Coombe Hill

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 countryside 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.

Acid heathland at Coombe Hill
Acid heathland at Coombe Hill

Wildlife

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.  

Male adonis blue butterfly
Male adonis blue butterfly

The most notable plants to be found are rock rose, marjoram, basil and thyme. The most interesting butterflies to be found are small heath, meadow brown, ringlet and common blue.The grassland takes a lot of maintaining 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.

Rock Rose growing on an anthill
Rock Rose growing on an anthill

The site is then grazed by cattle over summer to keep the grass short and allow the wild flowers to thrive.

Cattle grazing at Coombe Hill
Cattle grazing at Coombe Hill

Things to do when you visit

As an introduction to the site, we have 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.
  • The nearest railway station is Wendover, on the Chiltern line.