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View of the manor and the church in Bradenham village in February at Bradenham Estate, Chilterns Countryside, Buckinghamshire
Distant view of Bradenham village in the Chilterns, Buckinghamshire | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole
Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire & Berkshire

Bradenham: Chiltern Hills, Valleys and Woodlands Walk

This is an 8-mile walk starting at Bradenham village and leading you through a mix of chalk meadows, beech woodlands and farmland. It's a walk of contrasts, starting with far-reaching views across the Chilterns Countryside around Bradenham, Smalldean, Loosley Row and Lacey Green. Then a gentle descent along a typical chalk dry valley to the village of North Dean, before returning to Bradenham through the mature beech woodlands of Naphill Common.

Total steps: 11

Total steps: 11

Start point

National Trust car park in Bradenham village. Grid reference: SU827969

Step 1

From the car park head north along the top edge of the village green. From this side of the green, you can see the layout of the unspoilt Chiltern village of Bradenham with its flint and brick cottages. Pass in front of Bradenham Manor, the childhood home of Benjamin Disraeli, and St. Botolph Church. Take great care crossing Bradenham Wood Lane and take the footpath opposite which passes between the pond and the Old School. Go through two gates and continue straight ahead across open grassland with woodlands above you on your right hand side.

Bench overlooking the cricket pitch and village green at Bradenham in the Chilterns Countryside, on a sunny morning in July.
The cricket pitch and village green at Bradenham, Buckinghamshire | © National Trust Images/John Miller

Step 2

Cross over a rough track by a star-shaped wooden bench and continue gently uphill along the edge of a field with the field boundary on your right. There are often horses grazing in the adjacent field. Near the top of the hill and before crossing another path, pause and enjoy the view back towards Bradenham. Continue through a gate and up along a grassy path with Park Wood on your right hand side. At the top of the hill there is a view to your left towards Saunderton village and Bledlow Ridge. You may see one of the Chiltern Line trains running between London and Birmingham. The railway runs along the valley bottom.

Step 3

Follow the path towards the corner of the field on the right and go through a gate into Park Wood. After about 100m bear left onto a wide footpath which joins from the right. After about 500m continue downhill along a sunken path with a mix of beech, yew and holly trees. There are views of Smalldean Farm between the trees on your left hand side. Go up a short steep incline then merge onto a footpath joining from the right. Continue downhill ignoring any side paths to a small National Trust car park. Turn left onto Smalldean Lane. Beware of occasional cars and bicycles as this is part of the Chiltern Cycleway. You pass Smalldean Farm on your left. After heading uphill for another 100m you come to a small lay-by on your right.

Wild flowers and footpath sign at Small Dean Bank on the Chiltern Hills and Valleys trail from Bradenham in Buckinghamshire.
Butterflies thrive in the grassland at Small Dean Bank, Buckinghamshire | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole

Step 4

Turn right onto a footpath which heads uphill across a field then runs to the left of a hedge. Continue uphill across 3 fields, always keeping the hedge on your right-hand side. At the top of the second field pause and enjoy the views back along the valley. You may be able spot the Golden Ball on the hill above West Wycombe in the distance. On the right there are views of Lacey Green. As you reach the top of the hill go through a gap, which may be muddy. Ignoring the first metal gate on your left and after about 25 m pass through a second metal gate, then through a short section of woods before emerging onto an open field with far-reaching views towards Chinnor, Lodge Hill and across the Oxford Plain. Go over a stile and continue gently downhill towards the village of Loosley Row, ignoring a path that bears right. Go over another stile, take care crossing Little Lane into Foundry Lane and continue downhill for about 200m where you will see Gommes Forge on your left. This is one of the last working forges in the local area and worth a short visit, if it is open.

Step 5

Turn right up Loosley Hill, across Lower Road up to a crossroads, where you will find the Whip Inn and the Lacey Green Windmill at the junction of Pink Road and Main Road.

Step 6

Take care crossing the busy road, then turn right and continue along Main Road for about 300m, then turn left into Goodacres Lane. At the end of the lane turn right along a narrow path between a barbed wire fence and a hedge. To your left you can see the fields and paddocks of Widmer Equestrian Centre. (Note: this narrow path can become very overgrown in the summer, so an alternative route is to continue another 500m along Main Road, past the Black Horse pub, then turn left into Kiln Lane).

Step 7

At the end of the path turn left down Kiln Lane and follow this track for the next 1.5km along this typical chalkland dry valley (notice that there is no stream or river). Pass several cottages until the track emerges from Highwood Bottom onto Flowers Bottom Lane. Bear right downhill along the road (beware of any cars or bicycles).

Step 8

As you reach the bottom of the dip, and at the end of a section of fencing, turn left through a gate and along a narrow signposted footpath. Follow the path that runs along the valley bottom for the next 1.5km crossing several stiles until you reach North Dean village. Some of the fields contain grazing horses belonging to the Rest home for Retired Horses, many of which are ex-military, ex-police or former racehorses. There may also be grazing cattle belonging to Dean Farm. Please ensure dogs are kept on a lead through this section. As you enter the village go through a gate into a farmyard then turn right along a footpath to the left of the large metal gate, which takes you to the main road.

Step 9

Turn right along the road for 250m through Upper North Dean and then turn right into Clappins Lane. After about 100m go through a gate in the hedge on your left and follow a path diagonally uphill towards the woods. Look back for a good view of Upper North Dean village. Climb over a stile and follow a path uphill through Stocking Woods, marked with white arrows. As you emerge from the woods climb over a stile and follow the path across a field. At a crossing of paths, bear right across another field past two lone trees. After yet another stile follow the path until you reach a kissing gate onto Main Road.

Step 10

Take great care crossing this busy road (visibility is restricted) and follow a narrow footpath directly opposite between houses and hedges. (If you wish to visit The Black Horse pub, it is about 50m along a rough road to your right). Bear slight right and follow a footpath through Naphill Common woods, ignoring any crossing paths. When you come to a fork, bear right until you merge onto a wide path (H18) that joins from the right. Soon you will reach Lady Horse Pond on your left. Continue straight ahead to a crossing of paths. Keep in the same direction as before, now beneath telephone lines. At the next junction of paths you will see an Information Board on your left.

Step 11

Turn left to go past the information board then immediately turn right along a footpath through oak woodlands. Merge onto a track joining from Bradenham Hill Farm on the left. Pass another information board at The Clumps and follow the track downhill, taking the left-hand fork when the track splits. On reaching the Bradenham Manor garden wall, follow the track downhill keeping the wall on your right-hand side back to the National Trust village car park where you started.

End point

National Trust car park in Bradenham village. Grid reference: SU827969

Trail map

A map with a route to walk around Bradenham Hills
Bradenham: Chiltern Hills and Valleys and Woodlands Walk | © Hugh Mothersole

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