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View of sloping estate parkland dotted with trees with large house and driveway in the distance
Stonor House and Park, Oxfordshire | © National Trust/David Ellis
Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire & Berkshire

A long walk in the Chilterns

This 16-mile circular walk starts at the National Trust Watlington Hill site. It drops down and along the Chilterns Escarpment then climbs back into the hills. Here you visit pretty hamlets and villages, and the Stonor and Wormsley estates. You also enjoy much remote and unspoiled countryside and woodland. The walk is challenging but hugely rewarding.

Be prepared for a challenge

This is a long walk which may take up to eight hours to complete. It is suitable for fit and experienced walkers. It is strongly recommended to use the local 1:25 000 Ordnance Survey map in addition to these instructions.

Total steps: 13

Total steps: 13

Start point

National Trust car park at Watlington Hill, grid ref: SU709935

Step 1

Leave the car park on the path to the left of the large signboard and parking meter. Walk through woodland, across a track, and then go through a gate into grassland. (For this first section, follow the orange National Trust way markers as far as the White Mark.) Bear left, going gently uphill on the grassy path ahead. 400 metres beyond the gate, the path bears slightly right and heads downhill in the direction of Watlington village below. Pass the White Mark on your left then continue downhill, through a gate and down a track to meet a road.

Step 2

Go along the roadside path for 20 metres then turn left onto the Ridgeway track. Walk along the Ridgeway for 850 metres until it meets the B480 road. Cross the road then immediately turn left into a field, then right to follow the permissive path with a hedge on your right. At the end of the hedge, just past a bench, turn right through a gate to a crossing of tracks.

Step 3

Turn left along a surfaced lane, heading at roughly 90 degrees to the previous path. You pass Dame Alice Farm, then keep in the same direction until you start following a footpath heading more steeply uphill and marked with white arrows (path W22). This path in places follows or runs alongside a sunken holloway. Eventually you emerge onto a surfaced track with the entrance to Woods Farm on your right.

Path running between earth banks in woodland
Sunken path on the Chiltern Escarpment, Buckinghamshire | © National Trust/David Ellis

Step 4

Turn left along the track. After 150 metres, cross a road and bear right along a track signposted to Coates Farm. Bear left just after passing Coates Farm, and then continue until you enter Cookley Green. (There is a bench as you enter Cookley Green - ideal for a short rest after the climb up to Woods Farm.) When the track meets a road on a sharp bend, turn left along a Scots pine-lined gravel drive (posted as Private Road) with the green on your right. The track becomes a footpath then meets the B481 road

Step 5

Cross the road and turn left, then turn right after 30 metres down a track following the Chiltern Way signpost. This track becomes a footpath winding down through woodland until, half a mile beyond the road you come to a T-junction of paths. Turn left uphill until the path meets a road in Russell's Water. Turn left along this for about 100 metres then turn right along a track that bends around the pond, passing a bench. Continue ahead through a gate with a No Parking sign on the right. The track leaves woodland, crosses part of Russell's Water Common then comes to a farm. Don’t continue through the farmyard, but instead turn left just before a metal gate onto footpath PS23 into woodlands that contain wonderful bluebells in late spring. 400 metres beyond the metal gate take a sharp right onto path PS20 that soon heads gently uphill. You come to a crossing of paths.

Step 6

Continue on PS20 over the crossing path to enter a field with a hedge on your right. The path crosses the field and then enters a wood. It goes down and up a dip, then crosses another field and passes between the buildings of Maidensgrove Farm. Continue next to the gravelled driveway leading from the farm then cross a road to join a track with the houses of Maidensgrove on your left. Continue along the track, keeping in roughly the same direction and ignoring joining tracks until, 600 metres after the road crossing, the track ends at the entrance to Lodge Farm with a Private sign.

