Boundary walk at Hughenden
This energetic 4 mile walk broadly follows the outer boundary of the Hughenden Estate. It allows you to explore beautiful woodland, open parkland, farmland and a rare chalk stream.
This walk is no longer way-marked however, you can follow it on a hand-held device or print out a copy of these directions to use as you walk.
Most of the walk is on footpaths. There are no stiles. There is one short road section and two road crossings. Some of the route can be muddy and slippery in or after wet weather, and there are some quite steep slopes to walk up and down. So we recommend you wear good walking shoes or boots.
The visitor welcome kiosk (Grid Ref: SU859955).
From the visitor welcome kiosk, follow the path uphill towards the main car park. At the T-junction of paths by the Dew Pond, just before the car park, turn right then turn left up the road for 40 metres before turning right onto a path, with a small plantation of young trees on your left. Continue downhill into Woodcock Wood. Shortly after entering Woodcock Wood turn left at a crossing. Soon you pass a sawpit on your right. Continue straight ahead through to the end of the woodland ignoring any crossing paths.
The various woods you walk through are typical Chilterns woodlands, dominated by beech. Look out for chalk pits and saw pits, evidence of industry here long before Disraeli bought the estate. He often walked through the woodland examining the trees, particularly in autumn. He also enjoyed watching the woodmen at work and talking to them, and he sometimes took a small axe to help cut away ivy from the trees.
Go through a gate then continue in a leftward direction across the field towards a gate in the field boundary, with views of Hughenden Valley to the right. Go left through the gate and walk up the right edge of a field. Cross a path and through another field, with a hedge now on your left. At the end of the field, turn right along the woodland boundary until you see a metal gate on your left.
Turn left through the gate to enter Flagmore Wood. After about 50 metres you pass chalk pits on either side of the path. Continue straight ahead, until you reach a junction. Take the right hand fork and follow the path downhill ignoring any joining or crossing paths. At the bottom of the hill, turn left on the bridleway until you reach a gate leading into a field.
Don’t go through the gate but turn right uphill into Common Wood (signposted to Downley). When you reach the crossing boundary ditch, turn left keeping the ditch on your right. Go downhill to a crossing track. Cross the track and continue steeply uphill until you leave the wood between two fences. Take care here as the route meets a busy public road.
Cross the road (Coates Lane) into Littleworth Road and walk along the pavement on the left. Just after house number 78 (and opposite a brick and flint cottage) join a public footpath on the left. This footpath is quite narrow and can get overgrown in the summer. Alternatively, continue another 40m and turn left into the drive opposite Narrow Lane. Cross a drive then continue along a path narrow towards Little Tinkers Wood. Enter the woods then immediately bear left at fork. After about 20 metres at the next fork do not follow the larger path that bears left and downhill. Instead continue straight ahead, then gently uphill until you reach a metal gate into a field containing the D’Israeli Monument. Here there are fine views over the estate and of the Manor.
The 50 ft high monument was commissioned by Mary Anne Disraeli in 1852 as a surprise present for her husband. It commemorates Disraeli’s father Isaac, a literary critic and historian. Mary Anne had it located on a hilltop opposite the Manor, designed to draw the eye from various parts of the pleasure garden and parkland.
Leave the Monument field through the same gate you entered then turn right to go down to the bottom of the woods. Turn right through a gate into a field then continue with a fence on your right until you reach a road, Coates Lane. Take care crossing the road and turn left for 30m.
Turn sharp right on to a track and go through a metal gate. Follow the track uphill until you reach a gate with Middle Lodge on it. Turn left here and go through a set of metal gates into Hughenden Park. Turn sharp right then follow the path downhill with a metal fence on your right and parkland on your left. Continue beneath some large field maples until you reach a stream, with an ornamental lake created by a weir.
The Park was first laid out in the 1820s with limes, horse chestnuts, walnuts and sycamores. Some of the trees planted then survive now, as do some field maples that pre-dated them. After Disraeli bought Hughenden in 1848 he extended the parkland southwards. He enjoyed walking here with Mary Anne and planted many trees to commemorate visitors.
Turn left to walk along the left bank of Hughenden Stream until you reach the main drive that leads up to Hughenden Manor.
This is a rare chalk stream – rare because the chalk rock the stream flows on is permeable and water normally sinks down into it. The stream rises in the Hughenden Valley and flows into the River Wye in High Wycombe. Disraeli caught a 4 ½ lb trout in the stream here in 1861. In 1862 he had the ornamental lake created, where he installed two swans, Hero and Leander. There’s more material about the stream on the information board next to the stream.
Turn left to walk uphill, keeping to the left of the drive. Pass through the car park of St Michael and All Angels Church then go into the churchyard.
Church of St Michael and All Angels
The oldest parts of the so-called “Church in the Park” date back to the 12th century. It now has a Victorian Gothic appearance following its restoration and extension in the 1870s when Disraeli was living in the Manor. Of particular interest inside is the marble memorial to Disraeli that Queen Victoria had erected above the seat in the chancel where he used to sit. It is the only known memorial from a reigning monarch to a commoner subject.
Follow the tarmac path up to the left of the church. Leave the churchyard through a small gate and continue uphill. Alternatively, if you prefer to avoid the cemetery, walk uphill across the grass meadow keeping the church hedge on your right. At the top of the park go through the metal gate next to a cattle grid, join the main drive and walk straight along it until you reach the Stableyard and Walled Garden entrances on your right. Refreshments and public toilets are available in the Stableyard. Turn right here and follow the signs to return to the visitor car park and welcome kiosk.
Disraeli purchased Hughenden in 1848, shortly after becoming leader of the Tories in the Commons. His sense of achievement in finally reaching high office was matched by his satisfaction in finding a home that matched his image. Buying Hughenden finally elevated him to the status of landed country gentleman.
The National Trust visitor welcome kiosk
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