The Hampdens Trail

Walking trail

This eight mile walk takes you through undulating farmland and heavily wooded hillsides around the Hampden Bottom valley, one of the least populated and most beautiful parts of the Buckinghamshire Chilterns. You visit remote hillside hamlets and pass through the grounds of the stunning Hampden House.

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

Restrictive Covenants

Most of the area that the walk passes through to the north of Hampden Bottom is protected by a restrictive covenant, a permanent legal agreement between the landowners and the National Trust, 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. Please always follow the Countryside Code.


Hampden Trail Map


Little Hampden Common, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire HP16 9PS


Walk to the end of the parking area away from where you drove in. Just past Yew Tree Cottage, fork left away from the track, following the footpath sign for the South Bucks Way then continue in the same direction through woodland, ignoring crossing paths. 650m after the car park you emerge from the woods, pass through a wooden gate, and reach a crossing farm track coming from an open field to your left, just past a footpath marker.


Turn right to see another South Bucks Way marker post and follow the path just to the left of this post. Almost immediately (after 10-15 metres) fork right on a small path – don’t follow the bigger path/the South Bucks Way to the left. The path is a little indistinct at first but continue parallel to the woodland edge to your right and the path soon becomes clear. Continue in the same direction following yellow or white arrows painted on tree trunks and ignoring any crossing paths. Cross a dry valley and continue in the same direction up and over a small hill and through a partly felled area until you come to a field gate with a road beyond.


Cross the road and go through a gap to the right of a gate. Bear right and uphill following the footpath sign. At the top of the slope bear right to join a path coming from the left then continue through High Scrubs woodland to reach a crossing bridleway. Turn right onto the bridleway on the outskirts of Dunsmore village. Continue on the metalled lane between housing until you reach a crossroads, with the Chapel of the Resurrection diagonally left.

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Chapel of the Resurrection in Dunsmore Village


Turn right along the road signed towards Kimble and Princes Risborough, passing the village pond on your left. After 100m turn left off the road over a stile by a field gate. Now follow the left (higher) of the two marked footpaths to head diagonally downhill across the fields with views of Dunsmore Old Farm in the valley below. After crossing several stiles turn left onto a joining path, keeping a wooden fence on your right. You soon reach a crossing of paths. Keep going ahead through a conifer plantation, then becoming mixed woodland of Hampdenleaf Wood. Look out for a sawpit and other woodland archaeology. You reach a fork of paths with an open field beyond.


Fork left uphill through woodland then bear left over a crossing path at a footpath marker until you reach another crossing path with open field beyond. Turn right here then continue in the same direction to leave the woodland and join a path between fields that leads you to a road crossing with Cobblershill Farm on your right.


Turn right along the road. Ignore a lane bearing left and a public right of way, and follow the road between hedges until it enters more open farmland on a right bend. Here turn left onto a signposted public footpath. Follow this path through fields keep close to the right-hand hedge. Continue in the same direction through woodland and a further field, once again keeping a hedge to your right until the path enters an open field with an obvious footpath leading down to meet the road in Hampden Bottom. Take care crossing this road and head uphill on Hotley Bottom Lane. After 250m look out for a signposted footpath on the right.


Turn right onto this path which takes you between fields, with far-reaching views over Hampden Bottom, then into the Woodland Trusts’ Pepperboxes Wood. After 50m turn right downhill at a cross-roads of paths until you reach a wooden gate. To the right of the gate go through a gap to enter a wide clearing, The Glade. Go to the centre of the clearing and look left to see Hampden House.

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The Hampden Valley


Head along The Glade towards Hampden House, through long grass without any distinct path for 250 metres to meet a crossing path, Here, turn left, through a kissing gate then to the crossing path where you turn right uphill along the woodland edge. Bear right at the next fork, past a large badger set on your left, then follow the path uphill through a field until you reach a road next to a stone monument to John Hampden. Have a look at this then turn left up the road. 150m past the monument look for a footpath on the right over a stile just past Honor End Farm.

