Ridgeway Lodge

Bed and Breakfast
Princes Risborough

01844 345438

LOCATION

ADDRESS

Ridgeway Lodge
Upper Icknield Way
Saunderton
Princes Risborough
Bucks
HP27 9NL

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ABOUT THE AREA

Enjoy this beautiful part of the Chiltern Hills, with its peaceful villages, good eating and drinking in country pubs and more, with something for every visitor, whether business traveller or holiday maker. People have been visiting the Chilterns area for over 5000 years, as it is well-placed to get to all points of the compass!

Watched over by Red Kites and the Whiteleaf Cross cut into the chalk escarpment overlooking the town, Princes Risborough* was named after Edward the Black Prince. He had a hunting lodge close to where St. Mary’s church is today.

The town lies in a broad low-lying gap in the Chiltern Hills which provided ancient travellers with a link between the River Thames to the south and the Icknield Way which eventually led north to Norfolk. Both were important routes from earliest times, together with the Ridgeway, an even more ancient trackway, which stretches from Avebury Stone circle near Stonehenge in the south west, to Ivinghoe Beacon in the north east and which passes our gate!

The wooded areas had great significance for those travellers for forming settlements. The early inhabitants left their traces - the Neolithic barrow near the Whiteleaf Cross, Iron-Age earthworks at Pulpit Hill and Lodge Hill, and a Romano-British villa at Saunderton, and also Coombe Hill, to name a few. The clear chalk streams formed by the bubbling springs in the area, were very significant in the founding settlements, and were, until more recently also home to many local watercress beds. The chalk streams still run clear and cold, but sadly the watercress beds have gone.

Our location is a very convenient place to stay either coming from or going to the airport, or as a place to visit whilst enroute to all destinations - East, West, North or South! 

We are approximately 8 miles from the M40, providing easy access from Stratford, Warwick, Birmingham and London. Princes Risborough rail station is less than a mile from the house, has excellent direct train services from Wembley Stadium, London and Birmingham. Heathrow airport is about 45 minutes drive depending on the M40/M25 traffic, Gatwick approximately 90 minutes, and Luton approximately an hour.

Princes Risborough,(which has a market charter dating back to 1523 and has some very old buildings, some of which hide behind more recent brickwork), is well served with independent cafes, a Costa coffee shop, pubs and several restaurants, including Indian and Italian, a Creperie, a bakery shop, Domino's Pizza and a Fish & Chip shop. There is a delicatessen/cafe-cum-deli which also sells accessories and clothing upstairs, M&S Simply Food, a Tesco supermarket, a butcher, and Organic and Gluten-free.

In addition there is an art gallery, opticians, dentists, several card and gift shops, WH Smith, an artist's materials and stationers, two pet shops, ironmongers, estate agents, Newsagent, Sally's Sewing Box-(an Aladdin's Cave of haberdashery and fabrics stacked high to the ceiling with everything for hobbyists and which offers various courses), a bead shop, which also offers classes, several hair and beauty salons, 2 florists, a nail bar, a cookshop selling china and gifts, the usual charity shops and the Paddocks clinic.

You'll find a well stocked library and Dukes wine bar! There is also a Dry Cleaners. If you need emergency repair to boots or shoes, or even a new pair, the excellent Wainwright's shoe shop is well-stocked. Another shoe repair/key cutter is also in the High Street. There is a street market on a Thursday, with larger Farmer’s markets on the third Thursday each month.

Visitor information is housed in the Library, open all day Tuesdays,Thursdays and Fridays, but only Wednesday and Saturday mornings.

The local area abounds with country pubs and restaurants, all serving good food, some having been featured in Midsomer Murders and Inspector Morse. Filming for the popular police series takes place in many different villages, so it is difficult to 'spot' a particular location on screen! Suffice to say, the Chilterns is a very attractive, safe and quiet place to visit!

