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Downley Common

Downley Common is 22 hectares of well used woods and grassland at the heart of the village which is north of High Wycombe. There is evidence of past usage throughout the common which is mostly enjoyed for recreation these days. The Downley Common Preservation Society works hard at keeping the common in good condition.

The last over at Downley Common by Martin Warner

The above image - 'The last over at Downley Common' by Martin Warner won the 2009 Chilterns Commons Photo Competition.

Enjoying

Informal recreation and walking are the principal uses of the common. Its direct links to Naphill Common, other woodland and National Trust sites makes it a great location for some longer walks. One of these is the stile-free Hughenden Manor and Downley Common walk. The common hosts a cricket pitch and two annual events - Downley Day in June and a Bonfire Night torchlit procession. Look out for the Millennium Trail - the associated leaflet points out many of the local features.

Wildlife

The mix of woodland, open areas and ponds offers a home to a wide range of flora and fauna. Some of the woodland is classified as ancient and the spring bluebells and wood anemones are evidence of this. The very rare aquatic plant, starfruit, has returned to one of the ponds and the grassland supports a wide range of flowers and insects. Listen out for the woodpeckers and watch red kites drifting over the common.

Features

As with many other commons, past uses of Downley are reflected across the area. Clay pits can be seen although the kilns are long gone and banks and ditches delineate historic ownerships. The Le De Spencers Arms on the east of the common is on one of the earliest built sites on the common and is likely to have served travellers since the middle ages.

Facilities

Informal parking in Downley village centre on Common Side at the end of the High Street.

Disabled Access

Some open areas and paths are suitable for all visitors including those with push and wheelchairs. Contact the Preservation Society for more information.

OS Map

Sheet 172: Chiltern Hills East

Grid Reference

SU848956

Comments

The Preservation Society has obtained grants to do a wide range of project work on the common.

Website

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