A long walk in the Chilterns

Walking trail

This 16 mile circular walk starts at the National Trust’s Watlington Hill site. It drops down and along the Chilterns escarpment then climbs back into the hills. Here you visit pretty hamlets and villages, and the Stonor and Wormsley estates. You also enjoy much remote and unspoiled countryside and woodland. The walk is challenging but hugely rewarding.

This is a long walk which may take up to 8 hours to complete. It is suitable for fit and experienced walkers. We strongly recommend using the local 1:25 000 Ordnance Survey map in addition to these instructions.

Stonor House and Park

Map

Chiltern Long Walk Map

Start:

National Trust car park at Watlington Hill. Grid. Ref. SU709935

1

Leave the car park on the path between the large signboards. Walk through woodland, crossing a track then go though a gate into grassland. (For this first section, follow the orange National Trust waymarkers as far as the White Mark.) Bear left, gently uphill on the grassy path ahead. 400m beyond the gate, the path bears slightly right and heads downhill in the direction of Watlington Village below. You pass the White Mark on your left then continue downhill, through a gate then down a track to meet a road.

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The Chiltern escarpment from Watlington Hill

2

Go along the roadside path for 20m then turn left onto the Ridgeway track. Walk along the Ridgeway for 850m until it meets the B480 road. Cross the road then immediately turn left into a field then right to follow the permissive path with a hedge on your right. At the end of the hedge, just past a bench, turn right through a gate to a crossing of tracks.

3

Turn left along a surfaced lane, heading at roughly 90 degrees to the path you walked next to the hedge. You pass Dame Alice Farm then keep in the same direction until you start following a footpath heading more steeply uphill and marked with white arrows. This path in places follows or runs alongside a sunken holloway. Eventually you emerge onto a surfaced track with the entrance to Woods Farm on your right.

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Sunken way on the Chiltern Escarpment

4

Turn left along the track. After 150m cross a road and bear right along a track signposted to Coates Farm. Bear left just after passing Coates Farm then continue until you enter Cookley Green. When the track meets a road on a sharp bend, turn left along a Scots pine-lined gravel drive (posted as Private Road) with the green on your right. The track becomes a footpath then meets the B481 road.

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Cookley Green

5

Cross the road, turn left for 30m then turn right down a track following the Chiltern Way signpost. This track becomes a footpath winding down through woodland until, 1km beyond the road, you come to a T-junction of paths. Turn left uphill until the path meets a road in Russell’s Water. Turn left along this for about 100m then turn right along a track that bends around the pond, passing a bench. Continue ahead through a gate with a No Parking sign on the right. The track leaves woodland, crosses part of Russell’s Water Common then comes to a farm. Just before a metal gate turn left on a signed footpath into woodlands that contain wonderful bluebells in late spring. 400m beyond the metal gate turn sharp right onto a path that soon heads gently uphill. You come to a crossing of paths.

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The pond at Russell’s Water

6

Head over the crossing path to enter a field with a hedge on your right. The path crosses the field and then enters a wood. It goes down and up a dip, then crosses another field and passes between the buildings of Maidensgrove Farm. Continue next to the gravelled driveway leading from the farm then cross a road to join a track with the houses of Maidensgrove on your left. Continue along the track, keeping in roughly the same direction and ignoring joining tracks until, 600m after the road crossing, the track ends at the entrance to Lodge Farm with a Private sign. From here you can enjoy far-reaching views across the Chilterns towards Henley on Thames.

7

Turn left following the Oxfordshire Way sign then after 60m bear diagonally right across the field following the Chiltern Way sign. The path enters woodland then heads downhill across a field to meet the B480 road in Stonor village. Turn left along the road for 300m then, just after the last of the village houses on you right, turn right into Stonor Park through a tall metal gate with a “Private - Deer Park” sign and signposted as path PS10 and Chiltern Way.

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Stonor Park in spring

8

Follow the path uphill, passing Stonor house (and the signposted Pitstop Café – toilets, drinks and snacks) on your left. This is approximately the halfway point of the walk. You pass through another tall metal gate and enter woodland, then eventually come to the road in Southend. Cross the road to join a gravel track which bends right. At the end of the track, cross a stile into a field and follow the path ahead with a hedge on your right. (The signed public footpath takes a right/left dogleg around a clump of trees on the hedge line but many ignore this and go straight ahead). In the corner of the field go over another stile then down through woodland to a crossing track.

