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Jay Walking

South Bucks Way: Great Missenden to Coombe Hill

The final day of the South Bucks Way was going to be short one, so I started relatively late, arriving at Great Missenden around 11:45 am and quickly setting off to find the start of the route, which was about 300 metres from the station. It had only been a week since the last time I had been walking on this route but a lot had changed in the country, with a new prime minister, the Queen dying and a new King. Heading off in a North Westerly direction I passed though a field where a very young child was riding about on a small motorbike, encouraged by his father. It was quite an odd sight, especially for me who has never been on a motorbike, but the young fellow seemed very confident. After crossing a minor road and taken a tunnel under a train line, I emerged into a field full of cows and sheep, living together. The cows or bullocks were very young and eyed me as I walked past them, though they were safely behind a low electric fence.

A gate before a field of grass which is bordered by trees
Path through a field of cows heading towards a distant ridge

I headed on going slightly uphill, edging along a wood before heading into to it, and continuing on though it. The day was overcast with grey clouds and occasional drizzle, the wood itself was gloomy and wet due to the recent heavy but welcome rain (there had been a heatwave and a drought recently). The route was not well signposted but I managed to stay on route by using the OS Maps app which was working properly for once. Leaving the woods behind, I headed on a muddy path towards Cobblershill Farm where the Chiltern Way joined the route again. The routes heading on together, descending through a woodland and heading on uphill through a couple of fields before reaching Little Hampden, where I sat on a cold metal bench and had some coffee and a sandwich. I’d brought along a cut out piece of a an old thermarest and sat on that to save me from the cold bench. Looking at the map, I’d covered about half the distance to Coombe Hill so there was not too far to go.

Muddy tree lined path
A signpost where the South Bucks Way joins The Ridgeway National Trail

After Little Hampden the route headed gently uphill along a road and then footpaths, before entering some woodlands, where it meet up with the Ickneild Way Trail, having left the Chiltern Way behind at Little Hampden. A signpost showed the route heading off to the North East but the map indicated that North West was the correct direction, so I headed off in that direction. After a short distance, the chalk ridge came into view, probably the first hills that had been seen on this route, and a little later the route joined The Ridgeway, which I had done earlier in the year. The path headed steeply uphill to reach the top of the ridge and some familiar woods, before continuing along Northwards to a road from where it was a short walk to the monument at Coombe Hill and the end of the route. The weather had cleared up and there were great views from the ridge over the landscape below.

View from the top of the chalk ridge showing fields to the far distance.  The sky is blue with clouds.
The monument that marks the end of the route.  A tapering stone pinnacle of whitish stone 4 or 5 metres high

There was a choice of getting home, either from Wendover or Little Kimble, I headed to the latter as it was nearer and I’d never been there. It was an easy walk down from Coombe Hill and then along the Aylesbury Ring to the train station at Little Kimble where there was train due in 4 minutes, which was lucky as there was only one an hour.

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