Windmill Hill ( Waddesdon estate)
Windmill Hill is part of the Waddesdon estate. Until recently i had no idea it existed.
Although Waddesdon Manor is a national trust site you will not need to be members of the national trust to do this walk. Just keep to the public footpaths and keep and eye out for any National Trust signs. (The car park is free too)
Me and the Husbeast ditched the kids at school and decided to try our hand at walking. I mean we can walk but we’ve never been for a walk, walk. You know the kind for exercise and health benefits etc.
We put on our walking boots, put all our winter clothes in the boot and set off. We didn’t let the fact that it was cold enough for hell to freeze over put us off either.
We parked in the Waddesdon car park. Waddesdon house and grounds were shut anyway. The rest of the estate was still open along with Windmill hill. It was so quiet we were one of only 3 other cars in the car park.
There were a few dog walkers scattered about and a runner or 2 (Nutters).
Due to the snowfall the day before the place looked absolutely stunning. It looks good when it hasn’t been snowing but wow. No filter needed today….well except maybe for my face.
If you’re visiting when the grounds are open then don’t worry about getting the bus. You can walk up the road and its a left turn off the main road. You’ll see the signpost saying Windmill Hill. I’d never noticed this before.
Fairly Easy Walk
Its not a difficult walk to start with if you go this way. I’m pretty unhealthy so you can rest assured i’m not talking shit and sending you up Buckinghamshires version of Mt Etna. It is a small incline but once you get to a certain point you will start to see the Manor popping up over the tree line its lovely.
As you can guess the higher you climb the better the views are. It was a lovely clear day so we could see for miles into the Valley.
We started making our way over the cattle grid. You don’t need to do this there are gates but like giant tits that we are we missed the signs telling us so.
It was at that point the dog walkers behind in all their tweed glory started screaming at their dogs. Wondering what the shit was going down i turned my head for a nosy.
They were only bounding after us!!! i totally shit myself and started looking for trees to climb so i didn’t get mauled by a tweed wankers hunting dog. Unfortunately we were in the middle of a field. I had no where to go. My poor kids, i didn’t want them to have to live with my mum.
Then out of the blue they pulled this whistle out and started tooting on that. The dogs stopped a few meters away!!!! serioulsy WTF? why would you only pull that out now. I was borderline about to soil myself.
This whole time the husbeast didn’t even bat an eyelid. I reckon deep down he was hoping the dogs would get me. Ha unlucky.
Panic over and onwards we trundled. The dogs had gone now so i could un-clench the bum cheeks a bit. The views never stopped disappointing for a moment.
Then we rounded the corner and i came upon what i was looking for. The Waddesdon Archives. I’m not one for fancy architecture but wow. This building is modern art. You can’t go in unless by appointment and even then they will have rules. However you can go into the courtyard.
The courtyard is magnificent, water features, Sculptures (of gorillas holding fish which i totally don’t get but hey) and views for miles. You all need to walk up here and have a look. You wont be disappointed. If you take your kids i’m not going to lie they probably will though.
There is a shire horse on the hill which at first i thought was real. I don’t really understand what its all about but its lugging some giant marrows in its cart. Looks cool though.
We bumped into another tweeded man. We stopped for a brief chat and he gave us some pointers on where to go next. He was really lovely and helpful. Thankfully he didn’t have a pack of hounds with him ready to finish the job.
We did a full loop of the Archives then headed back. Then we decided to go off road……..
Thats when it all went a bit tits up. Lets go off road we thought. We’ve walked for an hour now. Technically that makes us ramblers now. Just called me Strider (Not Titchy the Strider from Lord of the Rings)
We followed the public foot path signs for a while. Into some fields we thought we could cut a huge corner if we headed down and across. We were in fact wrong.
After an hour of walking around some fields (we’d lost the signs for pubic footpath ages ago). We ended up in a field full of sheep. We thought we were following tracks. In all fairness we were. They were sheep tracks though.
We had to climb over a fence which involved hearding the sheep out of the way. Do sheep stampede? Thankfully they didn’t and we managed to climb over. Me with the grace of a hippo doing the foxtrot. Forgot about the snow straddled the top and got a wet crotch. Great!
The path was none existent at this point. Husbeast started wondering if waddesdon was shut because they were holding hunts on their grounds. Another panic hit me. What if that was the case? we all know National trust allow hunts on their grounds. It would explain the dogs and the copious amount of tweed.
The husbeast would be fine he’s wearing bright red. The aren’t going to mistake him for a dear. Me on the other hand i was wearing dark colours. I’m short, chubby and making some grunting sounds at this point. I’m going to get mistaken for a wild boar and shot.
We found some woods and headed through it and low and behold we saw a path on the otherside. We climbed over the gate back onto the path tried to find out bearing…….
It was the same path we had decided to go off road on about an hour and a half earlier. I shit you not we had moved around 20mts along this path and it had taken us forever.
Its safe to say me and the husbeast have the navigational skills of a tethered donkey.
Windmill Hill stats:
Walk difficulty: 5/10 if you stick to paths
Points of interest: 8/10
Buggy friendly: Yes if you stick to paths
Child/toddler friendly: I wouldn’t take mine but if your kids love walking then maybe
Dog Friendly: Yes, Be weary of the sheep and keep them on short leads in these areas.
There is a lot of history and information on the buildings and the windmill hill walk etc but i’ll let you look all that up for yourselves. I’m not about to give you a history lesson because i can’t.
Despite nearly getting hunted, Freezing our arses off, Getting wet feet from all the snow, heading some sheep and getting lost. it was bloody great fun and the views are totally worth it.
You can follow the mapped route for Windmill hill if you check out Waddesdon manors website HERE it says its an hour route…..not if you’re us!
I will be adding more walks to the website soon but for now if you’re after kids friendly walks check out the country park section HERE