An 8 mile circular walk from Chequers which follows The Ridgeway Path to Whiteleaf Hill then returns via Hampden House and Church.
The walk starts from grid reference SP846 049 which is south of Butlers Cross at Buckmoor End on the Missenden Road in Buckinghamshire.
There is a limited amount of car-parking where the road takes a sharp bend [near
postcode HP17 0UT] - the relevant map for this walk is O.S. Explorer 181 Chiltern Hills North.
Cross the road and through the gate into the grounds of Chequers Court and follow The Ridgeway Trail as it crosses a field, then Chequers driveway
followed by another gate gently up a field to reach the field edge at the top. The way will follow The Ridgeway Trail all the way up to the top of Whiteleaf Hill - this is well signed with the Acorn Sign. Turn right now with Maple Woods on the left and good views of the Prime Minister's country house on the right. On reaching a
wide gate go on through and then bear slightly left on the obvious path walking up a field to reach another set of gates. Go through the gate and along Cradle Footpath - particularly in the late Spring this is a beautiful area with lovely trees and lots of wild flowers - stay on The Ridgeway Path to reach a sunken path. The Ridgeway goes right for a few yards on this sunken path then leaves it on the left - now with Pulpit Hill up on the left and beautiful views of the countryside on the right. Once again during late Spring expect to see hundreds of wild orchids in the area as well as lovely trees and gorse.
The Ridgeway crosses a bridleway at a gate and
continues to swing across Pulpit Hill Nature Reserve to eventually drop down on a narrow often quite overgrown path to reach Casden Road. Cross the road (this is a very narrow road but sometimes busy road so lot's of care is needed here) and turn left for a few yards to then go right into the entrance to The Plough Public House. Follow The Ridgeway which takes you past the front of the Pub and then turn right just in front of the car-park. Go through a gate and follow the Ridgeway signs as the path climbs steadily up - a very pleasant area for walking albeit somewhat hard on your knees at times. The way eventually
gets to the very top of Whiteleaf Hill where you turn left still for the moment following The Ridgeway.
Up on Whiteleaf Hill there are excellent views of just about everywhere - the only thing you cannot see is the Cross of course since it is on the hill-side. Continuing along the Trail which is now a hard surfaced track, after a few 100 yards look out for a Bridleway sign on the left and take this - i.e. now leaving the Ridgeway. This path dips slightly before climbing up to the right and continues along the edge of Hangings Wood with a field on
the right. Basically follow the edge of this field - the path splits and here go right i.e. still with the field on the right. After a climb to a track junction turn right - this part can be very muddy - to soon reach another junction. Here go left (Green Hailey Farm is on the right) and continue along what is now a narrow and quite enclosed path - beautiful foliage everywhere but also the odd nettle too!. The path dips down into Kingsfield Woods - keep on it in the same direction as it undulates through the Woods and
continues along the edge of a field for about a mile - ignoring side tracks and paths. As the path starts to bend around the field take the footpath on the left which goes through a gate and then along a grassy area to reach a wide gate by Hampden House - Hampden's Church of St. Mary Magdalene is through the gate and a little further along on the right and well worth visiting.
To continue the walk take the marked path on the left which is just in front of the wide gate (so now Hampden House is on the right). Cross the field and into the woods
(Lady Hampden's Woods) - follow the path and which comes out at a very wide field - cross the field to drop down to Rignall Road.
Cross the road and take the path opposite which climbs up between trees and then reaches a signposted path junction. Go right here through a few trees then down and then up again across fields to reach more woods. Continue ahead through this fairly narrow wooded section to reach another field. Turn right following the field edge eventually round the corner of the field and then a
few 100 yards along take the path on the right which goes into Warren Wood. A few yards into the woods reach another path junction - turn left and follow this through woodland - the path eventually comes out to join a track near Little Hampden Farm. Continue ahead to reach a road junction in the centre of Little Hampden Village.
An optional diversion here is to turn right down the road for around 400 yards to take a look at Little Hampden's beautiful small church. The church is on the right and dates back to around the 12th century - constructed mostly of flint, the church is not dedicated to any particular Saint. There are several bench seats scattered around the graveyard beside the church and it is a nice spot to sit for a while and enjoy the views over the valley.
Note the church is located quite steeply down the road and
this will mean eventually walking back up the hill again to continue the walk.
From the road junction turn left passing some cottages and houses on the left and with woodland on the right and continue along until the road ends. Keep straight ahead on a marked path (now on The South Bucks Way Trail) through the woods - note there are quite a few side-paths around here none of which (including the South Bucks Way) are marked. Basically therefore stay on the main path to reach a multi path junction and an unsurfaced road, cross the road and take the path opposite. The South Bucks Way swings round to the left and is a beautiful walking area which goes on down through Chisley Woods.
At an unmarked but very obvious path junction (v-shaped) keep left - continue on down the path which in the Winter offers good views through the trees to the
left. The South Bucks Way eventually arrives at a well signed junction when it reaches The Ridgeway Path - turn left down The Ridgeway back to the road and parking area..