Famous Chiltern Landmark to get a Facelift

  |  Published: Sep 1st 2014

The Chiltern Society, along with conservation and ancient monument specialists from Buckinghamshire County Council and with assistance from a group of volunteers from RAF Halton are to clean up the famous Chiltern landmark of Whiteleaf Cross, this September.

Cut out of the chalk hillside above Monks Risborough, the cross has dominated the local landscape for several centuries. It was first officially noted by Francis Wise in 1742, but its full history is unknown and is the subject of much local speculation and folklore.

As part of a natural and ancient cycle of clearance and natural regeneration, the bare, white chalk surface that defines the cross has once again become dull and overgrown with downland plants, leading to this wonderful landmark suffering a loss of definition. It deserves to be reinstated to its former glory, and the Chiltern Society is working in conjunction with Bucks CC and a volunteer group from RAF Halton to do this

On Thursday 4 September, a group of Chiltern Society volunteers will be joined by RAF cadets from nearby RAF Halton and Julia Carey, the Countryside Officer from Buckinghamshire County Council.

Together, they will clear the surface vegetation from the cross and re-define its edges. Working on the steep slopes has to be managed carefully to avoid erosion, and they will be passing the debris from the cross, bucket by bucket, along a human chain to an area nearby where it can be safely allowed to compost down.

Julia Carey from Buckinghamshire County Council has considerable experience of working on similar sites, and she will be providing valuable advice, tools and equipment.

‘This is a great example of how volunteers and local authorities can work together to tackle a major project. The RAF volunteers will work with the Chiltern Society and Julia to provide the enthusiastic labour required to clean the cross and to remove the waste in an environmentally friendly and traditional way’ John White, Director Conservation and Development

The work will not go ahead if the weather conditions are unsuitable due to the dangers of working on steep chalk slopes. Please contact the Chiltern Society on the day to check.

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