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Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Saturday, 30 May 2015

Rolling Buckinghamshire Hills and a National Trust mansion

SWC Walk 192 - Haddenham to Aylesbury via Waddesdon
Length: 25.2km (15.6 miles) but shorter options from 11.2km (7 miles): see below
Toughness: 6 out of 10

9.36 train from Marylebone to Haddenham and Thame Parkway, arriving 10.14.

Buy a day return to Aylesbury, making sure it is "any route permitted" and not "via Chalfont and Latimer". Only the former is valid via Princes Risborough, which is the stop before Haddenham. You might have to pay on the train for a single extension from Princes Risborough to Haddenham.

For walk directions click here.

This is a long walk in the Buckinghamshire hills if you do the whole thing, and there are some who will relish that prospect. Lesser mortals might like to consider the shorter options outlined below.

Lunch for all options is in the pretty village of Waddesdon, which has several pubs as outlined in the walk document.


1) It is 13.7km (8.7 miles) to Waddesdon by the standard walk route, but a short cut in the walk directions reduces that to 11.2km (7 miles). Once there you might like to spend the afternoon visiting Waddesdon Manor (National Trust), a show mansion built on the summit of a ridge at vast expense by the Rothschilds in the late 19th century to impress their society friends. Like all NT places it has a tea room.

You can then get buses back to Aylesbury - either number 16 or 17 - from outside The Lion pub in the village - at 15.24, 16.01, 17.24, 17.31, 19.01 19.19. Note the hour and a half gap between 17.31 and 19.01 (though no doubt one of the village pubs will entertain you).

2) The walk document has a shorter ending to Aylesbury Vale Parkway station reducing the walk to 19.8km (12.3 miles) - or 17.3km (10.8 miles) if you also did the short cut before lunch. The station is a strange place, surrounded by a new half-built suburb of Aylesbury: there are no refreshment options and only a bare platform to wait on, so you might want to time your arrival there carefully. Trains are at 30 past the hour till 18.30, then 19.50, 20.50.

3) This is an option of my own devising, not in the walk document, but if you continue south on the bridleway (track?) after leaving Eythrope Park in the afternoon (see map) you come in a couple of kilometres to the village of Stone, which is served by Oxford to Aylesbury buses (route 280) at 13 and 43 past the hour until 18.43, then 18.27, 19.11, 20.06, 21.05, 22.05. Turning left along the main road that the bus runs along for 3-400 metres brings you to the Rose and Crown, which looks from the web to be a very pleasant pub, open all afternoon (if it is not, stay on the road a similar distance to the Bugle Horn, also on the bus route). Minus the walks to the pub, I calculate this reduces the walk to 21.3km (13.2 miles) - or 18.8 km (11.6 miles) if you did the short cut before lunch.

If completing the full walk, tea options in Aylesbury are outlined in the walk document.

Trains back from Aylesbury are at 05 and 35 until 18.35, then 19.05, 19.27, 20.05, 21.05, 21.27, 22.05


Anonymous said...

Art Fund Member can get into Waddesdon Manor for free.

Anonymous said...

download a 2 for 1 voucher for Waddesdon Manor.

Walker said...

Saturday 30 May: n=12 on this walk, w=mainly-sunny with just a bit of cloud to add interest. For the first few miles the route was across flat fields which I imagine would be muddy in winter, but which at this time of year are awash with buttercups and cow parsley. Then just when one though the route was developing a positive aversion to hills, it turned north for a beautiful ascent up to Upper Winchenden - the top of this climb in lush green grass dotted with flowers, with a fine view back to the Chilterns.

There is then a fine approach across a valley and up a formal avenue to Waddesdon Manor. Here two opted for the full morning route and said the Rothschild Foundation Library building was worth seeing. The rest of us took the short cut. observing as we walked that it would be easy to veer off the path and up across the grounds to the manor house without paying the entry fee (something we did not do, of course, because we are all law-abiding).

We lunched in The Lion (the recommended pub, the Long Dog, only being recommended in the walk directions, not in the list of pubs, so we did not notice it) . The Lion was smart, friendly, but had a rather unimaginative menu. What they did do, they did well, however, and portions were good. Their patio could do with some pot plants or other greenery, but it was nice sitting in the sun.

After lunch four went to visit Waddesdon Manor but could not gain access to the house, and so after exploring the grounds got a bus to Aylesbury and the 16.35 home.

The rest of us carried on with the walk route. One fast walker soon moved ahead of us and may well have walked all the way to Aylesbury. Two peeled off to get the 16.30 train from Aylesbury Vale Parkway. The five of us who were left had a very nice snooze in the corner of a field while a chaffinch chortled away nearby, and then walked south through Eythrope Park, a pleasant estate.

Just beyond it, as one crosses the bridge over the river, we left the route and carried on down a tarmac drive which becomes a lane and leads in two miles to the village of Stone. Here there are three buses an hour on the Oxford to Aylesbury bus route. Our search for tea options was a bit less satisfactory, however. 500 metres along the road the Rose and Crown was friendly and did mugs of tea, but was clearly a "locals" kind of pub. The Bugle Horn, with its lovely garden, would alas have been another 500 metres along the road.

We got the bus to Aylesbury, the 18.35 train and arrived at Marylebone in time to see surprisingly cheerful Aston Villa fans streaming off the trains from the Cup Final at Wembley. Then three of us had a nice Turkish meal, but that is another story...

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed Walker's very fair description of the walk. I’d like to add: ‘Near the start, passed several pretty thatched houses’.
I managed to get into Waddesdon Manor on the last timed entry at 2.30pm (note, you have to go to car park to get ticket). I suggest foregoing the pub lunch, have a picnic in the grounds or NT cafĂ© then at 2pm watch the film on the Rothschilds in the ‘power house’ before visiting the manor, which is stuffed with riches, ie Gainsboroughs, Joshua Reynolds, Sevres porcelain, etc. Then explore the fabulous grounds and aviary at your leisure.
NB: the 5.31pm bus to Aylesbury arrived five minutes early! Comfortably caught the 6.05 train.