Whiteleaf Hill, and the cross that is on it, can be seen for miles around. From the top of the hill there are some of the most beautiful views in Buckinghamshire. From here you can see Bucks, Beds, Oxon and even Wiltshire. Whiteleaf Cross is lovely ancient site and nature reserve just outside Monks Risborough.
Brush Hill is just across the road from the Whiteleaf Hill car park and has its own lovely walks. We didn’t do any of those today, so I’ll have to go back! This is the map of Whiteleaf Hill & Cross and Brush Hill that’s on display in the car park, but you can get a better view of it here. This also has the details of a 2.6km circular walk that you can do. We didn’t actually do this walk but, I’ll be honest, I doubt it’s massively child friendly. As you’ll notice on the drive up it is STEEP around here. I’m not sure little legs would cope very well.
Getting to the site
I don’t normally start a review with details of the car park, but the one at Whiteleaf Hill is tiny so needs a special mention. I’ve been before, many years ago before Middle Child started school. We tried to go back a couple of weeks ago and the car park was rammed so we had to turn around. We actually went to St Dunstan’s playground instead. I’d say the car park holds probably somewhere around 20/30 cars and once that’s full there’s nowhere else to go. I’d suggest avoiding weekends (particularly sunny ones) or maybe going very early or quite late.
IF you make it into the car park, there are picnic benches and some information boards dotted around about the wildlife you might see.
The woodlands at Whiteleaf Hill
The main footpath out of the car park goes through a little woodland before joining up with the Ridgeway National trail. It’s a relatively easy path and links up with a bridleway so don’t be surprised if you stumble across the odd horse or two. It’s very popular with dog walkers. In fact I think we only saw one other group that didn’t have dogs with them.
Along the way you might spot the WWI practice trenches. There are three different sets apparently and I’m fairly sure this is one of them. If I’m wrong, please let me know! The most important ones are hidden in long vegetation so they don’t get damaged.
There’s also a nice little clear-ish section a bit further up the path. When we visited there were some really good dens that someone had built.
Immediately as you come out of the woodland you’ll notice a little hill. Not necessarily much to look at, but it’s actually one of the oldest monuments in Buckinghamshire (it’s over 5,500 years old). The kids think it’s just a fun hill to run up and down! I don’t think (hope) the former resident of the barrow is still in there!
Whiteleaf Cross itself is the biggest feature of Whiteleaf Hill. The base of the triangle is 120 meters apparently. The cross itself is about 8 meters tall and wide. You can’t actually get onto the cross, but you can stand near the top of it. If I’m honest, like a lot of these things such as the chalk horse at White Horse Hill, when you’re next to them they look pretty rubbish. It’s only from afar that you can appreciate them.
Once you’re out into the chalkland there are some truly stunning views to admire. It goes without saying that how good the views are depends on the weather, but on the day we visited it was just glorious. You could see for miles and miles. Didcot, Aston Rowant nature reserve, both Risboroughs, Aylesbury, Waddesdon Manor, Bicester and even bits of Bedfordshire are all clearly visible on a clear day. There are some steep drops (and plenty of rabbit holes) though so keep an eye on little ones. It’s also hilly (well it’s not called Whiteleaf Hill for nothing) and what goes down must come back up. A walk around here is very good for the thighs!
Let’s go fly a (red) kite
Ok, so you’re not allowed to actually fly them but Whiteleaf Hill is a perfect spot for Red Kite spotting. Because it’s so high up they’re basically flying along beside you at about head height. And there’s loads of them all soaring around on the air currents. We sat down for ages, had a little snack (Smallest Child hadn’t eaten for a matter of minutes so was desperately hungry) and watched them flying. It was lovely.
Our Whiteleaf Cross & Hill review
You probably won’t spend hours here but it’s a nice walk, with stunning views and it’s incredibly peaceful. You can find lots of other family-friendly walks in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire here.
Admission is free
Parking / How to get there
Address – Whiteleaf Hill nature reserve, Peter’s Lane, Monks Risborough. HP27 0LH
Parking – Small car park on site and free. If you’re coming from Monks Risborough keep driving up Peter’s Lane, around a sharp bend and you’ll see signs on your left for the car park.
None on site. The nearest public toilets are in Princes Risborough town centre.
Nothing on site although picnics are allowed.