Coombe Hill at 852 feet above sea level is the highest viewpoint in a range of hills called the Chilterns.
The 106 acres of the hill once belonged to the Chequers Estate but was handed to the National Trust in 1918 by Lord and Lady Lee of Fareham, the same time the Chequers House was handed to the country as a retreat for the serving prime minister.
You get extensive views over the Aylesbury Vale and on a clear day you can see all the way to the Cotswolds. The view point is marked with a monument (not NT) dedicated to the men from Buckinghamshire who gave their lives in the Boer War.
Coombe Hill is designated an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) for its chalk grassland and acid heathland. This is home to over 30 species of wildflower and 28 species of butterfly making it a really diverse habitat.
The most notable plants to be found are rock rose, marjoram, basil and thyme. The most interesting butterflies here are small heath, meadow brown, ringlet and common blue.The grassland takes a great deal of careful management by National Trust Rangers, volunteers and contractors. This is done by carefully removing scrub and small trees through the winter months to avoid nesting birds.
The site is then grazed by cattle over summer to keep the grass short and allow the wild flowers to thrive.
Things to do when you visit
As an introduction to the site, there is an accessible 1 mile 'Best of Coombe Hill' downloadable walk (see below) that takes in the most interesting features of Coombe Hill, including the picnic area located near the car park. There are also longer, more challenging walks that take you through the neighbouring picturesque Chilterns Countryside.
The Natural Play Trail is a must for the children to explore and to let off some steam.
Planning your visit
- Free parking is available but it does get busy at weekends so please arrive early to avoid disappointment.
- OS Map grid reference for parking and entrance: SP851062.
- Coombe Hill is 3 miles west of Wendover and 5 miles east of Princes Risborough. Postcode: HP17 0UR
- The nearest railway station is Wendover, on the Chiltern line.