Buckinghamshire walk through Radnage and Bledlow Ridge
PUBLISHED: 11:01 13 April 2015 | UPDATED: 11:01 13 April 2015
© Steve Davison
Steve Davison leads the way on a walk through Radnage and Bledlow Ridge, with a fantastic panorama to enjoy from Lodge Hill
Radnage & Bledlow Ridge
• Population: 660 (Radnage) 940 (Bledlow Ridge)
• OS Grid Reference SU7897 (Radnage)
• Most famous for: 13th century church used in Cranford TV series; picturesque views
• Landmarks: St Mary’s Church; The Boot pub
• Start/finish: St Mary’s Church, Radnage (SU785979), 3.5 miles north-west of West Wycombe; limited parking (alternative start at Bledlow Ridge – Point 2)
• Map: OS Explorer 171
• Distance: 4.75 miles (7.7km) or 2.25 miles (3.6km)
• Terrain: some gates and stiles, several ups and downs, paths and tracks that can be very muddy, and sections of road
• Time: 2.5 hours or 1 hour (excluding stops)
• Refreshments: Bledlow Ridge – The Boot (01494 481499)
Picturesque Radnage, tucked amongst the rolling Chiltern Hills, is formed of several separate hamlets and old farmhouses with St Mary’s Church and the Old Rectory standing alone along Church Lane.
The beautiful early 13th-century St Mary’s Church in Radnage, which may have been built by the Knights Templar who were granted the manor by King John, displays late Norman and early English architecture, including three original lancet windows. Inside there are fragments of medieval wall paintings and later post-Reformation religious texts. The church doubled as ‘Cranford Church’ in the BBC TV series Cranford, and was one of the main settings in the 1987 film A Month in the Country.
From the church the route follows the Chiltern Way up from the valley to arrive at The Boot pub in Bledlow Ridge, aptly named for its open ridge-top location, and then heads through the little neighbouring hamlet of Rout’s Green. A short steep descent leads through fields before climbing once again, following the Ridgeway to the top of Lodge Hill for some great views, including east to Loosley Row with its distinctive windmill and north across Princes Risborough and the Vale of Aylesbury.
After soaking up the views, the return route leaves behind the Ridgeway in favour of the Chiltern Way for a while, passing Callow Down Farm before heading back over the ridge to the north of Bledlow Ridge and making a final descent back to Radnage.
A shorter walk, missing out Lodge Hill, is also described.
1 (SU785979) – Head up the driveway and keep ahead through the churchyard passing to the right of St Mary’s Church. Leave through a gate in the opposite boundary and continue diagonally right through two field separated by a small gate. Go through another gate and fork diagonally left across the field to a small gate in the far corner by some trees. Keep ahead and at the marker post bear right up the slope and then left at the next marker post. Go through a small gate in the trees and follow the path as it swings right and left. Keep along the enclosed path, passing through a small gate on the way, to reach the main road in Bledlow Ridge with The Boot just to the left.
2 (SU794980) – Cross straight over and follow the track opposite as it swings left. At the last house keep ahead to a path junction and take the left-hand fork (Chiltern Way) with views on the right. At the crossing track keep ahead following a fence on the left. Drop down to a kissing gate and follow the path along the right-hand side of the field down to a dip and then up to a stile in the corner. Cross over and follow the path ahead to a tarmac lane (shorter walk: turn left and then left again rejoining the main walk at Chinnor Road). Bear right along the tarmac lane and then keep ahead along the track. Go through a small gate and keep left (straight on) down the steep slope with views ahead. Continue across the field, later following the left-hand edge (ignore a bridleway to the right and left). Head uphill and ignore a path to the right.
3 (SU795997) – Follow the grassy path past areas of scrub to a junction with the Ridgeway. Turn left, go through a kissing gate and head uphill, following the fence (left). At the top (marker post), bear right and follow the level path along the top of Lodge Hill passing a seat with a view. Go through a kissing gate by some trees and follow the fence on the right. Head steeply down through trees and then along the left side of a field. Turn left through a kissing gate and keep ahead to a crossing route mid-field. Turn left (leaving the Ridgeway) and head across the field to a path junction at the boundary. Stay in the field and turn right following the left-hand margin. Bear left along the surfaced track to Callow Down Farm and then follow the narrow sunken route ahead.
4 (SU787998) – At the concrete drive turn right for 20m and then left along a field-side track with the fence on the left for 150m. Turn left through a gap in the hedge to enter the adjacent field and then turn right alongside the hedge, following the bridleway uphill. Keep ahead along the track past houses on the left and then turn right along the tarmac lane to Chinnor Road (shorter walk rejoins here). Cross straight over, go through the small gate and follow the enclosed route ahead as it later swings left and right down to a lane. Turn left down the narrow lane for 500m and turn left up the driveway back towards St Mary’s Church.
To find out more about Steve, including his recent Walking in the Chilterns book, visit: www.steve-davison.co.uk
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