There are many good restaurants in the wider area, such as Le Manoir aux Quatre Saison at Little Milton, The Charles Napier at Radnage, and Guido's at Amersham, The Compleat Angler on The Thames at Marlow, The Hand and Flowers on the Henley road from Marlow and The Five Arrows Hotel at Waddesdon. Whether you're looking for a small and friendly pub, a contemporary dining room, a riverside restaurant or a tea shop, there are plenty to choose from.

More active pursuits locally include golf, riding, walking, cycling, sightseeing, visiting historic homes and castles, museums, shopping, theatres and more. On the other hand, you might just want to soak up the beautiful scenery and relax!

The Greater Ridgeway

Historical fiction
All along the Ridgeway you will find places described as "castles", with never any sign of anything remotely like a castle. If you've started wondering what all these "non-castles" were really for, you wouldn't be the first to be puzzled by this historical misdirection. Start thinking about where you would need to stay each night if you were a traveller or drover on The Ridgeway a few thousand years ago- you probably had livestock that needed a safe place as well as yourself and your family or fellow-travellers. Don't forget, there was a time when British wolves were still roaming the countryside. A nice big enclosure has plenty of room for you and your livestock.
Only rarely over thousands of years were these enclosures actually used by military forces as forts as well. Despite many orthodox historian's obsession with war and death (which is great for academic careers, books and TV series), life on The Ridgeway was much more peaceful and routine.
Fortunately for the modern walker taking on the challenge, there are now nice B&Bs to stay in, instead of camping out in the wild and wondering what’s lurking outside your tent!
 
The modern (and shorter) version of The Ridgeway, between Avebury in Wiltshire and Ivinghoe Beacon in Bedfordshire, is part of a chain of long-distance paths that run for 583Km, connecting Lyme Regis in Devon with Hunstanton in Norfolk, following the route of the chalk uplands. The Greater Ridgeway didn't just meander aimlessly across Southern England's chalk downs. It was in fact the best high-ground route between the west and east coasts of Southern England. It was also the driest, with the minimum number of river crossings. The Thames was, and is, the biggest river to cross, but the trail crosses at the narrowest point between Streatley and Goring.
 
This version of the Ridgeway Trail is now shown on Google maps,
in six sections that are a day's walk each. Unless you have a very keen sense of direction, we'd advise having a map and compass with you.
https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?ll=51.681071%2C-1.148071&spn=0.76463%2C1.760559&msa=0&mid=1ZExj-tNDursOwL3izfpMc8TRVyA
 
Today, many of our guests are walkers who follow in the tracks of those ancient travellers, taking on the challenge of the 87 miles of The Ridgeway.

Local places of interest

There are two 9-hole golf courses, Princes Risborough* and Whiteleaf, and an 18-hole course at Ellesborough close to Chequers, 3 miles away.

Lacey Green Windmill, the oldest smock mill in the country,(built in 1650) is in Lacey Green, at the top of the hill to the east of the A4010, just south of Risborough. Climb up inside four floors to where the wheat arrived before being ground into flour and collected in sacks on the floors below. It is open on Sundays and Bank Holidays, manned by volunteers, from May to the end of September, and well worth a visit.

Bekonscot*, in Beaconsfield,to the south east of High Wycombe, is a model village giving a fascinating glimpse of life in miniature in the 1930's, with a huge model railway which circuits the site and a ride-on railway which also travels through the gardens. Enid Blyton’s house is a fairly recent addition. There is a large playground and covered picnic area as well as the ubiquitous shop, which is housed in an old railway carriage. A rewarding visit whether you are 8 or 80!

St. Tiggywinkles, at Haddenham* 3 miles away, is home to the world’s first and Europe's busiest Wildlife Teaching Hospital. (It started life in 1978 in the garden shed of Les and Sue Stocker and their son Colin who still run it. The original garden shed was moved onto the 6 acre site which was opened in 1991 by Princess Alexandra and is still there to be seen!) Visitors can see birds and rescued animals, including foxes, deer, many prickly adult and not-so-prickly baby hedgehogs and birds, including Red Kites, which, after treatment, if not able to be released back into the wild, live happily in secure,but natural surroundings. It is open to the public during the summer months, but you can also join as a supporter to help fund the amazing work done!

