A downland walk with a view on the edge of the Chilterns
THIS DOWNLAND WALK on the northern scarp slope of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty commands spectacular views across the Vale of Aylesbury to the north. Pulpit Hill and adjacent Grangelands are managed and owned by a combination of organisations including Buckinghamshire County Council, the local Wildlife Trust and the National Trust. Classic downland habitat of scrub and sheep-grazed clearings, with steep coombes of Beech woods, parkland and arable farmland, combine to ensure a rich and varied birding walk, while Happy Valley harbours one of the finest stand of native Box trees in the country. Viewpoints along the route are perfect for experiencing early morning visible migration and birds moving along the Chiltern’s ridge going to roost. While the large numbers of migrants of yesteryear have significantly reduced, there should still be opportunities to pick out a few redpoll, Siskin or Brambling among their commoner congeners passing overhead, while rarities in the shape of Wood Lark and Lapland Bunting are not unknown. On a positive note, Red Kite and Buzzard are now virtually assured, but would have been absent only a quarter of a century ago. Look out along the way for deer such as Roe or Muntjac grazing along the coombe margin.