The Best of Coombe Hill walk
This gentle circular stroll takes in the best Coombe Hill has to offer from incredible views across the Aylesbury Vale to rare chalk grassland filled with wild flowers and butterflies during summer months. It's just as exciting in the winter if you're after a windy walk to blow away the cobwebs.
The walk is way-marked with orange arrows mounted on wooden posts at all major changes in direction.
Near car park, grid ref: SP851062
Go to the stone track just the other side of the picnic area next to the car park and start walking along the track with the picnic area fence on your right Look out for the orange waymarkers along the route and follow these.
60m after the picnic area you will see an entrance to the Natural Play Trail on your right hand side. You can either have a go now or come back at the end of the walk. Continue along the stone track with the fence on your right.
Natural play trail
The natural play trail is the latest addition to Coombe Hill and has proven very popular. Made from Larch trees harvested just a few hundred yards away, the trail offers a zone where children can get back to nature and play around on the obstacles. It's even been known for the odd grown-up to have a go too... (Anyone who uses the natural play trail does so at their own risk)
Follow the stone track around to the left in the direction of the finger post. Magnificent views over the Aylesbury Vale open up on your right. Continue along the track until you reach the monument.
You have now reached the highest view point in the Chilterns, 260m above sea level. Take a moment to look at the toposcope which will explain what you can see in the landscape. When you are ready to move on, turn your back to the view and look for an orange waymarking disc on your right just in front of some bushes. You are now on the Ridgeway National Trail and the path turns from stone into a well worn grassy/flinty track.
The monument (not NT)
The monument was built in 1904 in memory of the 148 men of Buckinghamshire who gave their lives in the South Africa War 1899 - 1902. The monument was almost completely destroyed in 1938 by a lightning strike but was rebuilt the same year. A full restoration took place in 2010 when the bronze tablet was replaced and all the stone work was cleaned up and re-pointed. It was unveiled at a dedicated ceremony held on 20 October the same year.
You will reach a slight rise in the path which gives you a fantastic moment to stop and admire Chequers, the Prime Minister's country retreat. It is the large house hidden in the trees at a 1 o'clock direction to your path ahead. In the distance, just above Chequers, you can see Pulpit Hill which is another National Trust property. Carry on along the path following the orange arrows.
You will see along your right hand side a fantastic example of chalk grassland. Continue along the path until you meet a fence at the end.
Chalk grassland is one of our rarest habitats and a reason why Coombe Hill is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. During the summer months you can expect to see over 40 different species of wild flowers and up to 15 different species of butterfly on these slopes. The large bumps you can see are home to the Yellow Meadow Ant and the ant hills themselves provide a fantastic home to many of the wild flower species. During winter months the ant hills really stand out after the summer grazing.
Once you reach the fence line at the end of the path, turn left up a slight incline. Ignore the kissing gate on your right, this is where you leave the Ridgeway path behind. Keep going straight on weaving through trees and bushes roughly parallel to the fence on your right. The orange waymarking disc on your right hand side will keep you on track.
You have reached the end of the trail and are back at the start, well done. Now time for that go on the natural play trail.
Near car park, grid ref: SP851062
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