Cholesbury cum St Leonards

A group of four villages comprising Hawridge, Cholesbury, Buckland Common and St Leonards are known as the Hilltop Villages, because they range along the north edge of the Chiltern Hills.
This is designated an area of outstanding natural beauty, and the many beautiful beech woods, planted to supply the chair industry of High Wycombe and brush making in Chesham were used to support the local craft of 'bodging'. Brick making was the other industry, and Matthews still produce hand made bricks. Most of the clay pits have been filled in, as grazing land is in demand for the newest local industry of horse riding. New, timber stable buildings  and arena for schooling horses are becoming quite a feature of the landscape.

Village life was different in pre-Second World War times. A resident remembers when she lived in a two room cottage on Hawridge Common. Every Saturday she walked to Chesham to do errands. Later she cycled to work, as a housemaid and even today some people cycle daily down to Chesham. A bus service started in the 1930s and we still have a limited service, used by the few who have no car. Walking is now a leisure activity, the motor car a necessity. Today all shopping has to be done in the local towns, our post offices and village shops have closed, and tradesmen no longer call, but one feature of village life survives. We have at least fifteen clubs and societies covering a wide range of interests from the Vale of Aylesbury Hunt Pony Club, to football, cricket and seniors clubs.  Our best natural feature a large common is kept cleared by the Commons Preservation Society


Article written by members of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes for the publication "The Buckinghamshire Village Book" (1987) and reproduced here with their permission