Wendover

Street Map

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Wendover is a market town that sits at the foot of the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire, England. It is also a civil parish within Aylesbury Vale district. The mainly arable parish is 5,832 acres (24 km²) in size and contains many hamlets that nestle in amongst the lush forest on the surrounding hills.

The town name is of Brythonic origin and means “white waters”, pertaining to the stream that rises in the adjacent hills and flows through the middle of the town, bringing chalk deposits on its way.

The parish church of St Mary sits outside the town to the east on the hillside: a feature that is very common among towns with strong Celtic origins. There is a distinctive red brick, spired clock tower at the crossroads in the centre of the town that was built in 1842. The tree lined Aylesbury Street includes the 16th-century timber framed Chiltern House and 18th-century Red House.

The town has had a Royal charter to hold a weekly market since 1464 meaning that officially it is a town rather than a village, although today many residents of Wendover like to refer to it as the latter. It is part of a civil parish, and the parish uses the term “Parish Council” rather than “Town Council”, as it would be entitled to.

Part of the town was once the property of Anne Boleyn whose father held the manor of Aylesbury among his many estates. There is still a row of houses in the town today, known as Anne Boleyn’s Cottages. The town is the birthplace of Gordon Onslow Ford, British surrealist artist, and it is believed to be the birthplace of the medieval chronicler Roger of Wendover. The town is also the birth-place of Cecilia Payne, the astronomer who first showed that the Sun is mainly composed of hydrogen.

The town is at the terminus of the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal, which joins Tring summit level of the Grand Union main line beside Marsworth top lock. Disused for over a century, the arm is in course of being restored by the Wendover Arm Trust. Remote and rural for almost all its length, the canal attracts much local wildlife.

Wendover is part of the Aylesbury constituency. The Wendover Parish Council, has a small office in the town and operates a block grant from Aylesbury Vale District Council.

Today the town is very popular with commuters working in London. The popularity is due partly to the town’s easy access to London by road, partly to Wendover railway station, served by Chiltern Railways from London Marylebone via Amersham, and partly because it is so picturesque. Property values have risen dramatically in recent years since the completion of the Wendover Bypass, which removed a lot of traffic from the town’s narrow streets.

Wendover was well known for having a varied and diverse range of pubs, many of which have now closed due to the constraints and geographics of the day. The pubs that still exist today are The Red Lion, The George & Dragon, The White Swan, The King and Queen, The Pack Horse, The Marquis of Granby, which was renamed in 2010 and is now called The Village Gate, The Rose & Crown and The Shoulder of Mutton.

Wendover also plays host to the ‘Coombe Hill Run’ which usually occurs on the 1st Sunday of June every year. It begins and ends in the village and encompasses two very steep climbs up the Hill to the monument along with a very steep decline. Legend states that a boy from Wendover can only become a man once he has completed the course for the first time.

By virtue of its location, sitting in a gap in the Chiltern Hills and a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Wendover has much to offer both local people and visitors wishing to explore the local countryside. The area is very popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The frequent train service from London Marylebone makes it an ideal destination for a day trip to the country. The Ridgeway National Trail, an 85-mile route that extends from Avebury to Ivinghoe, passes along Wendover High Street. Apart from the Ridgeway Trail there are 33 miles of public rights of way and bridleways criss-crossing the parish. These paths will take you over the open chalk downland of Coombe Hill, Buckinghamshire, home to Britains longest surviving geocache, with its impressive monument to the Buckinghamshire men who died in the Boer War, or walk to the pretty hamlet of Dunsmore in the spring and enjoy the carpet of bluebells, or enjoy the shaded woods on Haddington Hill and Boddington Hill, belonging to Forest Enterprise (known locally as ‘Wendover Woods’). Here the visitor can enjoy specially prepared cycle routes, all ability walks, barbecue sites as well as play areas for children. Close to Boddington hill there are the remains of an Iron Age hill fort.

A further attraction is the walk along the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal, extending for approximately five miles from the centre of Wendover, to Tring. This section of the canal is currently the subject of a long term restoration project and has become home to many varieties of wildlife, including a colony of Mandarin Ducks.

The proposed High Speed 2 rail line from London to the Midlands takes a route immediately to the west of Wendover, passing through a tunnel roughly parallel to, and to the west of, the existing by-pass road and railway. At its closest point, the tunnel will be some 300 metres (980 ft) from the end of the High Street.

This route was confirmed, with some minor amendments, on 20 December 2010. To the south, the line would pass through Wendover Dean and Great Missenden before going underground at Amersham. To the north, it passes close by Aylesbury. Protests have been launched about the route’s location through areas of outstanding natural beauty and potential noise disruption, and a Wendover lobby group formed, with a 300 strong protest filmed by the BBC in December 2010.

Wendover is twinned with Liffré, Brittany, France.

Note: this page is partly based on a Wikipedia page. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Where possible, text is being updated to original, fully referenced research. ‘Our photos’ means we took the photographs. The Street View and street map visuals are courtesy of Google.

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