Sunday, 30 May 2010

A few sights along the A40

Another detour from the M40 on the way to see Mum and Dad. This time I left at Junction 2 as rain was threatened later in the journey.

First stop was Beaconsfield – this has been used as a stopping place to use the facilities before the new Beaconsfield Motorway services opened. Beaconsfield is a typical Home Counties town full of rich architecture down the main street, no doubt hiding some less than splendid estates in the background. St Mary and All Saints Church is quite large but appeared somewhat soulless to me.

The War Memorial was more unusual very elaborate with a permanent light in the top

One of the many drinking fountains provided by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain Association in and around London.

After Beaconsfield and the nightmare that is High Wycombe comes West Wycombe, a small village on the A40 which must have been hell before the M40 opened. It is full of coaching houses – The George and Dragon being a typical example.

I parked in front of a wonderful timbered framed building called the Church Loft with original Clock dated 1688. It was a pilgrims rest house and lock up, and dates back to the 15th Century.

On the hill overlooking West Wycombe stands the church of St Lawrence and the Dashwood Mausoleum.

They look quite impressive as you approach the village. The church is 18th centuary and famous for its Golden Ball which (I have read) can seat up to eight people giving views over the surrounding countryside. The interior is suppose to be quite impressive but the church was locked when I was there.

The Dashwood Mausoleum.

The Dashwood Mausoleum was built in 1765. It is sited at the summit of West Wycombe Hill (which is also the site of an Iron Age Hill Fort). The mausoleum is hexagonal in plan and constructed of Portland stone and flint. It houses the urns containing the ashes of the Dashwood family. One member of the family was the infamous Sir Francis Dashwood, responsible for excavating the nearby West Wycombe caves for the debauched cavortings of the notorious "Hell Fire Club." a group of fellow aristocrats and men of influence.

The view from in front of the Mausoleum looking south east back along the A40 towards High Wycombe.

Further along the A40 is Stokenchurch which has a small church with foundations dating back to Anglo Saxon times.

.....and then the rains came so I headed back onto the M40!

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