The Best of Coombe Hill walk

Coombe Hill, Nr Butlers Cross, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Natural Play Trail at Coombe Hill © Joe Mayled

Natural Play Trail at Coombe Hill

The Monument (not NT) at Coombe Hill © ©National Trust Images/John Miller

The Monument (not NT) at Coombe Hill

Chalk Grassland at Coombe Hill © Ryan Clark

Chalk Grassland at Coombe Hill

Route overview

This gentle circular stroll takes in the best Coombe Hill has to offer from incredible views across the Aylesbury Vale to rare chalk grassland filled with wild flowers and butterflies.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Coombe Hill
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Near car park, grid ref: SP851062

  1. Start near the information panel and head along the stone track passing the picnic area on your right hand side. Look out for the orange waymarkers along the route and follow these.

  2. After 100 yards (91m) you will see an entrance to the Natural Play Trail on your right hand side. You can either have a go now or come back at the end of the walk.

    Show/HideNatural play trail

    The natural play trail is the latest addition to Coombe Hill and has proven very popular. Made from Larch trees harvested just a few hundred yards away, the trail offers a zone where children can get back to nature and play around on the obstacles. It's even been known for the odd grown up to have a go too... (Anyone who uses the natural play does so at their own risk)

    Natural Play Trail at Coombe Hill © Joe Mayled
  3. Follow the stone track around to the left in the direction of the finger post. Continue along the track until you reach the monument.

  4. You have now reached the highest view point in the Chilterns, 260m above sea level. Take a moment to look at the toposcope which will explain what you can see in the landscape. When you are ready to move on, turn your back to the view and look for an orange waymarking disc on your right just in front of some bushes. You are now on the ridgeway and the path turns from stone into a well worn grassy/flinty track.

    Show/HideThe monument (not NT)

    The monument was built in 1904 in memory of the 148 men of Buckinghamshire who gave their lives in the South Africa War 1899 - 1902. The monument was almost completely destroyed in 1938 by a lightening strike but was rebuilt the same year. A full restoration took place in 2010 where the bronze tablet was replaced and all the stone work was cleaned up and re-pointed. It was unveiled at a dedicated ceremony held on 20 October the same year.

    The Monument (not NT) at Coombe Hill © ©National Trust Images/John Miller
  5. You will reach a slight rise in the path which gives you a fantastic moment to stop and admire Chequers, the Prime Minister's country retreat. It is the large house hidden in the trees just left of your current point. In the distance you can see Pulpit Hill which is another National Trust property. Carry on along the path following the orange arrows.

  6. You will see along your right hand side a fantastic example of chalk grassland. Continue along the path until you meet a fence at the end.

    Show/HideChalk grassland

    Chalk grassland is one of our rarest habitats and a reason why Coombe Hill is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. During the summer months you can expect to see over 40 different species of wild flowers and up to 15 different species of butterfly on these slopes. The large bumps you can see are home to the Yellow Meadow Ant and the ant hills themselves provide a fantastic home to many of the wild flower species.

    Chalk Grassland at Coombe Hill © Ryan Clark
  7. Once you reach the fence line at the end of the path, turn left up a slight incline. Ignore the kissing gate on your right, this is where you leave the ridgeway path behind. Keep going straight on weaving through trees and bushes. The orange waymarking disc on your right hand side will keep you on track.

  8. You have reached the end of the trail and are back at the start, well done. Now time for that go on the natural play trail.

End: Near car park, grid ref: SP851062

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 1 mile (1.6km)
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • OS Map: 181
  • Terrain:

    The first half of the walk is on an even stone path all the way to the monument. After this the path follows part of the ridgeway, a well worn grassy track with some undulations that can become slippy in bad weather. Dogs under close control are welcome as the site is grazed throughout the summer months.

  • How to get here:

    By train: The nearest train station is 1.5 mile walk away at Wendover on the Chiltern Railways line. From here, follow signs for the Ridgeway. Walk over Bacombe Hill to get to Coombe Hill. You will come out at the Monument, half way round the trail.

    By bike: Coombe Hill is on the 170 mile circular Chilterns Cycleway. Please not that no cycling is allowed on the trail but bikes can be pushed.

    By foot: Coombe Hill is on the Ridgeway long distance footpath. Please see OS map 181 for the appropriate section.

    By bus: Nearest bust stop is opposite the Russell Arms Pub at Butlers cross, redline route 321. From here, cross onto Missenden road and walk 0.6 miles along the pavement, past the guide centre until you reach a bridleway sign on your left. Follow this onto Coombe Hill and either take the steep path in front of you to the top or turn left and zigzag up the side slope. Please note these routes are very steep and uneven.

    By car: Coombe Hill is in the heart of the Chiltern Hills, 3 miles drive west of Wendover and 5 miles drive east of Princes Risborough. From Princes Risborough head east towards Ellesborough. Carry on to Butlers Cross then turn right onto the Missenden Road. From Wendover head west towards Butlers Cross and turn left onto the Missenden Road. Drive for 2 miles up the hill until you reach the peak where you need to turn left up Lodge Hill. Drive for 1 mile up Lodge Hill until you reach the car park in front of you on a tight right hand bend.

  • Facilities:

    • Free parking
    • Picnic area
    • Natural play trail
    • No toilets are on site. Nearest public toilets are in Wendover, 3 miles by car.

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