Low Scrubs: A walk back in time

Walking trail

For many centuries, perhaps dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, Low Scrubs was part of common woodland where anyone could collect fuel. Under the 1805 Enclosure Act, the present roughly 40 acre area was assigned to Ellesborough Parish for the poor of the parish to collect and take out wood fuel. Individual families were allotted their own compartments of trees. This usage continued until the Second World War. The National Trust bought Low Scrubs from the Ellesborough Charities in 1985.

The walk is way-marked with orange arrows mounted on wooden posts at all major changes in direction.


Low Scrubs walk in the Chilterns


Coombe Hill car park, grid ref SP 851062


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. Throughout the walk, follow the orange way-marking signs, the first of which can be found on a low post just as you enter the woodland. After 50m ignore a path bearing to the right, but pause here to look at the coppiced beech trees around you. Continue on the main path winding through the trees until you reach a sign-post on a crossing, sunken path.

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Coppice beech in Low Scrubs, Buckinghamshire


Turn left here and head gently uphill on this ancient trackway. Continue on the main, broad path for 350m until you reach a large beech tree with a marker pointing to a path on the right.

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Ancient track way in Low Scrubs, Buckinghamshire


Turn sharp right onto this path, partially back from the way you came. After 100m you reach a crossing point with another path joining from the left. Cross this path, keeping the same direction, going through a gap in a distinct line of large trees. Notice some curious ironwork, about a metre long, partially embedded in a tree.

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Iron fence in Low Scrubs


Turn immediately right at the iron work to follow a broad path with the distinct line of large trees on a bank on your right. After a while this path curves round to the left until you reach a T-junction. Notice more of the gate and fence ironwork on the opposite side.

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Boundary wood bank in Low scrubs, Buckinghamshire


Turn right and follow the path keeping the iron fence on your left, with a paddock behind. After 200m you reach a point where wooden, solid fencing has been installed behind the iron railing fence. Stop here to look back and just to the right of the path you walked down. Try to spot the outline of a low, 5m wide ditch forming a right-angled corner. This ditch can be traced over an approximately 50 x 50m area. Archaeologists have identified it as the possible remains of a cattle enclosure dating back to the late Iron Age (2000 – 2500 years ago). Continue for another 50m to a footpath sign.


Turn right here to walk along a flat then gently downhill narrow path. This is likely to have been another ancient trackway between two compartments of trees. At the end of the downhill section you meet a crossing path.


Turn right here. After about 100m a clear area appears to the left of the path. Then, about 25m after re-entering woodland, stop to look at a small depression with raised banks just to the left of the path. This is thought to be the remains of a lye pit.

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Lye Pit in Low Scrubs, Buckinghamshire


Turn round to retrace your steps. Continue past where you joined this path then bear right at a footpath sign to walk gently uphill until you reach a T-junction.


Turn sharp right here towards a thick grove of silver birch trees. Notice a small pit just to the left of the path as you leave the grove. This is possibly another lye pit. On leaving the copse, stop to look at the landscape of Low Scrubs here, which is very different from the dense woodland you first entered. Continue along the path until you re-join the path you first started the walk on. Turn left to return to the car park.

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Bracken area in Low Scrubs, Buckinghamshire


Coombe Hill car park, grid ref SP 851062

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Low Scrubs: A walk back in time


The entire walk is on footpaths and on level ground, with no gates or stiles. However, some of the paths can be very muddy, particularly in winter months, so good walking shoes or boots are recommended.

Low Scrubs: A walk back in time

How to get here

Coombe Hill, near Butlers Cross, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
By train

The nearest railway station is in Wendover on the Chiltern Railways line.

By road
Low Scrubs is 3 miles west of Wendover and 5 miles east of Princes Risborough.  From 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 a summit, where you need to turn left up Lodge Hill for a further mile until you reach the car park in front of you, on a tight right hand bend.
SatNav: The nearest postcode is for Lodge Hill at HP17 0UR.
By bicycle

Low Scrubs is on the 170 mile circular Chilterns Cycleway. Please note that no cycling is allowed on the trail.

Low Scrubs: A walk back in time

Facilities and access

  • Car park
  • Refreshments: Ice cream at car park on some days, weather permitting
  • Picnic area (next door on Coombe Hill)
  • Pubs: The Plough at Cadsden, The Russell Arms at Butlers Cross
  • No toilets on site. Nearest public toilets are in Wendover