Coombe Hill Trees, Shrubs and Grass

Walking trail

This short walk around the beautiful Chilterns countryside of Coombe Hill and Low Scrubs takes you to and describes some of the notable plants that have populated this landscape. It also explains how the National Trust and its volunteers work to conserve them.


Coombe Hill Trees, Shrubs and Grass Map


National Trust car park, grid ref: SP851062


Start the walk at the right hand side of the entrance to the car park as seen from the road. Enter the woodland at the public footpath sign just to the left of the wooden posts that mark the road-end of the car park. For the first part of walk follow the orange way-marking signs, the first of which can be found on a low post just as you enter the woodland. The path winds through trees until you reach a sign-post on a crossing, sunken path.

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Copparded beech in Low Scrubs


Turn left up the sunken path and continue in the same direction for about 350m until you meet an orange sign pointing sharply right on a post in front of a large beech tree. Don’t follow this sign but continue walking in the same direction, just to the left of the beech tree, following white arrows on trees. You soon meet a wide avenue/bridleway that heads back left to the car park. Cross it and go through a metal gate into the open grassland of Coombe Hill.

Low scrubs in summer


Head along the grassy path past the Coombe Hill sign, with a fence on your left and grassland to your right. After 120m you reach a corner where the fence turns sharply left, next to a gravel path heading back to the car park. Take a look at the large oak tree just in front of bend in the gravel path.

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The Lightning Oak at Coombe Hill


Now turn sharp right from the path you came on from Low Scrubs along a vague grassy path. (This path continues the line of the gravel path from the car park.) After about 40m notice the lone conifer tree to your right, nick-named the Lonesome Pine. Continue in the same direction for another 50m towards a fence where a crossing path, the Ridgeway, enters Coombe Hill through a metal gate.

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The Lonesome Pine


Turn left onto the Ridgeway path and head towards the Monument. Very soon after the view opens up over the Aylesbury Vale to the right you will see a lone yew tree below the path. Continue to the Monument.

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Yew tree below the Monument at Coombe Hill


When you reach the Monument bear right downhill on a wide grassy path. Please be careful as this path is quite steep and it can be slippery in the winter or after heavy rain. 150m from the Monument, stop to look at a large yew tree just to the left of the path. Behind and below it is the largest group of Juniper trees on Coombe Hill.

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Juniper with berries


Retrace your path to the Monument then follow the footpath signs beyond it, just downhill and to the right of a thorn tree with a bench behind. 10m after the bench bear right off the Ridgeway onto a small path heading diagonally downhill in the direction of Chequers, which you will see in the distance. This path is called The Sheep Track as it was initially created by the sheep that grazed Coombe Hill over the centuries. The path crosses a wide area of chalk grassland. Shortly before the path reaches the boundary fence, a small path leads downhill to the right. This is as good a place as any to pause here to look at the chalk grassland on your left.

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Chalk grassland at sunset


While you are here, look at the ash woodland below. Continue towards the fence

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Volunteers clearing young ash trees


At the T-junction of paths turn left steeply uphill with the fence on your right. You pass several large beech trees on your left. At the top of the steep slope, the Ridgeway path from the Monument joins from the left. Continue uphill until the Ridgeway path turns right through a metal gate.

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Parkland beech in autumn glory


Turn left here away from the gate on a broad path through woodland of predominantly sycamore trees. Continue in the same direction to leave the woodland, winding through an area of gorse and brambles before emerging into the wide grassy area that leads back to the Monument. Walk towards the Monument keeping to the right of the open grassy area, with gorse bushes on your right. Half way to the Monument head towards a large solitary oak tree with gorse at its base.

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Gorse in full flower in mid-winter


When you reach the oak tree, take a grassy path diagonally back to the right, passing gorse bushes on the left. The path narrows through some trees then enters an open area, widening to your left and with a patch of heather bushes on your right.

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Small Copper on heather at Coombe Hill


Take some time to explore this open area of acid heathland. When you are ready to continue, return to path where you entered then continue in the same direction through woodland again, passing a tree stump in the centre of the wide path. You leave the woodland and enter an open grassland area with a fine sycamore tree on your left. Keep along the left hand edge of grassland and you soon reach the gravel path and picnic area with the car park beyond.

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Sycamore tree in winter


National Trust car park, grid ref: SP851062

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Coombe Hill Trees, Shrubs and Grass


The walk is all on footpaths. There is one downhill and one quite steep uphill section. The paths can be muddy and slippery, particularly after wet weather when we recommend good walking footwear. Dogs are welcome but should be kept under close control, particularly when cattle are grazing on the Hill. The walk is not suitable for wheelchairs.

Coombe Hill Trees, Shrubs and Grass

Contact us

We hope you enjoy this walk. If you have any suggestions for improvements to the route, the walking instructions or any other aspects of the walk please let us know by email.

01494 755573

Coombe Hill Trees, Shrubs and Grass

How to get here

Coombe Hill, Nr Butlers Cross, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.
By train

The nearest train station is a 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 road

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.

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 bicycle

Coombe Hill is on the 170 mile circular Chilterns Cycleway. Please note that no cycling is allowed on the trail but bikes can be pushed.

Coombe Hill Trees, Shrubs and Grass

Facilities and access

  • Free parking
  • Picnic area
  • Several benches along the walking trail.