Section 44 Return
Gallowstree Common to Whitchurch Hill
|OS Explorer 171 Chiltern Hills West
|4.5 Miles/2.5 Hours
|From the site of the old Reformation pub, now closed, in Gallowstree Common.
|Some short sections of road walking to link some marvellous woodland paths. The roads are quiet country ones but there are some tricky junction crossings. Do not take risks; wait until you are certain that no vehicle is coming especially around blind corners. The final stretch is through rolling open country.
With the site of the old ‘The Reformation’ pub on your right, go forward along the main road. Cross a side road which leads into the village and continue to reach a staggered crossroads. Keep straight on with care as the verge ends. Pass a house and outhouses on your right and carefully keep on looking for a gap on your right into the woods (unfortunately this gap is on a blind corner so take extra care; it’s better to cross the road until the gap is located).
Inside the gap is a pole barrier and a wire fence over on your right. Bear left on a path going diagonally left across the wood, gradually veering away from the road over on your left. The path is easy to follow and occasionally muddy. Just before a house at the far side of the wood, ignore a path off right. Go straight up to a fieldgate in the garden fence.
To the left of the metal fieldgate is a metal swing gate. Go through this and bear diagonally left across to a second metal swing gate. Through this continue diagonally left across an old orchard to a third metal swing gate in the far opposite corner.
Exit on to a road and turn left down to a junction at the very end (ignore a stile on the right halfway down). At the junction, cross to a road opposite. THIS IS A VERY DANGEROUS CROSSING. THERE IS VERY POOR VISIBILITY ON THE RIGHT AND TRAFFIC HURTLES ALONG. DO NOT TAKE ANY RISKS OR DART ACROSS. WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE CERTAIN THAT NO TRAFFIC IS COMING FROM EITHER DIRECTION.
Continue up the road opposite and soon reach another junction. This road is also very busy but the visibility is good (the pub on the right is now an Indian Restaurant).
Cross over to a metal swing gate into a stand of trees. Bear diagonally left to another swing gate, then bear right to a pair of gates in a corner of hedge. Continue with the hedge on your right.
Pass a plantation of young trees and emerge into the corner of a large sloping field. Bear right on a rough farm track and follow it by the edge of the wood on your right. Soon swing right into the wood itself and follow the track to the far side.
Reach a gateway into a field and a junction of bridleways. Turn right on an enclosed path with the wood on your right and the field on the left. At the top of the field ignore cross tracks and go on uphill into the wood. At the top of the slope bear left with the track and emerge at the edge of the wood at a junction of bridleways. Go straight ahead on a rough country road.
At a junction, by concrete gateposts, bear right off the road to double metal fieldgates. Beyond are two tracks. Bear left to join the slightly lower track. Wind down through the wood. At a Y-fork bear left and continue on for some way to reach a road (pub down left now closed).
Cross to a stile by a wooden fieldgate, two paths diverge here. Bear diagonally left across a pasture to the far opposite corner by a conifer plantation. In the corner cross a stile by a metal swing gate and continue along an enclosed path.
This path soon becomes a vehicle track. Keep on to a crossroads by an avenue of trees. Cross to go on in the same direction on a wide rubble track. In a short distance reach a second junction of ways with an old barn beyond. Turn left down a rough vehicle track and pass by farm buildings on your right.
At the end of the buildings turn sharp right along the bottom of the buildings to cross to a metal kissing gate by a metal fieldgate. Enter a paddock and go along by the hedge on your right to an old stile by a fieldgate. Cross into a field beyond. Turn left, downhill, to a metal kissing gate at the bottom into trees. At the far side of the wood exit through another metal kissing gate into a steeply sloping field. Go diagonally right down to a further metal kissing gate at the corner of a wood. Through this turn left to go steeply up a pasture veering slightly away from the wood on your left to an improvised gate in the hedge at the top.
Enter another field and continue up to a metal fieldgate at the far side. Through this turn right on a rough farm road and continue to the end to emerge onto a road. Turn left on the road.
By the last house on the right turn right off the road on a wide gravel track. This soon becomes grassy between hedges. Emerge through a wooden kissing gate into a sloping field. Go forward along the top of the field with a hedge on your right. At the far end, exit through a further wooden kissing gate onto an enclosed track.
Turn left downhill for a few paces then right up into the corner of a field. Go forward along the edge of the field with a hedge on your left. At the top corner of the field reach a gateway and a junction of tracks. Do not go straight ahead but turn right along the edge of the field with trees on your left.
At the end of the trees turn left through a gap in the hedge (it is easy to miss this) onto a path enclosed between hedges. Follow this for ¼ mile. It eventually becomes a vehicle track and emerges onto a road.
Turn right on the road and look out for Oakdown Close just past a white house on your left. Turn left into the close. At a bend go straight ahead into an enclosed path between a fence and hedge. Keep on this to meet a road at the end.
Turn right a few paces to regain The Sun inn in Whitchurch Hill and the start of the section.