Pulpit Hill and the Grangelands & Rifle Butts Nature Reserve

Walking trail

This is a short walk offering panoramic views across the Chiltern Escarpment and the Aylesbury Vale. You will have the opportunity to explore beautiful beechwoods, a hidden Iron Age hillfort, and to see the diversity of plant and insect life at the Grangelands and Rifle Butts Nature Reserve, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Grangelands Nature Reserve in Buckinghamshire

Map

Pulpit Hill in Buckinghamshire

Start:

Start near entrance to car park, grid ref: SP832045

1

With your back to the road, head towards the back left corner of the National Trust carpark and then along a path which passes National Trust sign saying ‘Pulpit Hill’. After a short distance you will meet a crossing track with a horse-friendly gate on your left. Cross the track, heading straight uphill, following a sign to ‘Pulpit Hill Fort - 500m’. Follow two further Pulpit Hill signs making one sharp left and one sharp right turn. Eventually, beneath the trees on your left, you see the degraded ramparts of the ancient hill fort, protected by some low hazel hurdle fencing.

2

Turn left following a track between the hurdle fencing to cross the rampart and to enter the hillfort. The path crosses the fort for about 100m then turns right at a T-junction. Go gently downhill, to reach a crossing track.

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Raparts on Iron Age enclosure at Pulpit Hill

3

[At the crossing track, you can shorten the walk by turning left to follow a sunken track downhill for about 8 minutes (400 metres), until you reach some rough steps on your left, where you turn left onto the Ridgeway and through a gate to reach the Old Kimble Rifle Range (see below) - then continue these directions from Point 6.] For the full walk, follow the path straight across the track and then through a kissing gate. Continue downhill, coming into open grassland, eventually following a wire fence on your right.

4

At a T-junction, marked by a number of gates by a signpost, turn left onto the Ridgeway path. Continue on the Ridgeway path, with a steep wooded slope on your right. As the path enters more open grassland, keep left following the well-used path and ignore a branching path towards Great Kimble. The Ridgeway here is locally called the Cradle Path.

5

Continue to follow the waymarked Ridgeway path until, just past a crossing of paths, you see a grassy path branching off to your right opposite a marker post, leading uphill to a nearby flat-topped mound called Chequers Knap. When you have taken in the view, turn back, taking the right hand path that descends Chequers Knap back to the Ridgeway, meeting it near a large beech tree by a metal kissing gate. Go through the gate and turn right down a sunken path. After 30 metres turn left, up some steps and then down more steps to a kissing gate next to a notice board marking the entrance to the Grangelands and Rifle Butts Nature Reserve.

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Chequers Knapp in Buckinghamshire

6

Once you have descended the steps and slope to more level ground, if you wish, you can continue along the Ridgeway, but in the spring and summer months it is more rewarding to turn left onto the faint grassy path that circumnavigates the lower part of the Rifle Butts Nature reserve and re-join the Ridgeway path on the far side.

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The Riffle Range in Buckinghamshire

7

Continue on the Ridgeway looking out for a waymarked path on your left. Ignore this first path and turn left onto the next unmarked path, also on your left, taking you across another are of scrub and grassland, which part of the National Trust’s Pulpit Hill site. You will soon reach a metal kissing gate and a crossing track. Cross the track and go through a gate to enter the Grangelands Nature Reserve. It is well worth taking time to explore the Nature Reserve.

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Common Blue Butterfly

8

When you are ready to continue, return to the top (northern) boundary of the reserve where there are a number of gates (and a stile at the far northeast corner) that lead onto a track that runs below the southern edge of Pulpit Hill. At whichever point you join the track, turn right and follow it back to the carpark.

End:

End near entrance to car park, grid ref: SP832045

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Pulpit Hill and the Grangelands & Rifle Butts Nature Reserve

Terrain

The route is entirely off road on soft footpaths and woodland tracks. There is one steep ascent at the beginning of the walk and one more gentle descent. There are no stiles, but a few steps and a number of gates. Dogs are welcome, but must be kept on a lead as sheep and cattle are grazed on several parts of the route. Some paths can be muddy and slippery after prolonged or heavy rain. Stout walking shoes or walking boots are strongly recommended.

Pulpit Hill and the Grangelands & Rifle Butts Nature Reserve

Contact us

Pulpit Hill and the Grangelands & Rifle Butts Nature Reserve

How to get here

Address
Pulpit Hill car park, Longdown Hill, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire HP27 0NB
By train
The nearest railway stations are in Princes Risborough and Little Kimble on the Chiltern Line. 
 
By road
Pulpit Hill is 5 miles west of Wendover and 3 miles east of Princes Risborough.  
From Princes Risborough, head east through Monks Risborough to the roundabout at Askett. Turn right into Cadsdean Road. The carpark is a mile on your left. 
From Wendover, head west towards Princes Risborough and turn left at the roundabout at Askett into Cadsdean Road on the A4010. The carpark is a mile on your left.
By foot

Part of the walk is on the Ridgeway long distance footpath. Please see OS map 181.

By bus

There are bus routes to Princes Risborough from several nearby towns including Aylesbury, Amersham, High Wycombe, Wendover and Chesham.

By bicycle
Pulpit Hill can be reached from Princes Risborough or Wendover by bicycle. Please see OS map 181.
Please note that no cycling is allowed on the trail.
 
Pulpit Hill and the Grangelands & Rifle Butts Nature Reserve

Facilities and access

  • Free parking (please note the National Trust carpark is small and can fill up quickly).
  • No toilets on site
  • Public house: The Plough in Lower Cadsden