Whiteleaf and The Hampdens

Walking trail

This 7.5 mile walk takes you from beautiful Chiltern woodlands near Whiteleaf, then beside Grim’s Ditch to the grounds of the stunning Hampden House. It then explores the farmland and wooded hillsides around the Hampden valley, including the remote village of Little Hampden, before returning to Whiteleaf Hill and a wonderful viewpoint over the Aylesbury Vale.

We strongly recommend using the local 1:25 000 Ordnance Survey map in addition to these instructions.

Restrictive Covenants

Most of the area around Little Hampden is protected by a restricted covenant, a permanent legal agreement between the landowners and The National Trust, which protects the land in perpetuity. Any changes to the land or buildings here must be made with the prior agreement of the Trust. The fields below and to the west of Whiteleaf Hill are also protected by an NT covenant that preserves the view of Whiteleaf Cross from below.

Please always follow the Countryside Code.

Map

Hampden Trail Map

Start:

Bucks County Council car park at Whiteleaf Hill (nearest post code HP27 0LH, Grid Ref SP823036).

1

Leave the car park at the far end on the footpath beside the information board. After 90m bear right to join the Ridgeway National Trail. After another 100m look for disturbed ground on your right. This is the remains of World War 1 practice trenches. At the end of these turn right off the Ridgeway on to a path that soon runs parallel to the edge of the open field on your right. Keep on this path close to the wood edge, in particular turning right at a fork after about 500m. Turn sharp right uphill when you come to a junction of paths at the corner of the field. After another 200m you reach a crossing track with fields ahead and a satellite dish in the hedge on your right.

2

Turn left onto a gently downhill track then path with a field on your right. Continue ahead when you enter Kingsfield Wood. This undulating path eventually joins a track from the right then goes round some gentle bends before coming to junction of paths with an isolated stile. Instead of continuing ahead on the track, veer left just past the stile to join a path that runs parallel with but just to the left of the track. About 20m on your left you can see Grim’s Ditch, also running parallel to the track. About 300m after you joined the path it bends right to rejoin the track.

Read more
Grim's Ditch

3

Bear left along the track, which soon has a big open field to the right. As you continue you will see glimpses of Grim’s Ditch in the strip of trees to your left. After a bigger track joins from the left and then bends to the right turn left on the corner then go through a wooden gate into an avenue with the House visible ahead. Just to the left of the House is a magnificent cedar tree, thought to be the last of eight cedar trees planted about 400 years ago. Near the House you reach a gate.

Read more
Hampden House

4

Go ahead through the gate and pass the estate office buildings on your right. You soon see the Church of St Mary Magdalene on you right. Continue ahead on the drive to the House, which passes down a magnificent avenue of horse chestnut, lime and plane trees. At the end of the drive you come to a push-button operated gate.

Read more
Church of St Mary Magdalene

5

Go through the gate then immediately turn left over a stile to join a wide grassy path running diagonally across a field. As you head downhill and about 50m before crossing a low wire fence, stop and look right then left up to the House. You will see you are crossing a one mile long grassy avenue. Also known as the Queen’s Gap, this gap is said to have been cut through the woodland to improve the view or access for Queen Elizabeth 1 when she visited Hampden House in 1563. (You may have noticed that Grim’s Ditch disappeared as you approached the House. It has been written that it was filled in, also to ease the passage of the royal posterior.) Continue ahead downhill to reach a stile by a gate in the corner of the field. Go over this, cross the road slightly to the left downhill, then on join a signposted path that runs down the field margin with a hedge on your right. You reach a road.

6

Cross this road with care, listening for traffic as you are on a bit of a blind corner. Continue ahead on a path uphill with a hedge now on your left. The path enters Warren Wood and is occasionally marked by white arrows on the trees. You reach a junction with a footpath marker and an open field beyond.

7

Turn right onto a path that runs in the woodland following the field edge to the left, then in a hedge with fields either side. You reach the village of Little Hampden, passing a house on the left then coming to a crossing farm track. Continue ahead across the track until you reach a grassy triangle with a bench. Turn right here to join the road running downhill. After 250m you see Little Hampden Church on the right.

Read more
Little Hampden Church

8

After looking at the church retrace your steps up the road and past the bench. After 300m you reach a parking area on the right. At the end of the houses opposite this area bend left into woods following the South Bucks Way marker. You come to a junction of paths with a fence and a No Horse riding sign behind.

