Date of Walk: 7 March 2015
Approx Distance of Walk: 5 km (Circular walk)
Parking/Transport: National Trust Car Park at Coombe Hill (Grid ref SP 852063)
Starting Point: Car Park above
Finishing Point: Wendover
Having finished walking the Thames Path at the end of last year, we have now embarked on a new walking project - The Ridgeway.
We started off gently last weekend. Like the Thames Path walks, we plan to undertake this long-distance trail in small easy stages. Parking in the car park near Coombe Hill, we walked south-west along the road which leads to Bulter's Cross until we reached this point where the Ridgeway Path crosses the road.
It was a nice sunny spring day, and not too cold when out of the wind.
We turned into the woods in a northerly direction.
Soon we catch glimpses of the views out to the north as we are walking along the top of the Chiltern Hills overlooking the vale of Aylesbury.
We enter the National Trust area through a gate in the fence...
... and soon the woods clear and we have stunning views. The wind is chilly here, though!
Shortly the monument on Coombe Hill comes into view. This column commemorates the men of Buckinghamshire who gave their lives during the Second Boer War.
It is a well-known landmark locally, and there were quite a few visitors on this day. It has long been one of my favourite spots and I can remember visiting as a child as well as numerous trips later when I lived in High Wycombe. I love the openness and the stunning views from here.
The views to the south take in the Chequers Estate (country residence of the British Prime Minister) and in the distance the ridge of hills, taking in Pulpit Hill and Bledlow Ridge, all of which we have to come on future walks of the Ridgeway! It's going to be quite different from the flat paths beside the Thames that we have been used to!
We continue past the monument northwards, and again future hills to be climbed loom in the distance.
Once away from the monument it becomes quieter again as we follow the way-marked path. This ancient trail shows its age by the depth of the furrow that it follows here.
A splash of colour in the form of dogwoods brighten the somewhat colourless landscape on this early spring day.
The path begins to descend as we walk through this nature reserve on Bacombe Hill.
As we leave the nature reserve, the Ridgeway Path descends via a road which crosses both a railway line and a major road, and leads us into the pretty town of Wendover.
After a nice pub lunch we make the return trip back to the car park, this time taking a slightly different path on the southern side of Bacombe Hill.
This path still had pretty views, here to the south, but is quieter than the main path that we followed earlier.
In amongst the trees there are signs of bluebells emerging and we make a note that this will be a good place to come later in the year when they are in bloom.