Skip to content
Tree-bordered fields slope down towards a church and beyond it treetops are visible above a low blanket of mist
Looking towards Ellesborough from Coombe Hill, Chilterns Countryside | © National Trust/Hugh Mothersole
Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire & Berkshire

The best of Coombe Hill walk

This gentle circular stroll takes in the highlights of Coombe Hill, including panoramic views across the Aylesbury Vale and Chequers, the country retreat of the serving Prime Minister. You’ll also see rare chalk grassland filled with wildflowers and butterflies in summer. In winter, this is the ideal walk if you’re seeking some fresh air to blow away the cobwebs.

Slippery conditions

The Ridgeway section of this trail (after step 4) can be very slippery after heavy rain or in icy conditions.

Total steps: 8

Total steps: 8

Start point

Near car park, grid ref: SP851062

Step 1

Starting from the National Trust information board (which includes a map of the route and is located on the left-hand side of the car park), walk through the picnic area, and through a gate. Following a sign to the monument, turn right onto a wide gravel path, keeping the picnic area fence on your right. Look out for the orange waymarkers along the route.

Step 2

About 60m after the picnic area you’ll see an entrance to a woodland area on your right-hand side, this was once a play trail, but it has recently been returned to a woodland habitat dominated by oak, larch and birch trees. This quiet wildlife haven is a good place to spot woodland birds, such as woodpeckers, and to search for unusual fungi in the autumn. (If you wish, you can enter the wood through a metal gate and then after 25 metres, turn left to follow a woodland path running parallel with the main gravel path. Turn left again after another 150 metres to rejoin the gravel track at another gate.) Continue along the main gravel track with the fence and woodland on your right. On your left, there is more open grazing land with occasional oak trees, hawthorn, and gorse bushes.

Step 3

Follow the gravel track around to the left. Soon, panoramic views over Aylesbury Vale open up on your right. Continue along the track until you reach the monument

Step 4

As you reach the Boer War Monument, you have reached the highest viewpoint in the Chilterns, 260m above sea level. From here you have wide-ranging views across the Oxford Plain: to the right you can see Wendover, straight ahead are Stoke Mandeville and Aylesbury, at the foot of Coombe Hill is Butlers Cross, to the left you can see Ellesborough church. Further to your left is the distinctive shape of Beacon Hill, with its clump of trees at its summit, Pulpit Hill, and the telecommunications mast at Stokenchurch. On a clear day you can see as far as Thame, Oxford and Didcot. In the far distance you may be able to see the edge of the North Wessex Downs beyond Didcot. To your right, you can also see a long section of the Chiltern Escarpment from Wendover Woods to Aston Hill and Ivinghoe Beacon. When you are ready to move on, turn your back on the view of Aylesbury and walk towards an orange waymarker 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. Warning: this path can be very slippery after heavy rain or in icy conditions.

The ball-topped tapering obelisk of the Boer War monument stands on Coombe Hill, with a path leading towards it and several people standing near it
Take a closer look at the Boer War monument | © National Trust/Hugh Mothersole

Step 5

You’ll reach a slight rise in the path which gives you a moment to view Chequers, the Prime Minister's country retreat. It is the large house partly hidden in the trees at a one o'clock direction to your path ahead. In the distance, just above Chequers, you can see Pulpit Hill, another place in our care.. Carry on along the path following the orange waymarkers.

Views over trees and fields towards Chequers and Pulpit Hill from Coombe Hill
Chequers and Pulpit Hill from Coombe Hill | © National Trust / Hugh Mothersole

Step 6

You’ll see along your right-hand side an excellent example of rare chalk grassland with its numerous mound-shaped anthills. Continue along the path until you reach a fence and woodlands ahead of you.

Chalk grassland with low mounds, which are anthills, at Coombe Hill
Chalk grassland and anthills at Coombe Hill | © National Trust / Hugh Mothersole

Step 7

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 and ignoring any paths to the left. The orange waymarker on your right-hand side will keep you on track.

Step 8

At the large gate turn left past the picnic area and then turn right to rejoin the path back to the car park.

End point

Near car park, grid ref: SP851062

Trail map

Coombe Hill short walk map
Coombe Hill short walk map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

You made it

Share your experience

More near here

The Boer War memorial on Coombe Hill in the summer with purple flowers in the grass

Coombe Hill and Chequers trail 

Enjoy a moderately energetic circular walk from Coombe Hill, taking in views across the Aylesbury Vale. You'll wander through woodlands, past rare chalk grassland and the pretty village of Ellesborough.

DistanceMiles: 5 (km: 8) to miles: 7 (km: 11.2)
Hambleden Mill on the River Thames in Buckinghamshire

Hambleden Mill to Henley-on-Thames circular river walk 

This circular Thames walk takes in a historic watermill, the Henley Regatta course, views across the Thames Valley and quiet stretches of river with the chance to spot wildlife.

DistanceMiles: 6.1 (km: 9.76)
Path leading uphill towards monument in the distance with figures of people at its base

Coombe Hill Woodland Walk 

Follow this gentle circular trail in the Chilterns through beech woodland to the top of Coombe Hill, with far-reaching views from its summit.

DistanceMiles: 3.5 (km: 5.6)
View of Hambleden Village

Hambleden and Pheasant’s Hill trail 

Visit rural hamlets, stroll through beech woods and enjoy views across the Hambleden Valley on the Hambleden and Pheasant’s Hill trail.

DistanceMiles: 5 (km: 8)

Get in touch

Chilterns Countryside, c/o Hughenden estate, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP14 4LA

Our partners

Cotswold Outdoor

We’ve partnered with Cotswold Outdoor to help everyone make the most of their time outdoors in the places we care for.

Visit website 

You might also be interested in

Exterior of Pitstone Windmill in the distance across fields, Buckinghamshire

Pitstone Windmill 

A rare and striking example of an early form of post mill

Ivinghoe, Buckinghamshire

Closed now
Woodland at Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire

Ashridge Estate 

Ancient trees, rolling chalk downlands and lush meadows in an area of outstanding natural beauty

Near Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

Fully open today
An aerial view of an adult and baby walking a dog along a path at Baggy Point, Devon

Staying safe at National Trust places 

The special places in National Trust care sometimes come with a few risks for visitors, be it coastline or countryside. Find out how to keep safe throughout your visits.

Walkers climbing rocks against a bright blue sky with the mountains in the distance at Sugarloaf, Monmouthshire


Explore some of the finest landscapes in our care on coastal paths, accessible trails, woodland walks and everything in between. Find the best places to walk near you.

A group of people in a hiking group are being guided on a hike by rangers at Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire

Cotswold Outdoor: our exclusive walking partner 

Find out more about the National Trust’s ongoing partnership with Cotswold Outdoor as our exclusive walking partner.