9

Turn left, then fork left again after 20m at another footpath marker. This narrow path through woods soon brings you to open fields. Continue straight ahead with a hedge on your right. When you reach a gap in this hedge, cut through to the right to place the hedge on your left side. Continue down into a dip where the path bears left into woods, with the path marked by occasional yellow marker arrows on trees. Shortly after passing a very big chalk pit on your left, bear left and downhill at a fork in the path with a marker post. The path reaches fields and continues down with a hedge on the left. It then skirts around Dirtywood Farm before joining the drive to the Farm which takes you down to a road.

10

Cross the road and join the drive uphill to Solinger Farm. After 300m, when the drive take a sharp turn left, turn right through the hedge onto a signposted footpath that continues uphill with a hedge on the left. Keep ahead on the edges of several fields until the path enters a hedge and drops down to a junction of paths at the edge of Whiteleaf woods.

Read more
The Hampden Valley

11

Go through the metal kissing gate opposite then turn sharply right onto a descending sunken path. As it bends around this path becomes very deeply indented, in places by some 7 – 8 metres below the surrounding land. It is thought that this is part of an ancient (possibly Anglo-Saxon) bridleway route between High Wycombe and Askett, and the indentation is the result of several centuries passage of livestock and people. The path levels out and becomes a track in a broader, wooded valley. Eventually you reach and go through a gate to reach The Plough at Cadsden pub.

Read more
The Plough at Cadsden

12

Turn left uphill on the path between the pub and its car park following The Ridgeway and Bridleway sign. After 50m you reach a fork. Bear right here following the Bridleway sign. This path rises and skirts the edge of woodland, with paddocks then Whiteleaf Golf Club to the right. Eventually you join a surfaced drive and pass behind the Clubhouse.

13

Where the surfaced drive turns sharply right downhill, instead turn left uphill to pass the entrance to Whiteleaf Reservoir, then keep left at a fork with a signpost marker. The path now rises steeply until you pass through a wooden gate. After 20m bear right on to the crest of Whiteleaf Hill. The top of Whiteleaf Cross can be seen below a low wooden fence. The mound of earth just above here is the remains of a Neolithic barrow. Pass to the left of this and go through a gate onto a track. After 300m, fork left off this track to return to the car park where you started.

Read more
Whiteleaf Hill

End:

Bucks County Council car park at Whiteleaf Hill.

You made it

Following this trail on mobile or tablet? Share your experience.

Whiteleaf and The Hampdens

Terrain

Nearly all the walk is on footpaths and woodland or farm tracks. There is one section along a quiet road, and a few road crossings. There are no stiles. Dogs are welcome but they must be kept under close control as livestock may be grazed on some parts of the walk. There are frequent gentle-to-moderate climbs and descents, with one steep climb at the end. Total climb over the walk is 320m. Parts of the walk can be muddy and/or slippery after rain.

Please note that none of the route is on National Trust land. As such, the National Trust does not check for hazards on the walk. Walkers therefore follow this route at their own risk.

Whiteleaf and The Hampdens

Contact us

We hope you have enjoyed this walk.

If you have any suggestions for improvements to the route, the walking instructions or any other aspects of the walk please let us know by email: chilternscountryside@nationaltrust.org.uk.

Phone 01494 755596

 

Whiteleaf and The Hampdens

How to get here

Address
Start at Whiteleaf Hill car park, Peters Lane, near Princes Risborough, Bucks HP27 0LH. Grid Ref SP823036
By train

The nearest station to the starting point is at Monks Risborough on the Chiltern Line, 1.4 miles away

By road

Driving from Princes Risborough towards Aylesbury on the A4010, turn right in Monks Risborough onto Peters Lane, signposted for Hampden and Whiteleaf/Whiteleaf Cross and Hill. Turn left into the car park after about 1 mile and just after the road starts levelling out at the top of the steep hill.

By bus

The nearest bus stop is at Peters Lane, Monks Risborough 0.8 miles from the walk start, on Arriva No 300 bus route between High Wycombe and Aylesbury.

 

.

Whiteleaf and The Hampdens

Facilities and access

  • Parking: free parking at the walk start.
  • Toilets: no public toilets on the route; the nearest are in Princes Risborough.
  • Refreshments: The Plough at Cadsden pub is on the walk route, near the end of the walk. The Red Lion at Whiteleaf is very close to the walk start.
  • Picnics: picnic benches at the Whiteleaf Hill car park. Whiteleaf Hill itself is also a very good picnic spot in good weather.