This is an easy ride on quiet roads from Haddenham & Thame Parkway Station through gently undulating arable and pastoral countryside. There are a couple of ridges to cross in the first few and a short but steep climb of 150' or so after you have crossed the A41 at Waddesdon on the return leg.
The gossamer thin trainspotter rationale of the route is to follow the abandoned extension of the Metropolitan Line beyond Aylesbury to its termination at Verney Junction near Buckingham. But you also visit a Well attributed to an iconic 'Saint' who was purportedly responsible for the 'Jack in a Box' figures; find out a bit about Spaghetti Trees and cycle through the Rothschild’s beautiful Eyethrope Estate.
In addition to the summaries here, there are notes on each waypoint. These can be difficult to find and access on Outdooractive. You can find better edited and updatded versions on my blog site, www.pootler.co.uk . Look under the 'Pootler' heading.
Metroland was a name dreamt up by the Metropolitan Railway for the new suburbs being created on its routes out of London Marylebone, past Wembley and Harrow to Amersham and beyond. Some of these it developed itself. This route covers the 'beyond' bit, which stretches well beyond London and the Chiltern Hills into rural Buckinghamshire which the Company painted as the rural idyll within easy reach of its railway.
The name was catapulted into a wider audience by John Betjeman, a Poet Laureate with an attachment to the landscape and an entertaining turn of phrase; perhaps best known for the lines "Come friendly bombs and rain on Slough". He wrote a lot about it and even narrated a rather wonderful eponymous BBC documentary in 1973. Like it, he finishes at Verney Junction, which by then was already abandoned, sighing "grass triumphs, and I must say I’m rather glad”.
The Metropolitan Railway originated in the Great Central Railway, a creation of the Victorian King Of Railways, Sir Edward Watkin, a capitalist maniac and regular Elon Musk of the his era. He has his own 'bio' post on www.pootler.co.uk. See ‘Making Metroland’.
The rail services ran from 1894 until the Metropolitan Railway Company was taken over by what later became London Transport who integrated it into the London Underground. They understandably regarded it as a strategic anomaly, not being in London or Underground, and duly closed services beyond Quainton Road station.
The next section between Quainton Road and Aylesbury also formed part of the Great Central Railway's service from Marylebone so it survived the axe until finally closed in 1966 as part of the 'Beeching' cutbacks. I remember the newspaper headlines, 'Beeching's Pill'!
The construction of HS2 dogs the route and you will probably see some signs protesting against it. The reaction to the original rail building some 150 ago was similar and has been the subject of some serious research on the latter by a Dr Newman at the University of Hertfordshire.
As now, the original arguments in favour were economic. For example, a line from Cheddington to Aylesbury was intended to facilitate the production of Aylesbury Duck!. He also wrote a paper on 'The Historical Reality Behind Thomas the Tank Engine'. Clearly a man bent on adding to the stockpile of human knowledge.
You can find Thomas on the route.
If you want a better edited version of these notes or can add anything to the route, please let me know by going to or commenting on my blog (link) pootler.co.uk
Safety informationSee the note on the short diverson currenty required on the Eyethrope Estate
Tips and hintsFor more general background, waypoint detail with the intended illustrations which cannot be included on Outdooractive and a lot more guff, see my blog www.pootler.co.uk