Hambleden Valley, Turville and Fingest

Walking trail

This 9.5 mile circular walk starts from the village of Hambleden. It crosses the Hamble Brook chalk stream before climbing into the lovely hills and woods to the west of the Hambleden Valley. The walk then descends to the picturesque villages of Turville and Fingest before turning south for a gentle return to Hambleden along the valley floor. The villages and countryside you see on the walk have proved irresistible to film and television companies. And this walk has another bonus: it takes you past four highly rated pubs.

Please always follow the Countryside Code.

We strongly recommend using the local 1:25 000 Ordnance Survey map in addition to these instructions.

Restrictive Covenant

Some of the land in this walk is protected by the Greenlands restrictive covenant. This is a legal agreement dating from 1944 between the National Trust and Lord Hambleden which means the land is protected in perpetuity. The land has various private owners, but any changes to the land or the buildings require the prior consent of the National Trust. The route follows public rights of way, including parts of the Chiltern Way and Shakespeare's Way.

Map

Hambleden Valley trail map

Start:

Public car park at Hambleden Village. Grid. Ref: SU785865

1

Turn left from the car park entrance then walk back through the village centre towards the Henley road, passing the church and then the store on your right. You cross the small bridge over the Hamble Brook to meet a road T-junction. Cross over to join a footpath heading uphill beside metal railings. Continue uphill ignoring two paths branching to the left. When the path starts to turn downhill you meet a signposted junction of bridleways.

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The Hamble Brook

2

Turn right uphill then right again when you meet a crossing path. The path soon heads downhill through mixed woodland with views of Hambleden village below on the right. You pass through an avenue of Wellingtonia trees (an American giant redwood) aligned with the Manor House in the village. Eventually the path approaches the valley floor at a junction of paths with an open field ahead.

 Avenue of Wellingtonia trees at Hambleden

3

Turn sharply left uphill on a path inside the woodland edge. Leave the woodland and follow the footpath sign left across an open field. Some 60m after re-entering woodland you come to a crossroad of paths. Turn right here onto a surfaced track. After about 250m you will see a signposted footpath on the left.

Hambleden Valley

4

Turn left through trees. Bear left to join a track coming from the right. The path eventually goes down into a dip where you meet another path. Cross this and bear right uphill and at a junction. This track is in places deeply indented into the hillside, a sign of its ancient use. This section of the walk also follows Shakespeare’s Way. The path leaves woodland and levels off to follow a hedge line with open fields on either side. About 400m after leaving the woodland you meet a crossing footpath.

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Shakespeare’s Way

5

Turn right over a stile then continue over an open field. Go through a gate then bear left over another field. Go over another stile to re-enter the woodland. Continue through woodland until you pass through a blue-grey gate then meet a road where you turn left. As the road leaves the woodland it meets another road coming from the left. Turn right here over a stile into a field. At another stile the path re-enters woodland. Bears left then head downhill to meet a woodland track in a dip.

Stile near Upper Woodend Farm

6

Turn right downhill along the track. The track winds through mixed woodland and through an area that has recently been cleared of conifer trees and partially replanted. Turn right when the track emerges from the woodland onto a road. About 150m along the road you come to a layby on the right with a field gate.

Kimble Wood near Turville

7

Turn left opposite the field gate through a narrow opening in the hedge 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 road to pass the school on your left 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 cottages overlooked by Cobstone Windmill

8

Bear right across the small village centre, with The Bull & Butcher pub on your right, and over the road to join a small lane with a Cobstones marker sign running uphill between houses and towards the Cobstone Windmill on the hill. Go up the lane to go through a small gate then immediately right through another. Bear right diagonally uphill across a field. Go through a gate onto woodland path. Cross a road then continue ahead, ignoring a path to the left, and go downhill beside a fence until you emerge onto a road. Bear left along the road into Fingest village centre with St Bartholemew church on your left and The Chequers pub on your right.

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St Bartholemew's Church, Fingest

9

The walk now turns south back towards Hambleden. To follow the basic walk shown on the map skip the next paragraph.

