Stoke Mandeville – High Wycombe Walk

With the blue skies above me and the sun wrapping me in its warm glow, it really was a beautiful day for a Summer Walk. Passing by farmers fields that seemed encrusted with gold, but just merely a mass of flowers waving in the breeze. The fields, however, soon became blocked from my view by hedges and houses, as I had reached a the tiny village of “Stoke Mandeville”. Hidden, amongst what seemed to be overgrown hedgerows, was the Stoke Mandeville Parish Church “St Mary In The Virgin”. From all accounts the whole area was left for wildlife, but otherwise quite well tended! I crossed the road, to continue my way onwards, I could help but notice 2 pubs in close proximity of each other, The Bull and The WoolPack, but as I had only just started out on my stroll I thought I would not be tempted to try any of their wares!

From 2015 – 09.07.2015 – Stoke Mandeville – High Wycombe Walk

I followed the roadway onwards and was to leave Stoke Mandeville behind me. As I did, I passed by a strangely wrapped tree in jumpers, investigating further I found that this about the HS2 railway and how the landscape would change. Walking further along, I found that the pavement soon came to an end and I had to the walk on the edge of the road, which was quite difficult to tackle. Eventually I came across the “Old Risborough Road” and the “Bucks Goats Centre”. I could just see through the fence some cute fluffy animals, sadly I really did not have the quality time to go in and find out more about them 😦 Leaving the Goat centre behind, I continued to follow the “Risborough Road” rather than the old one, for quite some way. With sun beaming down, blue skies and the landscape that the surrounding the roadside being mostly farmland the walk was quite pleasant.

From 2015 – 09.07.2015 – Stoke Mandeville – High Wycombe Walk

I finally reached another small village known as “Little Kimble”, which did not seem to have much other than a station and a few houses! As I strolled on I soon was walking into “Great Kimble”, I am not sure of the difference between the two villages however! I was soon distracted when I spotted a beautiful stone Church, which I thought I would investigate. This was “St Nicholas Church”, which has some quite interesting features, including the “Bruges Madonna”. The Madonna is a replica of one remaining examples of Michelangelo’s Carrara marble statues, which was a subject of the 1945 book “The Monument Men”, more recently made famous in the film starring and directed by George Clooney. I think this is a close as I will get to the original version of the Michelangelo statue When I came out of the church and started onwards, I was struck however, but the very large Iron sign outside the church. I will admit this is the first time I have seen a Church with its very own Pub Sign!!

From 2015 – 09.07.2015 – Stoke Mandeville – High Wycombe Walk

Following the road on, I soon came across the next Village of “Monks Risborough”,a strange sounding name to me. Was this pertaining to an historic Monks rebellion? This could not be further from the truth. The surrounding land at the beginning of the C11th was owned by the Archbishop of Canterbury. It was not until he passed away and a Community of Monks from Christ Church, Canterbury, inherited the estate. From then onwards this piece of “Risborough” obtained the title of “Monks”, hence “Monks Risborough”. As I walked on, I spotted a sign for “St Dunstans XI Church”. I thought that the church would be just off the road, but in fact it was hidden behind some thatched country cottages and along a small pathway. Once I had a negotiated my way along the path, it was enchanting to see a beautiful old church standing in front of me. Unlike the churches with a pub sign or with an overgrown wildlife garden, everything seemed extremely well kept.

From 2015 – 09.07.2015 – Stoke Mandeville – High Wycombe Walk

I wandered out of the church to rejoin the road, but as I did so, I thought that my ears were deceiving me when I heard a steam train whistle… In fact it was a magnificent steam traction engine in the most marvellous condition, it was just trundling down the road! I doubt I would have seen this on one of my more urban walks! I continued on my way walking through Monks Risborough and onwards until I reached “Princes Risborough”. It seemed that I had walked from where Monks had owned land to where a Prince’s Palace had once been. It was in the C14th that Edward, known as the Black Prince, inherited a Manor House or rather what was traditionally to be known as his “Palace”. He would have visited here often to view Stallions, with amazing names as Grisel, Tankarvill, and Morel de Salesbirs – names you would have thought to be found in the book “Lord of the Rings”! However, the Palace does not remain, just a reminder that the Palace once stood where a car park has now been built. Who knows what may lay beneath that car park however…. They found King Richard III under a car park!!

From 2015 – 09.07.2015 – Stoke Mandeville – High Wycombe Walk

As I came out of the high street, I crossed over the road, where I discovered that Princes Risborough was near the National Trail Ridgeway, Icknield Way, The Chiltern Way and the North Bucks Way. As I crossed the road I spotted a large boulder, something I had seen before on my travels, this was a “Sarsen Stone” or a “Pudding Stone”, which has been around since the Ice Age!! I really do like the name pudding stone 🙂 . As I was leaving Princes Risborough, I had the niggling suspicion that I had visited here previously. This was not the case,, but I had seen the buildings when they were used for in the TV Series “Midsomer Murders”! Leaving Princes Risborough behind, I found that my walk briefly joined the ridgeway walk as I sauntered down the Wycombe road and onwards. As I walked along the road I really could see why the national trail came this way, the landscape was really quite amazing as it surrounded the roadside, it was quite tempting to leave my current walk behind. But I am leaving that for a another day!

From 2015 – 09.07.2015 – Stoke Mandeville – High Wycombe Walk

With the sun rays beaming down with intense heat, I found that I walked this stretch quite slow to walk. I was still able to enjoy the ever changing scenery about me, the birds of Prey circling in the sky and the relative quietness of the countryside. It was not long before I reached the tiny village of Saunderton, which only seemed to more than a few houses. Passing on from Saunderton, it was not long before reached “West Wycombe”. As the road turned the corner, I was surprised to see a beautiful building seemingly rise from the top of the hill. It is full of lavishness and style with Archways, columns and stone Urns, but its Grandeur was built as the“Dashwood Family Mausoleum”. It was opulence was built in the C18th to house the family ashes, I cannot see this happening today… With this in mind, there may be Ghostly visitations from family or indeed friends in the West Wycombe village, but I am sure I will come back to find out…..

From 2015 – 09.07.2015 – Stoke Mandeville – High Wycombe Walk

I left the Mausoleum and West Wycombe behind, to find that I had finally reached the town of High Wycombe. I proceeded to walk through the town and on towards the Railway station where I was struck by the large Sheds that stood next door. These buildings were Brunel Railway Sheds, which had been designed and built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. These sheds were designed as part of Brunels Great Western Railway, where he was famously known for designing bridges, Viaducts and tunnels. These sheds had recently been renovated in Wycombe and had a wonderful mural celebrating Brunel and the Railway. It was here that I decided to end my walk for the day, I am sure I have plenty to revisit over time!

For the route I walked please click here Please feel free to look at my photos from the walk –

2015 – 09.07.2015 – Stoke Mandeville – High Wycombe Walk

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