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The Glade and Hampden House


Turn right over a stile then follow the signed path to skirt round the farm before going along a field edge to enter Oaken Grove woodland. Continue through the wood before joining a road. Continue ahead along the road, crossing a busy crossroad. The bank in the hedge on your left is part of Grim’s Ditch, an Iron Age earthwork, thought to have been created as a boundary between areas of cultivated common grazing land. It is said that the section of the ditch near Hampden House was filled in to level the road in when Queen Elizabeth 1 visited in 1566. When the road turns sharply left, continue straight ahead on a gravel drive.

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John Hampden Monument


Go through the push-button operated gate to enter the grounds of Hampden House. (There is also a stile to the right of the gate.) The drive passes down a magnificent avenue of horse chestnut, lime and plane trees until you reach the Church of St Mary Magdalene on the left. Have a look in the church if you can – it is normally shut. Continue along the gravel drive to pass between Hampden House on the right and office buildings on the left. Pass through a wooden gate at the end of the gravel drive.

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Church of St Mary Magdalene


Turn right through a small wooden gate immediately after the large gate. The path takes you past the ornate western façade of Hampden House. To the left of this is a magnificent cedar tree, thought to be the last of eight cedar trees planted about 400 years ago. The path soon enters woodland then heads downhill across a field to meet a road.

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Hampden House


Cross the road and follow the Chiltern Way footpath through a narrow stretch of woodland between fields. Turn right at a fork of paths then head diagonally right uphill across fields to enter woodland. On leaving this woodland at a field edge you come to a footpath marker post.


Turn right along the field edge then, just after the field corner, turn right to enter woodland. Fork left at a splitting of the path. Eventually you emerge from woodland you reach a farm track. Cross another track then pass Little Hampden farm on the right. Soon you will reach the road that heads left back towards back where you started the walk. It is worthwhile, instead to turn right for some 250m downhill to visit Little Hampden Church, with Manor Farm on the other side of the road.

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Little Hampden Church


After looking at the Church, retrace the road uphill for some 600m to return to where you started the walk.


Little Hampden Common, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire HP16 9PS

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The Hampdens Trail


Nearly all the walk is on footpaths and tracks. There are some short sections along quiet roads and several stiles. Dogs are welcome but they must be kept under close control as livestock may be grazed on some parts of the walk. There are several quite steep climbs and descents, and parts of the walk can be muddy and/or slippery after rain.

Please note that none of the route is on National Trust land. As such, the National Trust does not check for hazards on the walk. Walkers therefore follow this route at their own risk.

The Hampdens Trail

Contact us

We hope you have enjoyed this walk.

If you have any suggestions for improvements to the route, the walking instructions or any other aspects of the walk please let us know by email:


The Hampdens Trail

How to get here

Parking area at Little Hampden Common (post code HP16 9PS, Grid Reference SP858040). It is also possible to start from the National Trust Coombe Hill car park (nearest post code HP17 0UR) and walk towards Dunsmore to join the walk at Point 3.
By train

The nearest station is at Great Missenden on the Chiltern Line, 3.5 miles away

By road

Drive to the end of the dead-end, narrow lane that is clearly signposted for Little Hampden off the road between Great Missenden and Butlers Cross/Stoke Mandeville. Parking space here is limited and there is little scope for off-road parking nearby.

As an alternative, you might consider starting the walk at the large National Trust car park at Coombe Hill (nearest post code HP17 0UR). To join the walk from here, walk 750m southeast from the car park along the road towards Dunsmore to a footpath crossing – Point 3 on the walk route. (Note that the car park shown on the map at Cockshoots Wood near Point 6 on the walk route is currently closed.)

By bus

The nearest bus stop is about 1 mile from Direction Point 7 near Prestwood Village Hall, on Arriva No 48 bus route between High Wycombe and Great Missenden.

The Hampdens Trail

Facilities and access

  • Parking: free parking at the walk start and at the alternative Coombe Hill start
  • Toilets: no public toilets on the route; the nearest are in Great Missenden
  • Refreshments: none on the route. The nearest pub is the Hampden Arms in Great Hampden.