(Alternative Route: This alternative route follows part of the Chiltern Way, and it reduces the amount of road walking. It goes through fine woodland and has some very good views, however, it is longer (by about 0.7 miles/20 mins) and involves a fairly steep ascent and descent. To follow this alternative continue on the road past the Chequers Inn for 100m then turn right into a field through a small gate beside a large metal gate. Follow the Chiltern Way path uphill. Pause towards the top next to a bench to enjoy the view back down to Fingest and beyond. Continue through a wood and across a field then through a gate to join a woodland track. After 80m, as the track bends to the left, turn right downhill through a gap besides the gate at the entrance to the Woodland Trust’s Adam’s Wood. Continue on the track and bear left when you come to a fork. The path emerges from woodland then continues down a track to meet a road on a sharp bend. Just before the road turn right through a gate into a field. Go straight downhill across fields towards the housing of Skirmett. You meet a road. Turn left along this past The Frog pub for 300m. Now skip to point 10 below.)

Retrace your route to go back up the road away from the church. Where this road bends left continue straight uphill on the road marked to Turville and Ibstone. After 200m, at the junction of a road turning right to Ibstone, turn left onto a footpath. Continue across fields until the path rejoins the Fingest - Hambleden road. The small lane from the right also joining the road here is called Waterey Lane. After very wet conditions, as in 2013, this lane can become a stream, a northern extension of the Hamble Brook. Continue on the road towards Hambleden, passing through the hamlet of Skirmett and The Frog at Skirmett pub. Towards the end of the village the road bends sharply right at a junction.

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Cottages at Skirmett

10

Turn left up the road signposted to Frieth and Lane End. After 50m turn right off the road onto a footpath signposted The Chiltern Way. This path now extends south in a more or less straight line for some 2 miles/3.5km to take you back to Hambleden along the floor of the Hambleden Valley. Take some care when you meet the first crossing lane 500m after leaving the road. The path does a slight left/right dogleg then continues to the right of a hedge. Later the path briefly joins a small road near Colstrope Farm. As you approach Hambleden, the path bends right to meet a road.

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The Hambleden Valley approaching Pheasant’s Hill

11

Turn left along the road then, after 100m, turn left to enter the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin church. You leave the churchyard through the main entrance to return to the village centre. The car park where you started the walk is 100m on your left.

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Hambleden Village

End:

Public car park at Hambleden Village. Grid. Ref: SU785865

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Hambleden Valley, Turville and Fingest

Terrain

The walk is mainly along woodland and farmland paths, with about one mile on country lanes. There are a few moderate climbs at the start of the walk, and then the rest is on gentle or flat terrain. You have to cross several stiles. In wet conditions you should wear good footwear as some of the paths can be muddy and slippery. Dogs are welcome but should be kept under strict control to protect wildlife and livestock. Game birds are reared in some stretches near Hambleden. Dogs must be kept on a lead here.

Hambleden Valley, Turville and Fingest

How to get here

Address
Public car park in Hambleden village. Grid Ref. SU785865
By road

From Marlow, follow the A4155 towards Henley-on-Thames for 4.7 miles. At Mill End turn right towards Hambleden. Head north for just under a mile and then turn right into Hambleden Village. Go past the church yard, and where the road turns sharp left, go straight ahead towards the Stag and Huntsman. The public car park is just after the pub.

From Henley-on-Thames, follow the A4155 towards Marlow for 2.8 miles. At Mill End turn right towards Hambleden. Head north for just under a mile and then turn right into Hambleden Village. Go past the church yard, and where the road turns sharp left, go straight ahead towards the Stag and Huntsman. The public car park is just after the pub.

SATNAV: the nearest postcode is RG9 6SE. Latitude: 51.572520, Longitude: -0.868640

By bus

Arriva and Carousel Buses run regular services between High Wycombe and Reading (Route 800, 850 and 80X) which stop at Mill End, Hambleden.

By bicycle

Please see OS map 171. The route itself is not suitable for bicycles, but it is within easy cycling distance of Reading, Wargrave, Marlow, Twyford or High Wycombe.

Hambleden Valley, Turville and Fingest

Facilities and access

  • Free public car parking in Hambleden village behind The Stag and Huntsman pub. Grid Ref. SU 785865
  • Village store and post office in Hambleden, with snacks, drinks and a small café
  • The Stag and Huntsman public house in Hambleden
  • The Bull & Butcher public house in Turville
  • The Chequers Inn in Fingest (closed Monday)
  • The Frog at Skirmett public house in Skirmett
  • Several seats and benches in all the villages and in other places along the route
  • Free public toilets at the Mill End car park in Skirmett Road, 1km south of Hambleden (Grid Ref. SU 785854