Watlington Hill boasts fine views over the Oxfordshire Plain to the north and west. To the south, you'll see beech and ash woodland that cloaks the slopes of the nearby hills.
Watlington Hill car parking
We fully understand the need for people to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and we are really pleased to be able to welcome visitors to our outdoor places. When lots of us do this, it can create hot spots. Watlington Hill is currently very busy at weekends. If the car park is full when you arrive, please leave and return at a different time. Please do not park along the road as this causes a problem for local traffic flow. It can also damage the grassy verges which are an important plant and wildlife habitat.
Watlington Hill is well known for the triangular, chalk, 'white mark' which can be seen for miles around. This unusual feature was carved into the hill in 1764. Along with the neighbouring Pyrton Hill, Watlington Hill is part of a larger Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
When you reach the open grassland wonderful views are laid out before you. If it's a sunny day there may be butterflies flying around the hill and there are nearly always red kites not far away, while you're at it bring a kite of your own.
The hill has top quality chalk grassland that is heavily rabbit grazed, giving the turf a 'golf course' like appearance over much of its slopes. Up to 25 species of butterflies can be found here, including chalkhill blues, silver spotted skipper, brimstone, small tortoiseshell and dark-green fritillary. It is also rich in downland flora, of which rock rose, yellow wort, eyebright and twayblade are just a few.
Like most of the National Trust downland sites, the varied scrub content of the hill is extremely important to nesting birds in the spring. Come the winter months and this same scrub provides a bounty of food to winter visiting birds like redwings and fieldfares.
Things to do when you visit
A few miles east of Watlington Hill, you can find Aston Wood and Juniper Bank.
Planning your visit
- Free parking is available in the National Trust car park at the top of Hill Road.
- If the car park is full when you arrive, please leave and return at a different time. Please do not park along the road as this causes a problem for local traffic flow. It can also damage the grassy verges which are an important plant and wildlife habitat.
- OS Map grid reference for parking: SU702934
- For SatNav users, please use postcode OX49 5HS
- Watlington Hill car park is located 1.5 miles up Hill Road from Watlington town center on the right hand side.
Please do not feed the red kites
We welcome people coming to see the red kites at Watlington Hill, however we ask you not to offer them any sort of food. The National Trust, the BTO, the RSPB and the Chilterns Conservation Board urge the public not to feed red kites. We believe they should be left to feed naturally, thus enabling them to establish a naturally sustainable population level, and to maintain a nutritionally balanced natural diet.
Red kites can survive well in the Chilterns without artificial feeding as there is plenty of natural food, so it is not necessary to supplement their natural diet. Providing additional food can prevent the growing population from spreading naturally, so the birds learn to cluster in large numbers where food is offered.
Putting out food could ultimately lead to an unsustainably high population of red kites, reliant on human hand-outs. And it can change the kites’ behaviour, leading to some individual birds losing their natural wariness of humans so they become a nuisance to people.