9

Turn left down the track, which winds through mixed woodland. When the track emerges from the woodland turn right along a road. After about 150m you come to a layby on the right with a field gate. When opposite this, turn left through a hedge opening then bear diagonally right uphill across a field. Bear right when you meet a path running next to a hedge. Continue ahead through a gate and join a small lane as you enter Turville village. The road brings you to the village centre with St Mary Church immediately on your left.

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Turville village

10

Turn left along the road for 120m, passing the church on your left, then turn right opposite The Old Vicarage onto a footpath between houses. The path enters a field then heads diagonally left uphill into woodland. Keep going uphill and through 3 gates until the path levels out and turns left to follow a woodland edge. Follow the edge, ignoring another path forking right into the wood, until the path bends right into woodland. Just 20m after the bend turn left at a T-junction of paths. After another 150m keep ahead and gently downhill at a branching of paths. When the path meets a road, turn right steeply uphill, then left down a track signed “Private No Through Road – Church and Manor Farm only”. After 60m turn right into the churchyard of St Nicolas, Ibstone.

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St Nicholas Church, Ibstone

11

Go through the churchyard passing in front of and to the left of the church through a narrow gap next to a single gravestone dedicated to Ann Elizabeth & Charles White. Enter the woodland, then turn right along a gently uphill path. Keep straight ahead when two paths join from the right. Nearly 1km beyond the church you go down into a dip and the path swings to the right. Here turn left steeply uphill on a path just to the right of a metal field gate. At the top turn left along a road then, after 30m, turn right on the drive to Gatehill. Bear left along a narrow path between tall hedges. The path emerges into a field. Continue straight ahead across the field, then enter woodland and head steeply downhill into the Wormsley Valley, bearing left then right, then left again. The path crosses a field then reenters woodland opposite, following white arrows. When the track swings to the left bear right along a footpath. At certain times of the year, the path across a field when you leave this wood can be indistinct – head about 15 degrees to the left of a radio mast on the horizon. You go through a gate with a surfaced estate track on the other side.

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Towering beech trees in Wormsley

12

Turn sharp right along a slightly downhill unmade track towards the Stockenchurch radio mast in the distance. After 400m you come to two metal field gates on either side of the track. Turn left though a kissing gate into a field. Cross the field, then an estate track then another field and go through a gate to join another track. Bear right then, after 40m, turn left onto path SH4 through coppiced hazel. Where another path forks left uphill, keep straight ahead on path SH4 and go past a concrete urn on a plinth. Continue uphill for nearly 2km until you meet another path (SH5) at the top, joining from the left.

13

Turn right then bear right past an area of disturbed ground on your left. At the end of this, turn left on path PY3 then follow the white tree markers to reach a track. Turn right along here to reach the road. Turn left along the roadside into Christmas Common then turn right at a road junction signposted to Watlington. Follow this road until you reach the car park on your left where you started the walk.

End:

National Trust car park at Watlington Hill. Grid. Ref. SU709935

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A long walk in the Chilterns

Terrain

This is a long and challenging walk. It is mostly along woodland and farmland paths and tracks, with a few short road sections and road crossings. You cross several stiles. There are steep hills and the total ascent is 650m. In wet conditions some of the paths can be muddy and slippery. Dogs are welcome but should be kept under strict control to protect wildlife and livestock, particularly on the Wormsley Estate.

A long walk in the Chilterns

How to get here

Address
Start at the National Trust car park at Watlington Hill (Grid Ref SU709935)
By road

Leave the M40 at junction 6 and take the B4009 south-west into Watlington. Take the first turning left uphill towards Christmas Common. The National Trust car park on Watlington Hill is on the right.

By bus

There are local bus services to Watlington from Thame, Reading, Oxford, Henley-on-Thames and Wallingford. Please contact local bus companies for details.

By bicycle

Please see OS map 171. The path is just off the Chilterns Cycleway, very close to Christmas Common. From Christmas Common, turn down Hill Road (sign-posted to Watlington). The National Trust car park is 470 metres on the left.

A long walk in the Chilterns

Facilities and access

  • Free parking is available at Watlington Hill. Grid. Ref. SU709935
  • Pubs: The Fox and Hounds in Christmas Common near the walk start; The Bull and Butcher in Turville.
  • Café: Chilterns Pit Stop Café, Stonor Estate, check website for opening days and times.
  • Benches: there are benches to sit and enjoy your flask and sandwiches at Cookley Green, Russell’s Water, Turville and St Nicholas Church, Ibstone.