Step 7

Turn left following the Oxfordshire Way sign then after 60 metres bear diagonally right across the field following the Chiltern Way sign. The path enters woodland then heads downhill across a field to meet the B480 road in Stonor village. Turn left along the road for 300 metres then, just after the last of the village houses on your right, turn right into Stonor Park through a tall metal gate with a 'Private - Deer Park' sign and signposted as path PS10 and Chiltern Way

Step 8

Follow the path uphill, passing Stonor House (and the signposted Pitstop Café – please check opening times in advance) on your left. This is approximately the halfway point of the walk. You pass through another tall metal gate and enter woodland with lots of rhododendrons, so will be especially colourful in May or early June. Continue uphill until you eventually come to the road in Southend. Cross the road to join a gravel track which bends right. At the end of the track, cross a stile into a field and follow the path ahead with a hedge on your right. (The signed public footpath takes a right/left dogleg around a clump of trees on the hedge line but many ignore this and go straight ahead). In the corner of the field go over another stile then down through woodland to a crossing track.

Step 9

Turn left down the track, which winds through mixed woodland. When the track emerges from the woodland, turn right along a road. After about 150 metres you come to a layby on the right with a field gate. When opposite this, turn left through a hedge opening, then bear diagonally right uphill across a field. Bear right when you meet a path running next to a hedge. Continue ahead through a gate and join a small lane as you enter Turville village. The road brings you to the village centre with St Mary Church immediately on your left.

Row of picturesque brick and timber cottages covered in climbing plants and facing quiet gravel road
Turville village, Chilterns Countryside, Buckinghamshire | © National Trust/David Ellis

Step 10

Turn left along the road for 120 metres, passing the church on your left, then turn right opposite the Old Vicarage onto a footpath between houses. The path enters a field then heads diagonally left uphill into woodland. Keep going uphill and through three gates until the path levels out and turns left to follow a woodland edge. Follow the edge, ignoring another path forking right into the wood, until the path bends right into woodland. Just 20 metres after the bend turn left at a T-junction of paths. After another 150 metres, keep ahead and gently downhill at a branching of paths. When the path meets a road, turn right up a steep hill, then left down a track signed 'Private No Through Road – Church and Manor Farm only'. After 60 metres turn right into the churchyard of St Nicolas, Ibstone.

Step 11

Go through the churchyard at roughly 90 degrees to the track, passing the church on your right to enter woodland, then immediately turn right along a gently uphill path. Keep straight ahead when two paths join from the right. Half a mile beyond the church you go down into a dip and the path swings to the right. Turn left up a steep hill. At the top turn left along a road then, after 30 metres, turn right on the drive to Gatehill. Bear left along a narrow path between tall hedges. The path emerges into a field. Continue straight ahead across the field, then enter woodland and head steeply downhill into the Wormsley Valley, bearing left then right, and then left again. The path crosses a field then re-enters woodland opposite (follow the white arrows). When the track swings to the left, bear right along another footpath. At certain times of the year, the path across a field when you leave this wood can be indistinct – head about 15 degrees to the left of a radio mast on the horizon. You go through a gate with a surfaced track on the other side.

Step 12

Turn sharp right along a slightly downhill unmade track towards the Stokenchurch radio mast in the distance. After 400 metres you come to two metal field gates on either side of the track. Turn left though a kissing gate into a field. Cross the field, then an estate track, then another field and go through a gate to join another track. Bear right then, after 40 metres, turn left onto path SH4 through coppiced hazel. Where another path forks left uphill, keep straight ahead on path SH4 and go past a concrete urn on a plinth. Continue uphill for about a mile until you meet another path (SH5) at the top, joining from the left.

Step 13

Turn right, then bear right past an area of disturbed ground on your left. At the end of this, turn left on path PY3 then follow the white tree markers to reach a track. Turn right along here to reach the road. Turn left along the roadside onto Christmas Common then turn right at a road junction signposted to Watlington. Follow this road until you reach the car park on your left where you started the walk.

End point

National Trust car park at Watlington Hill, grid ref: SU709935

Trail map

Map of Chilterns Long Walk, Oxfordshire
Chilterns Long Walk, Oxfordshire | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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