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.
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.
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.
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.
Accessibility – Some open areas and paths are suitable for all visitors including those with push and wheelchairs.
Terrain – Mostly easy walking on good wide paths, some of which can be muddy after rain. One moderate climb at the end. Stile free and four gates.
Facilities & accessibility
Food and drink – Le De Spencers Arms just off route on Downley Common.
Parking – Informal parking in Downley village centre on Common Side at the end of the High Street.
Public transport – Bus 30 starts and finishes at High Wycombe Bus Station and stops on Commonside. It runs all week.