At Chequers in the glorious Buckinghamshire countryside at the recent cabinet weekend, ministers were warned: accept the final, collective decision or resign at once; in which case they would lose their ministerial car and driver and once. They were further reminded that it is a half-mile walk from the house to the nearest road where a cab would be waiting.
Half a mile through the Chiltern countryside on a Summer’s day? Is that all? Why not make a walk of it?
There are two stations within an easy walk of Chequers – Little Kimble to the west and Wendover to the east, both convenient for London and both providing a pleasant through the woods of the Chiltern escarpment.
From the main gate of the Chequers estate, the departing minister will meet a long established footpath on the Ridgeway trail. This gives a pleasant walk eastwards initially through the meadows, which can get neck-high in wild grasses at this time of year, avoiding the road and the horde of press photographers camped there. As the path enters the woods it climbs more steeply: then take a left turn to head due north, still on the Ridgeway. After a dogleg on a B-road, the route climbs to Coombe Hill, once part of the Estate but now held by the National Trust, where stands The Monument – a war memorial for the Boer War – at 852 feet.
From Coombe Hill, Chequers is finally lost from view. It is downhill all the way from here. The route heads east-north-east along the ridge at the edge of the scarp, looking northwards down on the Aylesbury Vale as .
Shortly the path comes out of the wilderness and the route enters hum-drum reality along the Ellesborough Road and into Wendover. The station is on your left past the A413.
To Little Kimble
It might sometimes be best to slip out the back. A path from the back of the house leads westwards to Whorley Wood to reach the footpath at the edge of the estate, far from the habitations of men and the reach of telephoto lenses.
This way is a much narrower and steeper path, but shorter. It slips between an ancient earthwork, the Cross Dyke, and the Happy Valley (an odd name for a small, steep-sided dell), to emerge at Great Kimble.
Emerging at the church, tip across the A-road (not a busy one, but narrow with blind turns here) to the eastward lane and immediately look for a path to the north-east. Following it to the railway line then walk north to the station in Little Kimble. It is a nice, quiet station which you should be able to reach without being spotted.
The route for the rest of us
For us mere mortals who have no access to the halls of the mighty, the Resignation Way provides an interesting walk in the Chilterns between Little Kimble and Wendover. WEe of course cannot pass through the estate, but the Ridgeway path provides a pleasant route filling the gap.
The Resignation Way (with the route for the rest of us in purple)