Susie and Marcus try to update our list of longer hacks; we all love riding in Hodgemoor but isn’t it nice on a bright day to make a change and go somewhere else, or in addition. Here’s one which Marcus wrote up in January 2019. Happy riding.
The map and this text in pdf form can be downloading by clicking on http://hodgemoor.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/blue-close-wood-loop.pdf
A longer list of hacks is at http://hodgemoor.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/hodgemoor-longer-hacks.pdf
8. The Widmer to Blue Close Wood Loop
Distance 3km Time 40 minutes
A pleasant ride with the roadwork on almost traffic-free single track. The loop through Blue Close Wood is a joy and horses who enjoy cantering (on the flat and uphill) are in for a treat – but do wear a helmet and beware of overhanging branches and thorny hedges. The short length of time taken makes this loop an ideal addition to a hack round Hodgemoor.
(1) Starting at (1) Widmer Corner (the southwest exit of Hodgemoor Woods with a green metal barrier and space for two cars), go south along the single track road.
(2) Where a bridle path goes off to the right, continue straight on.
(3) After a kilometre there are Seer Green houses on the left. At the junction with a larger road (3), now just in a built-up area, go straight on right for 20 metres and turn right into an opening in the hedge, marked footpath and bridle path. In the field turn immediately left onto the bridle path which goes diagonally west toward the gentle brow, fields either side. You can have a trot or a quiet canter up this path if there are no walkers.
After 200 metres, at the white gates at the brow, slow down because the upcoming downhill path is quiet steep and there is a fence on your left.
(4) At the bottom, marked (4) on the map, turn right onto a nice bridle path suitable for a canter. Welcome to Blue Close Wood. You are now heading north. After 250m there’s a slight zigzag under trees, leading to a gate which is left open. With a tall hedge on your left and a fence to a field on your right, there is another 250m of canter if it has been cut back, but often you might choose to walk or trot.
Now you’re in Bottom Wood still heading north. The trail here looks inviting but there are flints embedded in the path; don’t canter unless your horses is well shod and fit. The grass verge on the left is a bit softer. After 250m you’re at point (5) on our map (first photo, right) and in Starveacre Wood and you meet the bridle path from the A355 crossing at White’s Hill (see “The Coles Hill Loop” on our complete list of longer hacks).
(5) Turn right, eastwards, and prepare for a dash up the narrow flinty path (second photo, right) which many fit horses love to canter up. The hedges in the open air at the top tend to get overgrown in the summer but remain passable, especially if you and some friends were to go there on foot with clippers and give the worst bits a trim. Bucks County Council are meant to clear this bridle path but to our knowledge do not do so. The farmer on either side reaches over when the hedges are being done, so the bridle path hedges get some attention (third photo, right).
(2) Now you’re back at point (2) on the map. Turn left on the single track road and return to Widmer Corner (1)
No liability is assumed by the Hodgemoor Riding Association, its management or members for any eventuality arising from the use of these riding route suggestions. Any risk taken is the rider’s own.