern valley with the church and manor house at the eastern end of the large sloping green presiding over the rest of the village, with a backdrop of steep wooded slopes. The village dates back to Saxon times, and appears in the Domesday Book. The earliest part of the church is the nave which dates to about 1100, much of the rest dating to the 1300ís. The north chapel was added in 1542 and the new chancel in 1863. The mediaeval tower contains two of the oldest bells in England, cast about 1300 (they were possibly not originally here, but bought from another church). William. 2nd Lord Windsor, built the original manor house here, and his son and heir Edward entertained Elizabeth I when she stayed overnight at Bradenham in 1566 on her return from visiting Oxford University (having stayed at Great Hampden the previous night). During part of the nineteenth century ownership of the estate was in dispute, and in this time it was leased to tenants, one of whom was Isaac Disraeli the father of Benjamin Disraeli (who would later live at nearby Hughenden Manor). The estate is now owned by the National Trust, but the manor house is rented out and is not open to the public.

Lacey Green windmill is the oldest surviving smock-mill in the country. It was originally built near Chesham in 1650, but was moved to its present site in 1821 on the orders f the Duke of Buckingham, presumably due to a lack of wind in the Chess valley. It consists of a three-storey octagonal tower or Ďsmockí, with an iron cap. Much of the massive internal machinery has survived, including rare Ďcompass armí timber gearing. The mill was used for the last time in 1915. After a short spell as a holiday cottage, it was dilapidated by the 1930ís. It was used as a Home Guard look-out point during WW II, and later used as a farm store. It was fully restored by the Chiltern Society in the early 1970ís.