MAYBE it’s the proximity of a couple of welcoming pubs that has made Littleworth Common so popular with walkers.
The location beside Burnham Beeches helps too, not to mention its handy position on the 16-mile Beeches Way, which runs from the Thames at Cookham to the Grand Union Canal at West Drayton.
Whatever the reason, a host of ramblers find it a handy starting point for a walk, whether that means a leisurely stroll around the common itself or a more demanding circuit taking in some of the substantial areas of woodland that surround this spot.
The 40-acre SSSI (site of special scientific interest) is common land owned by South Bucks District Council and comprises open heathland, most of which has developed into birch and oak woodland, although some remnants of acid heathland survive.
A network of paths criss-cross the common and the “muddy boots welcome” sign outside the Blackwood Arms says it all.
This is one of several dozen Brakspear’s pubs which feature a number of local walks on a handy app, and a trio of routes are suggested, ranging from a half-hour wander around the nearby common to a longer three-hour adventure taking in nearby Egypt Woods and Burnham Beeches.
Thirsty souls can choose between here and The Jolly Woodman: both pubs have featured in the Midsomer Murders series and provide a perfect base for a wander.
Across the common lies the pretty 150-year-old church of St Anne’s at Dropmore with its small graveyard, where passers-by on a Sunday may be able to drop in for a cream tea during the summer months.
It’s one of a few dozen buildings encircling the common, which is popular with dog walkers and other locals and the starting point for a range of routes allow you to quickly slip away from other ramblers to discover less well frequented trails.
It’s one of more than 40 mapped routes contained on the not-for-profit website set up to introduce more people to the countryside and to connect with our historic land, towns and villages.
The site has a 10-mile circuit too, taking in Stoke Common and Hedgerley, and for those wanting to ring the changes, permissive paths on the Portman Burtley Estate provide an opportunity to explore a range of mixed woodland habitats.
Burtley Farm boasts around 1,000 acres of mixed woodland ranging from conifer plantations from the 1920s and 1950s to older oaks planted following the Napoleonic wars when there was a perceived shortage of timber for ships.
The most ecologically important area of woodland is Egypt Wood, part of the Burnham Beeches National Nature Reserve complex and reached on a footpath from Abbey Park Farm.
This is also part of a longer two- to five-and-a-half-mile signposted circular walk taking in a picturesque Buckinghamshire village of Hedgerley as well as an RSPB reserve and remnants of the once important local brick industry.