The Ridgeway,


United Kingdom


- Princes Risborough to Wendover -


I left Coombe Hill Monument and strode along the ridge towards Bacombe Hill, before descending down into Wendover, the path leading into Ellesborough Road, crossing the railway line near Wendover station before merging with the High Street. Wendover is an attractive little town, borne out by several rows of old cottages up the High Street, while a number of businesses such as the Antiques at Wendover, a brick and timber building, and the Red Lion, obviously former coach houses, are fine examples of Tudor-style architecture. Wendover was well known for having a varied and diverse range of pubs, many of which have now closed due to the constraints and geographics of the day. The pubs that still exist today are The Red Lion, The George & Dragon, The White Swan, The King and Queen, The Pack Horse, The Marquis of Granby, which was renamed in 2010 and is now called The Village Gate, The Rose & Crown and The Shoulder of Mutton. I crossed the road where I had turned down to the car park, just before the Shoulder of Mutton and strolled into town. At the extreme lower end of the High Street just before the road bends to the left at the Clock Tower, an alleyway leads off to the right. It is down here that one continues on the Ridgeway walk towards Tring however that would have to wait for another day. As I walked back up the High Street to return to my car, I became aware of opposition to the new proposed H2S high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham, "Stop H2S" posters in front windows making that pretty obvious. I could imagine the impact the construction of such a network would have on the countryside. The thrust of the campaign appears to state "We oppose the HS2 High Speed Rail link, because the business case is based on unrealistic assumptions, the environmental impact has not been assessed, it is not green, the strategic benefits are questionable, and the money could be better spent on other things".

View north from Coombe Hill, Buckinghamshire.



The stretch of the Ridgeway chalk path along Bacombe Hill, the final stretch down into Wendover.


The Buckinghamshire section of the Rigeway is depicted on this signboard.


The final steps down into Wendover, Bucks.


Wendover railway station in the direction of Aylesbury.


Wendover is a market town that sits at the foot of the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire, England. It is also a civil parish within Aylesbury Vale district. The mainly arable parish is 5,832 acres (24 km˛) in size and contains many hamlets that nestle in amongst the lush forest on the surrounding hills. The town name is of Brythonic origin and means "white waters", pertaining to the stream that rises in the adjacent hills and flows through the middle of the town, bringing chalk deposits on its way. The parish church of St Mary sits outside the town to the east on the hillside: a feature that is very common among towns with strong Celtic origins. There is a distinctive red brick, spired clock tower at the crossroads in the centre of the town that was built in 1842. The tree lined Aylesbury Street includes the 16th-century timber framed Chiltern House and 18th-century Red House. The town has had a Royal charter to hold a weekly market since 1464 meaning that officially it is a town rather than a village, although today many residents of Wendover like to refer to it as the latter. It is part of a civil parish, and the parish uses the term "Parish Council" rather than "Town Council", as it would be entitled to. Part of the town was once the property of Anne Boleyn whose father held the manor of Aylesbury among his many estates. There is still a row of houses in the town today, known as Anne Boleyn's Cottages. The town is the birthplace of Gordon Onslow Ford, British surrealist artist, and it is believed to be the birthplace of the medieval chronicler Roger of Wendover. The town is also the birth-place of Cecilia Payne, who discovered that the Sun is mainly composed of hydrogen. The town is at the terminus of the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal, which joins Tring summit level of the Grand Union main line beside Marsworth top lock. Disused for over a century, the arm is in course of being restored by the Wendover Arm Trust. Remote and rural for almost all its length, the canal attracts much local wildlife.


The Shoulder of Mutton, one of many pubs in Wendover




Wendover architecture, attractive windows and doorways. A sign in the window against the proposed new high-speed rail link.


Brick and timber Tudor building that is home to an antique dealer; The Red Lion Hotel, a traditional 16th century coaching inn.


View of Wendover High Street - on the left is Rossini Italian Restaurant.


The name Buckinghamshire is Anglo-Saxon in origin and means The district (scire) of Bucca's home. Bucca's home refers to Buckingham in the north of the county, and is named after an Anglo-Saxon landowner. The county has been so named since about the 12th century; however, the county itself has existed since it was a subdivision of the kingdom of Mercia (585–919). The history of the area, though, predates the Anglo-Saxon period and the county has a rich history starting from the Celtic and Roman periods, though the Anglo-Saxons perhaps had the greatest impact on Buckinghamshire: the geography of the rural county is largely as it was in the Anglo-Saxon period. Later, Buckinghamshire became an important political arena, with King Henry VIII intervening in local politics in the 16th century and just a century later the English Civil War was reputedly started by John Hampden in mid-Bucks.

Historically, the biggest change to the county came in the 19th century, when a combination of cholera and famine hit the rural county, forcing many to migrate to larger towns to find work. Not only did this alter the local economical picture, it meant a lot of land was going cheap at a time when the rich were more mobile and the leafy Bucks became a popular rural idyll: an image it still has today. Buckinghamshire is a popular home for London commuters, leading to greater local affluence; however, some pockets of relative deprivation remain.


The Tudor-style Red Lion can be seen at the bottom of the High Street and at the bend, Wendover's clock tower, dating back to 1842.


At the bottom end of the High Street, the Ridgeway path continues down this alleyway.


Antiques at Wendover brick and timber Tudor building on the High Street.


I was fascinated by the elaborate structure of the chimneys stack of this quaint home on Wendover's High Street.


Attractive row of cottages on Wendover's High Street.

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