Monday 10 August 2020
Chilterns volunteer Emma Sutcliffe has lived in Gerrards Cross her whole life. Since completing work experience with the Chilterns Conservation Board back in 2014 she has obtained a degree and now works in Event Management in the city. She enjoys spending her time in the peace and quiet of the Chilterns during the weekends, away from the hustle and bustle of London. Join Emma as she heads out to Ballinger Common to check out one of our recently launched social-distance friendly walks.
Starting in the quaint little hamlet of Ballinger, this gentle 4.5-mile circular walk takes you past The Lee and Lee Common, before returning to Ballinger Common. Although close in proximity to larger towns such as Amersham and Wendover, Ballinger is very quiet and peaceful, and the wide tracks, fields and woodland on this route offer plenty of space. The walk isn’t too strenuous, with only two inclines along the way, both of which are fairly gentle.
The start point is the car park at Ballinger Common Recreation Ground which is easy to find with plenty of parking spaces available. On-street parking is also easily accessible surrounding the recreation ground. We found the route easy to follow, it took us through sweeping fields, beautiful woodland and past traditional cottages. About a third of the way into the walk we arrived at the Lee. The Cock and Rabbit pub, a local favourite, is situated on the edge of the Common and is a great way to break up the walk. A small table is set up outside, with a menu on display and clear one-way system signage. There is a limit of one customer at a time, and a precise and quick ordering system in place. The common offers plenty of space for socially distanced picnics and has several benches scattered around the grass! The pub is also offering a takeaway service if you live in the local area or fancy taking some food home with you.
You may also recognise this location as the country inn ‘The Rose and Chalice’, as known by fans of the TV series Midsomer Murders. The Lee has featured in the television programme many times, with filming taking place across The Green and Lee Manor, otherwise known as Holm Manor. The Lee also has a strong link with the Liberty family. In 1893, Arthur Liberty, the founder of the esteemed department store Liberty London, bought the Manor estate from his grandparents. Following on from this, the family have had a huge influence in the development of the village, including that of the pub.
After leaving the Lee, the route continues through fields to The Chiltern Link and The Chiltern Way, which roughly marks the walk’s halfway point. The Chiltern Way is a 134 mile circular walk which takes in some of the very best of the Chilterns landscape. The entire walk stretches across a huge area, from Luton down to Reading. The walk from Ballinger is just a small snippet of this and is a great example of what the full 134 miles has to offer.
We continued through clustered woodland and fields, with abundant traditional cottages along the way. At Lee Clump there is a charming little ‘Shop at The Lee’ based within the local Scout Hut and run by the community for the community. It is well stocked with the necessities and they stock a range of local produce. Their meat comes from Kings Farm in Wendover, bread from Darvells in Chesham and treats from Just Biscuits in Stoke Mandeville whilst free range eggs are supplied by local farmers.
The final stretch of the walk took us across Lee Common and a timeless landscape of small copses, hedgerows and a path hugging the woodland edge with some lovely views, finally bringing us back to Ballinger village.
For details of the Ballinger & the Lee Walk walk, including a downloadable map and route description SEE HERE