The village of West Wycombe and West Wycombe Park, both owned by the National Trust is a few minutes drive. The home of the Dashwoods, the house has been featured in many historical costume dramas. Here you will also find the 'Hellfire caves', created in the late 17th and early 18th century for the building of houses in the area. Philanthropic Sir Francis, the 2nd Baronet, set about extending this quarry in order to relieve serious local unemployment caused by three successive harvest failures in 1748,1749 and 1750, and to provide material for a new main road between West Wycombe and High Wycombe (the A40 which stretches from Oxford to London). The men were paid one shilling a day, enough in those times to keep body and soul together. The old road ran along the valley bottom and had become so deeply rutted that carriages frequently overturned, especially during wet weather. The new road, which was on a straight line to Wycombe, was also intended to provide a three mile vista of the church tower capped with its glittering golden ball on top of the hill. The Dashwood Mausoleum was added few years later, and the intended view he created is still very much evident today. 

Hughenden Manor, also National Trust owned, just north of High Wycombe, fascinating home of Bejamin Disraeli, favourite Prime Minister and friend of Queen Victoria, has a Map Room, highlighting the wartime use of "Hillside"as mapping headquarters for Bomber Command,(now Air Command)which is situated in Walter's Ash on top of the chalk ridge which runs from Risborough south to High Wycombe. Other recently added attractions are the kitchen area, also in the basement, and the Reprographic department, which shows how maps were photographed for copying for the bomber pilots' use in night-time raids during the Second World War.

Buckinghamshire Railway Centre,Quainton, north of Aylesbury, is home of Thomas the Tank Engine, where you will find many old steam engines and other railway items of interest, as well as steam train rides.

The Chinnor and Princes Risborough Steam Railway, based in Chinnor, 5 miles to the west, run by volunteers is open on most weekends.

Waddesden Manor, also north of Aylesbury, one of the many homes of the Rothschilds, gives a fascinating glimpse into the lifestyle of the rich and famous.

Cliveden, now a luxury hotel, still owned by the National Trust, so the gardens are open at various times. Home to the Astors, site of the Sixties Profumo scandal and is about 30-minute drive.

Oxford*, Blenheim Palace, Grey's Court, Claydon House and other NT properties are within an hour’s drive of the house.

Highclere, where Downton Abbey was filmed, is also open to the public on certain days, but needs to be booked well in advance.

Bletchley Park home of Colossus and the Codebreakers in the Second World War- well worth a visit - but it will really need all day!

Princes Risborough - an ideal base from which to indulge your interest-whatever it may be!

*Featured in Midsomer Murders

Where to eat

  • The Black Horse, Lacey Green, good food, and vegetarian choices.
  • The Three Crowns, Askett, good variety, lots of fish and shellfish.
  • Bella Vita, Italian, Princes Risborough, open every day, good choices, fish as well as pasta and pizzas.
  • Radhuni, Market Square, Popular Indian restaurant.
  • The Red Lion, Whiteleaf. Fresh local food, new dining room.
  • The Boot, Bledlow Ridge. New menu, good food.
  • The Sir charles Napier, Chinnor Hill. Book months ahead!!
  • The Pink and Lily,Lacey Green.

Information on other items of interest

Chiltern Society Walks programme:

  • Sunday walks start at 10.00 am. Usually about 5 or 6 miles. Allow 2½ hours.
  • Weekday walks start at 10.30 am. About 4 to 5 miles. Allow 2½ hours.

Chiltern Society sites worth visiting:

Amersham Museum, 49 High Street, Amersham, Bucks HP7 0DP Tel: 01494 723700.

Thame Museum, in the High Street, has a fascinating collection of a huge variety of artefacts.

Free admission. Open Tues,Weds,Sat 10-4, Sunday,12-4. http://www.thamemuseum.org