German Forest Walk Hughenden
This is a 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometres) walk that explores the dark evergreen woods inspired by Benjamin and Mary Anne Disraeli’s visits to the Northern Bohemian forests on the German/Czech border. You return to Hughenden Manor along the edge of Echo Valley and Hanging Woods. This walk includes a mix of woodlands and gently rolling valleys with views across a mixture of grazed and ploughed fields divided by hedgerows.
To help you to follow this walk, please look out for the purple waymarker arrows.
Start at the visitor welcome kiosk. Grid Ref SU860955
From the visitor welcome kiosk, retrace your steps towards the main car park. At the T-junction of paths by the Dew Pond turn left. There is a purple way-marker on a post. You will soon reach another purple way-marker on another short post. Here turn right to follow a more-or-less level path.
At a viewpoint on your left, pause to take in the view across Echo Valley towards Manor Farm and the D'Isreali Monument. When you are ready, continue on the level path through the German Forest for another 10 minutes (500m), until you reach a crossing of 5 paths
A glimpse of the D'Israeli Monument
In the distance on Tinker’s Hill and above the outbuildings of Manor Farm, you catch a glimpse of a commemorative monument that was designed by Edward Buckton Lamb to the memory of Isaac D'Israeli (1766-1848) who was a successful literary critic and historian, and the father of Benjamin Disraeli. The monument was commissioned as a 'surprise' gift from Benjamin Disraeli’s wife Mary Anne.
At the junction of paths, take the first path on the left that heads downhill. Ignoring any crossing paths, follow this path until it reaches the base of the slope and meets a bridleway running along the bottom of the valley.
The Disraeli’s’ German Forest
The German Forest walk takes you through Hughenden’s German-inspired woodland. Disraeli and his wife Mary Anne visited Northern Bohemian and were enchanted by the forests there. On returning to Hughenden they set about creating their own German forest where they could enjoy an evening stroll. Along the path, the evergreen trees provide a splendid realisation of Disraeli’s vision of Northern Bohemia, transported to Hughenden. The yews, other conifers and laurels planted among the native beech trees create year-round interest. The forest is now the home to a population of badgers and, although you are unlikely to see the animals in daylight, you will see plenty of evidence of the excavation of their underground sets where they have brought the underlying white chalk rock to the surface.
Turn left on to the bridleway and follow it along the bottom of the valley towards a field gate 100m away.
Turn left off the bridleway just before the field gate, following the footpath uphill between the trees. At the T-junction, turn right along an open path which skirts the lower edge of Hanging Wood. On your right here you can get a good view of the D'Israeli Monument and of Echo Valley towards High Wycombe. In spring and summer look out for the colourful wildflower banks on both sides of the path.
Echo Valley is a typical Chiltern dry valley that was carved from the chalk during the Ice Age. The valley would have formed during the glacials (long cold periods) of the Ice Age, from about half a million years ago. During these times the ground would have been frozen like modern-day Arctic permafrost: the pores within the chalk, which normally allow water to drain down through the rock, were blocked with ice, so the water from spring snowmelt and summer rain would have run over the surface carving the valley. 14,000 years ago there would have been no grass or trees, just foaming grey-brown water thundering along the valley floor in the summer months. Tundra scrub and lichens would have covered the hills, with herds of mammoths and woolly rhinos grazing on the slopes. Now you can simply sit and enjoy the view with only sheep and cattle grazing the fields. Alongside the path you will find a bank that is carefully managed to allow an abundance of wildflowers to flourish. These vary throughout the year and include wild strawberries, milkwort, dog violets, marjoram, buttercups and large clumps of primroses: Disraeli's favorite flower. The flowers attract many species of butterfly and bee.
Continue straight ahead along the path into an area of woodland, keeping to the main path.
On reaching a wooden signpost, follow the route ahead and uphill towards ‘Hughenden Manor & Tea Room’.
On reaching the top of a short, steep slope, follow the narrow sunken road ahead of you between flint walls. PLEASE TAKE CARE AS VEHICLES USE THIS ROAD. You will soon reach a junction of roads and paths with the gates to Hughenden Manor and its gardens on your right, and the stableyard and walled garden on your left.
Hughenden Manor is best known as the former home of the great Victorian statesman and author Benjamin Disraeli. Hughenden provides a fascinating glimpse into the private world of one of the most colourful and charismatic characters of his age. You can also discover the secret wartime history of “Operation Hillside”, where secret maps were made for the RAF or alternatively relax in the gardens. Entry to the Manor is free to National Trust members. Non-members can buy tickets at the visitor welcome kiosk.
When you are ready to continue, take the road that curves uphill to the left of the stableyard, with the apple orchard picnic area on your left, to reach the visitor welcome kiosk.
The visitor welcome kiosk. Grid Ref SU860955
You made it
Following this trail on mobile or tablet? Share your experience.