Sunken Ways on the scarp slope between Bledlow and Aston Hill
Whilst researching a wider project related to Chinnor I have become intrigued by the number of sunken ways along this stretch of the scarp. Some are still in use as footpaths but others are barely discernible in the landscape, often within property that is now private, but have been highlighted by the LiDAR search.
I am aware that there are several ideas as to origins of these paths - funerial ways, donkey tracks for woodworkers, etc but I am wondering whether there might be more to them.
Does anyone have any information on these paths or has any more detailed research been carried out?
I think there is a suggestion of linear quarrying around the Chinnor area that gives the appearance of sunken ways, I don't know much more about this though. I know that we have sometimes discussed on ground-truthing walks, the connection between quarries and sunken ways - the quarried material has to be transported, so a trackway develops - or vice versa - quarries grow up along trackways. Maybe a geologist on the forum could tell you more ?
HI Maurice! There is a lot of interest in this subject - the paths are such a reminder of the passage of time and the impact of repeated human activity on a landscape! If only the sunken lanes could talk, what they have seen.
You may be interested in looking into the Routes to the Past project run by the Chalk Cherries & Chairs LPS at the Chiltern Conservation Board. A 'sister' project to us, they are looking at the holloways of the Central Chilterns (chiefly Bucks and a bit of Oxon) but might be a good leaping off point? https://www.chilternsaonb.org/routes-to-the-past.html