- Start: car park at Hughenden Church; grid ref SU864955, 1¾ miles north of High Wycombe on the A4128 (also accessible by bus)
- End: car park at Hughenden Church; grid ref SU864955, 1¾ miles north of High Wycombe on the A4128 (also accessible by bus)
- Country: England
- County: Berkshire
- Type: Country
- Nearest pub: Cryers Hill – The White Lion (01494 712303), Hughenden Manor – tea room
- Ordnance Survey: OS Explorer 172
- Difficulty: Medium
Steve Davison takes the lead exploring the area around Hughenden Manor on this 5Â½ mile walk, with shorter 2Â¾ mile option, just to the north of High Wycombe.
Hughenden Manor, now owned by the National Trust, was at one time the country hideaway of the Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Disraeli, who spent his childhood at nearby Bradenham Manor, lived at Hughenden from 1848 until his death in 1881 and many of his possessions remain on show. During the Second World War, the manor was used as a secret intelligence base code-named Hillside, where Air Ministry staff analysed aerial photographs of Germany and created maps for bombing missions, including the famous Dambusters raid.
Nearby is the Church of St Michael and All Angels, which dates back to the 12th century, though most of what you see is the result of extensive Victorian restorations. Inside there are some memorials to Benjamin Disraeli along with colourful Victorian stained glass windows. Outside, at the eastern end of the church, is the Disraeli tomb resting place of several members of the family, including Benjamin Disraeli and his wife, Mary Anne. The 16th century brick and timber cottages alongside were, at one time, occupied by monks, and were later used as the vicarage and almshouses.
Start/finish: car park at Hughenden Church; grid ref SU864955, 1 miles north of High Wycombe on the A4128 (also accessible by bus)
Map: OS Explorer 172
Distance: 5 miles (8.9km) or 2 miles (4.3km)
Terrain: stiles and gates, some steep climbs, field paths and tracks, roads with pavements
Time: 3 or 1 hours
Cryers Hill The White Lion (01494 712303)
Hughenden Manor tea room
1 (SU864955) Before setting out on the walk, you have to decide whether to follow the short or long walk.
Shorter walk: from the church walk back to the A4128 and turn left, carefully crossing over at the traffic island. Continue along the pavement for 20m and go right up the track Church Lane. Ignore a path to the left and later pass BBOWTs Millfield Wood Nature Reserve to reach a track junction and turn right; now continue from Point 4.
Longer walk: head down from the church for a few metres and turn left at the footpath sign to go through a small gate. Follow the path northwards through three fields, separated by gates, keeping close to the field boundary on your right. On entering the fourth field keep just left of the line of bushes and ignore a crossing path to reach a gate at the far side. Go straight on along the enclosed path and turn right to join a road near to a roundabout.
2 (SU864966) Cross over and go left and then right along Boss Lane, following it as it curves left and starts to rise to reach Boss Lane Farm. Ignore paths to the left and keep straight on along the gravel track for 50m before turning right through a kissing gate. Follow the enclosed path, soon climbing quite steeply, later there are views south towards High Wycombe. Cross a stile and continue along the gravel track for 400m to join the A4128 at Cryers Hill. Turn left up alongside the road to reach the White Lion and turn right to cross the A4128 and go along Cryers Hill Lane (pavement on left) for mile to reach a T-junction.
3 (SU881964) Cross straight over to follow Grange Road (The Royal Standard is currently closed) and continue south along the gravel track to Grange Farm. Fork right off the main track (straight on) down into an open field and follow the hedge and wooden pylons on the right. Near the end of the field dogleg right through the hedge into a narrow field and shortly turn right following the trees on the right. Go through into the next field and follow the path as it curves right, with Cockshoot Wood and a large aerial over to the right. Join a concrete track and turn left, cross straight over the lane to a gate opposite where the path splits. Turn right over a stile and follow the path alongside the fence and hedge, soon with a view of Brands House to the right. At the north-west field corner cross the stile to join a track (shorter walk rejoins here).
4 (SU873956) Turn left (right for the shorter walk) along the gravel drive, passing left of the house, cross a stile and head diagonally right to another stile. Continue down across the field to a third stile and follow the enclosed path with Millfield Wood a BBOWT nature reserve to the right; on the way ignore two paths off to the right. Go through a gate passing a National Trust Hughenden Estate sign and continue downhill, passing through a small gate on the way. At the bottom of the slope go through a small gate and turn left through another gate before turning right alongside the field edge. Shortly go right through a gate and follow the enclosed track to a kissing gate.
Continue along Glynswood, turn right down Green Hill and carefully cross the A4128. Turn right for 200m and head diagonally left along the surfaced path through the parkland to cross a small bridge; the stream is often dry in the summer. Turn right and keep roughly parallel to the stream, passing a gate on the way, to reach the church. To visit Hughenden Manor with its beautiful gardens and tea room turn left up the surfaced driveway (NT; opening times 01494 755565).
To find out more about Steve visit: www.steve-davison.co.uk
For more challenging walks in the Thames Valley see Walking in the Thames Valley by Steve Davison (Cicerone 12).