Whiteleaf Hill is a long, wedge shaped ridge of high ground extending from the main Chilterns escarpment to the south, out into the flatter Aylesbury Vale to the north. It stands above the villages of Kimble, Monks and Princes Risborough. Parts of the ridge top and its steep slopes are covered in woodland, whilst others have open sweeps of grassland and scattered scrub.
Large areas within the woodland were badly damaged by storms in 1987 and 1990. These areas have now been replanted with a mixture of trees which should make the woodland more resistant to wind damage in the future and a better resource for people and wildlife.
It divided into two main parts:
- A flat plateau area mostly on clay soils which extends from the car park at the southern end, through replanted ancient semi-natural woodland (latterly a beech monoculture) out onto the open, grass covered hilltop.
- Steep wooded or grassy slopes on the western, north-western and north eastern flanks of the hill.
Where to find the different landform types
The flatter ground extends for virtually the entire length of the site towards the northernmost promontory which stands high above the Vale of Aylesbury. Falling to the west, north-west and north-east of this plateau are steep slopes.
The steep north-west and north-east slopes are cloaked with mixed woodland. The western flank has a mix of habitats. The southern (car park) end is wooded.
The entire northern section was until forty or so years ago, open chalk downland. Today this downland is restricted to an open pocket surrounding the Cross and on the plateau area.