Walking in the Buckinghamshire villages of Fulmer and Hedgerley
PUBLISHED: 13:01 12 June 2013 | UPDATED: 11:45 08 October 2015
© Steve Davison
Steve Davison leads the way on a 5¾ mile walk around the picturesque villages of Fulmer and Hedgerley in south Buckinghamshire
Start/finish: Beside the church in Fulmer (limited roadside parking in Hay Lane); grid ref SU998857
Map: OS Explorer 172
Distance: 5¾ miles (9.2km)
Terrain: few minor ups and downs, tracks and paths which can be muddy, sections of road, some stiles and gates
Time: 2¾ hours without stops
Refreshments: Fulmer – The Black Horse (01753 663183); Hedgerley – The White Horse (01753 643225)
This month’s walk passes through the south Buckinghamshire villages of Fulmer and Hedgerley, which have vied with each other over a number of years to take the title of ‘Buckinghamshire Best Kept Village’, the most recent winner between the two was Fulmer in 2011. Before leaving Fulmer take a look at the interesting Parish Church of St James which dates from 1610. Inside there is a wooden Jacobean font and an interesting 17th century effigial monument to former lord of the manor Sir Marmaduke Darrell and his wife Dame Anne. Incidentally, the original name of the village was Fugelmere or ‘bird-haunted mere’, with the mere or marshy area being sited around Low Farm.
After passing through Hedgerley Green, little more that a village pond and several houses, we arrive at Hedgerley with its duck pond, pub and Church of St Mary the Virgin, which was built in a gothic revival style in 1852. It might be hard to imagine now, but Hedgerley was once famed as a brick-making centre in the 17th and 18th centuries. The village was also once home to the infamous Judge Jeffries, noted for the ‘bloody assizes’ which followed the Monmouth Rebellion. Just to the north of The White Horse pub is the lovely 15th century timber-framed Old Quaker House, at one time a meeting place for Quakers.
From Hedgerley the route heads across open farmland to reach Stoke Common and finally Fulmer. This area of relatively rare lowland heath is home to three reptiles (adder, common lizard and slow worm) and a variety of birds and plants – information boards at various points show the routes that criss-cross the common.
1 With the church behind you and The Black Horse to the left, take Hay Lane opposite. At the sign for the private drive to Fulmer Chase Farm go right on the track towards Low Farm for a few metres and then left through a kissing gate. Keep ahead through another kissing gate to reach a path junction next to a wooden pole. Go right and then immediately left through a kissing gate – not through the gate on the right. Follow the path between hedges and fences, with a parallel bridleway on the right. Pass beneath the power-lines and continue through two gates. Keep ahead for a few metres and then go diagonally left to another kissing gate. Follow the fence-lined path to a road (B416); shortcut – for a much shorter walk turn left along the pavement and rejoin the main walk at Point 4.
2 Turn right for 25m towards the M40 underpass and then left across the road to follow Mount Hill Lane. Where this bends left go straight on along the track and at the end fork left into the field. Follow the left-hand hedge passing under the power-lines to a path junction at corner. Turn left over a stile then right over another to follow an enclosed path and later join a road in Hedgerley Green. Turn left and immediately after the pond go left along the drive. As the main drive bears left keep ahead between trees, later ignore a path to the right and follow the track down to a drive with St Mary’s Church to the left. Turn right down to the road beside The White Horse.
3 Go left and just after the pond turn left along the track and through a gate (on the left is Church Wood – an RSPB reserve with marked tracks accessible via a gate on the left about 20m away). Fork diagonally right across the field, go through a gap near the field corner and follow the path up through Hanging Wood and then straight on with the field on the right. Cross the footbridge at the dip and turn left at the marker post with trees to the left, once in the next field aim for the farm buildings and cross a stile just to the left. Go over the track and cross a stile by the tall tree. Continue down across the field passing a wooden electricity pole, cross the stile and keep ahead through the next field to another stile. Go down the steps, cross the lane and follow the enclosed path to reach a road (B416) beside a cemetery.
4 Cross over and turn right, and just after the junction with Collum Green Road, where the pavement runs out, turn left on a diagonal bridleway through the trees (straight ahead is the Fox and Pheasant). Cross the road and keep ahead through a gate to enter Stoke Common. Follow the gravel bridleway heading south-east keeping ahead at three junctions and at the fourth turn left heading north-east. Keep straight on at a crossing junction and soon go through a gate to leave the common. Turn right down the road and left at the junction to pass The Black Horse pub and arrive back at the church.
To find out more about Steve, including walking guides, visit: www.steve-davison.co.uk