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Jay Walking

The Ridgeway: Princes Risborough to Tring

After over a months off from walking due to a painful right foot I was heading back to Princes Risborough to see if my foot could handle walking. During the month I had visited a chiropodist and he had told me that I had Morton's Neuroma, a common swelling between the toes. I'd been doing some exercises, using a cold pack and had gone for a few 2 to 3 hour walks around my local area, so I was hoping that the problem had cleared up. I'd had it last year (2021) while walking the South Downs Way but had not had it diagnosed and it had cleared up, but doing some jumping jacks had set if off again.

The journey to Princes Risborough was quick and the day was looking great, it was already warm as I boarded the train at 9 am so during the journey I lathered myself up with organic sunscreen. The route was just on the edge of Princes Risborough and before setting off I took off my merino baselayer as it already to hot to be wearing it. The route was shared with the Ickenfield Way Path or trail and started off along a bridleway for a kilometre or so, before crossing a road and continuing on through some woods before heading uphill to Whiteleaf Hill via Brush Hill.

View from Brush Hill looking West, showing hills in the distance
View from Whiteleaf Hill showing blue skies above the chalk escarpment

The guidebook said the ascent to Whiteleaf Hill was steep but I did not find it too hard, there were steps cutting into the path and soon I was at Brush Hill, looking back toward Princes Risborough. There were a few other walkers about and I let them go on ahead while I admired the view, before setting off through more woods to the view point at Whiteleaf Hill, where there were great views towards the North. After the view point the route descending through Giles Wood to the small village of Lower Cadsden, passing a pub called The Plough which was just opening, I avoided the temptation offered by the pub and went on.

View from Pulpit Hill showing woodlands in the distance
View of Chequers one of the Prime Ministers residences.  Set in fields, it is a large manor house set in woodlands

Leaving Lower Cadsden, the Ridgeway headed to Grangeland and Pulpit Hill, a nature reserve, though the route does not climb to the top of Pulpit here, where there are the remains of a Neolithic Fort. I sat down for a small break and to rest, not wanting to strain my foot too much, a number of people passed by and I was befriended briefly by a whippet like dog, before setting off after 10 minutes or so. There was another short steepish climb to Chequers Knap before heading along on easy paths to the outskirts of the Chequers Estate. There were a number of signs warning people not to trespass or stray off the path and while around the estate there were a number of surveillance cameras. The path skirts the edge of the Chequers Estate before turning into part of the estate, crossing the tree lined main road to the house.

View of the tree lined aveune that leads to Chequers
The monument at Coombe Hill, a large tapering square column with a stone ball on top

After leaving the environs of Chequers, the route crosses a path where there was a farm shop and a cafe where I stopped for a coffee and another rest. Usually I don't stop so much but it was a nice day and I was in no rush as I only intended to do around 21 kilometres today. After finishing my drink I headed off towards Coombe Hill, heading up through Goodmerhill Wood, to the top of the chalk ridge and heading Northwards though woods, it was pleasant walking and being out of the sun for a bit was nice, though I soon emerged on to Coombe Hill where there woods ended. At a chalk spur there was a monument to local men who had fought in the Boer War. I lot of people were enjoying the sun and the great views found here, after taking a few photos I headed off West towards Wendover. It was a pleasant walk along the ridge gradually descending to a road which brought me into Wendover and to the Shoulder of Mutton pub, where I had a pint of Ridgeway from the Tring Brewery.

View from Coombe Hill looking from the chalk over the distant landscape set in blue skies
Side view of the church St Mary the Virgin in Wendover

Leaving the Shoulder Of Mutton I headed along the busy high street, passing a few more pubs, leaving me wishing I'd walked into town before deciding where to have a drink. The route takes a sharp right along a public footpath at the other end of the high street, continuing on through a small park along side a disused part of the Grand Union Canal and passing a small orchard, before reaching the church of St Mary the Virgin. The church was built in the 14 century and looked well maintained and in the sun was a pleasant sight.

The route headed out of town required some road walking before reaching a sunken track known as Hogtrough Lane which led on to Barn Wood and a gentle ascent through the pleasant woods. I stopped for a break and something to eat taking my time and spending 10 minutes reading my book, while I enjoyed the sun. A little later after crossing a road there was an interesting ascent on a sunken path and then emerging from the woods and crossing a field full of cows. I crossed this carefully as there were a number of calves in the field with their mothers. After passing through a number of farm building I reached another road where there were a number of walkers, one group of four young women trying to figure out where they were on a map and few older ones walking up the hill. I headed on through Northill Wood stopping for a few minutes, the area was quite busy with a people working dogs and a few cyclists. Exiting the woods near the village of Hastoe, the route continued along a road which passed by a number of houses and farms.

Tt was warm but pleasant walking in the sun and eventually the road reach Tring Park a National Trust maintained woodland that was once part of an aristocratic estate. The walk through some of Tring Park was on a tree lined avenue with occasional viewpoints from the landscape below the chalk ride, and good views of Tring Park Mansion dating from 1685 and designed by Christopher Wren. This pleasant walk ended at the edge of the village of Wiggington, though the route does not go through the village but crosses a road and heads on to Tring. The route descends from Wigginton through a meadow and I got my first view of Ivinghoe Beacon in the distance, though previously I may have been looking at it without knowing I was. Continuing on to a cross a bridge high over the busy A41, it was a kilometre or so to Tring station where I able to quickly get on a train back to London.

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