Christmas Common car park (grid ref SU 709/936, postcode OX49 5HL)
The Chilterns offer lots of superb fl owing and undulating singletrack through picturesque countryside and beech woodlands. Navigation can be difficult and there’s lots to see, so the area is best explored by joining an organised ride, such as the excellent Summit Sixty Five event (http://65.summitmtb.co.uk).
Christmas Common is just up the hill from Watlington, off the M40 at junction 5, near High Wycombe. Park near the Fox & Hounds pub.
MAPS AND USEFUL BOOKS
OS Landranger 175: Reading & Windsor.
Mountain Bike Rides in & around the Chilterns by Max Darkins (Rough Ride Guide).
Try B&B No.6 in Watlington (07966 969633) or White Mark Farm campsite between Watlington and Christmas Common (www.whitemarkfarm.co.uk, 01491 612296). The Fox & Hounds is good for food and drink (01491 612599), and there are shops and takeaways in Watlington. For spares/repairs, try Cycle Care in High Wycombe (www.cyclecare.co.uk, 01494 447908).
Turn right out of the car park. Go right at the T-junction, left at the fork and, shortly afterwards, right, down the dead-end road. Turn left at/in the woods (off-road), following the bridleway downhill. Go left on the road, uphill, then right at the fork and continue on the bridleway opposite (out the back of the small parking area).
Cross the common and go down a stony bridleway in the trees. Go right on the road at the end, downhill, then left on the bridleway into the wood. Keep left, uphill. The track becomes Tarmac. Go right on the road (in Ibstone), then left by a school, downhill. Turn right on a bridleway into the trees.
Keep right, following the bridleway along the valley bottom to, and right on, a road. Turn left at Fingest, then left at the crossroads (Moor End). Go right through Frieth, keeping left then right by the houses/layby on a bridleway, downhill. Go left on the road, then right at the junction, through Skirmett. Bear left on a track.
Keep left at the road, then head left, off road into the woods, on a sharp right-hand bend. Continue to the top of the hill and go right on the road. Shortly afterwards, keep left. Go right (off road) at the sharp left-hand bend in the road, and then right on a (hidden) bridleway that heads steeply downhill. Go right on the road, then take the first left (Maidensgrove) on to the top. Turn left on the bridleway at the right-hand bend.
Head downhill, turning right at the bottom. Exit the trees and bear right at the fork. Go right at the next fork, after 1km, then uphill on the bridleway. Go left on the road, then right by the pond, across the common and through a farm. Continue straight ahead, bearing left at the end and joining the Tarmac. Head downhill, then turn right on the road. After the left-hand bend in the road, turn left on a bridleway, by the right-hand bend, for a long climb. Rejoin the outward leg and follow it back to the start.
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