The Ridgeway #2: Wendover to Princes Risborough

According to the official guide for the Ridgeway there are six sections of the trail, and I had seemingly started last week with the sixth rather than the first. Today I had originally considered tackling the entirety of the next section, from Wendover to Watlington (about 17 miles apparently) but as it turned out I decided that was a bit far, and the weather wasn't particularly inspiring today, so instead I just did about half of it and finished at Princes Risborough.

Today's walk started where I'd left off last time, at Wendover station. From there the Ridgeway leads to the south west, and thanks to the station being at one edge of the town almost immediately gets out into open countryside. Albeit that given today's grey skies the effect of this was rather muted. I started with a climb of Bacombe Hill, a nature reserve, from where I imagine there would be impressive views of the surrounding landscape on a nicer day than today. 

The trail here follows a ridge (fittingly enough) formed of Bacombe Hill, which then connects with Coombe Hill, atop which there is a monument to the Second Boer War, and a viewpoint marked on the OS Map. 

Again though the weather conditions were a long way from optimal for appreciating these views! Here the trail turned to the south, and after a further open hilltop section it passed through a section of woodland (Linton's Wood and Goodmerhill Wood on the map).

This was all very grey and brown given the weather and the season and I have to admit to spending a fair amount of this section rather distractedly looking at my phone instead.

After emerging from the woods, and walking down a short section of hillside, I passed Buckmoorend farm, and popped into the farm shop there, where I was pleased to see a selection of local produce, including some of the local wines from producers like Brightwell.

After the farm shop the trail passed through fields, at the edge of the Chequers estate, which was interesting to see first hand, having occasionally heard it mentioned on the news. Albeit of course that the trail is kept some distance away from the house, with frequent signs warning against trespass.

From there, across Chequers Knap, as lunchtime began to draw near.

The pub I had originally considered for my lunch stop was the Plough at Cadsden, where David Cameron had taken China's President Xi for a pint in 2015. However given the fact it was frequented by global leaders I had the impression it was unlikely to be the sort of timless unspoilt rustic inn which I like, and very possibly veering into gastropub territory. Besides, as it turned out it was only 11:40 when I passed, so it was too early.

So I stayed on the Ridgeway a little longer, then took a diversion to skirt around the edges of Whiteleaf Golf Club, into the little village of Whiteleaf.

Quite a pretty village as it turned out, with thatched and timber framed cottages - although, as with everything else on todays work, the aesthetic was rather subdued given the grey skies.

My destination was the Red Lion at Whiteleaf which I had got the impression from prior research was more of the simple unspoilt rustic pub I was looking for.

..and I think my judgement had been correct - simple, unfussy and with pleasingly few concessions to modernity.

After lunch, I headed back up Whiteleaf Hill to rejoin the Ridgeway and at the top found another viewpoint I couldn't really appreciate given today's grey skies - and more so by this point as it had started to get a bit misty too.

From here I gradually descended into Princes Risborough where I had decided I would call it a day, and get the train back to London.

Yet more grey and misty vistas were laid out before me on the way into town.

This is the point where I departed the Ridgeway, and headed into town.

...and so I finished today's walk at Princes Risborough station. Some thought required for the next couple of sections as there isn't really a proper train station directly on the route until Goring & Streatley - and another 25 miles to go until I get there!

Route: OS Maps
Distance: 7 miles
Time: 3 hours