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).


Pulpit Hill in Buckinghamshire


Start near entrance to car park, grid ref: SP832045


With your back to the road, head towards the back left corner of the National Trust car park and then along a path which passes a National Trust sign saying ‘Pulpit Wood’. 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’. After a short steep climb of about 200m, turn left onto a wide level path along an avenue of overhanging beech trees for about 250m, then by another sign post turn right. Beneath the trees on your left, you see the degraded ramparts of the ancient hill fort, protected by some low hazel hurdle fencing.


On entering a small clearing in the trees, turn left following a track between the hurdle fencing to cross the rampart and to enter the hill fort. 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


[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 into open grassland and ignoring any crossing paths until you meet a wire fence, which you follow keeping it on your right.


At a crossing of paths, marked by a number of gates and a 4-way sign post, turn left onto the Ridgeway path and continue downhill along a wire fence with a steep wooded slope on your right. As the path swings right and uphill again it enters more open grassland, bear left along the better-used path, ignoring a branching path that runs downhill towards Great Kimble. The Ridgeway here is locally called the Cradle Path.


Continue to follow the waymarked Ridgeway path for about 50 m. Just past a crossing of paths and opposite a marker post, turn right onto a grassy path which leads up to a flat-topped mound just ahead of you, 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 Knap in Buckinghamshire


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


Continue on the Ridgeway. As you reach the top of a gentle rise, look out for two footpaths on your left. Ignore the first signposted path, then after about 40m take the second unmarked path to the left. This winding path takes you across another area 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. For the most direct route back, turn immediately left and follow the path parallel to the track, with a hedge on your left. However, it is well worth taking time to explore the Nature Reserve.

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Common Blue Butterfly


When you are ready to continue, return to the top (northern) boundary of the reserve where there are two 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 near entrance to car park, grid ref: SP832045

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Pulpit Hill and the Grangelands & Rifle Butts Nature Reserve


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.

Please note that part of the route from point 3 onwards is not on National Trust land. As such, the National Trust does not check for hazards on this sections of the walk. Walkers therefore follow this route at their own risk.

Pulpit Hill and the Grangelands & Rifle Butts Nature Reserve

Contact us

Pulpit Hill and the Grangelands & Rifle Butts Nature Reserve

How to get here

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 Cadsden 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 Cadsden 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