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Things to see and do in the Chilterns Countryside

View to the north from Coombe Hill, showing fields and trees stretching to the horizon
View to the north from Coombe Hill | © National Trust Images/John Miller

The group of sites that make up the Chilterns Countryside are popular beauty spots, each with its own atmosphere and hidden corners waiting to be discovered. From rambling walks through ancient woodland and picturesque villages to wildlife spotting, there’s much to explore on a visit to the Chilterns.

Walking in the Chiltern hills

There are plenty of opportunities for some fresh air and exercise on a walk in the Chilterns countryside. Admire the views from Coombe Hill, Pulpit Hill or Watlington Hill, discover the charm of Bradenham Estate or the woodland at Juniper Bank.

Explore the sites

View to the north from Coombe Hill, showing fields and trees stretching to the horizon
View to the north from Coombe Hill | © National Trust Images/John Miller

Coombe Hill

The highest point in the Chiltern hills, Coombe Hill has extensive views over the Aylesbury Vale. A great place to spot wildlife, there's also a play trail to explore and a war memorial to see.

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Wildlife spotting

The grasslands, farmland and woodlands of the Chilterns countryside are rich in wildlife. Several sites contain areas of rare chalk grassland, where the thin soil supports a huge variety of wild flowers. These, together with beech woodlands and carefully managed farmland, attract a large variety of birds, mammals, butterflies and other insects.

Close-up of a common blue butterfly perched on a flower stalk at Coombe Hill
Common blue butterfly | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole

Butterflies in the Chilterns

The careful management of habitats in the Chilterns means that many have the right conditions for butterflies to flourish. During the warmer months you can see a range of common and not so common species, including the Duke of Burgundy, speckled wood, silver-washed fritillary and the adonis blue. Some of the best spots to look for butterflies are Coombe Hill, Bradenham and Pulpit Hill.

Birds of the Chilterns

Discover the top five birds to look out for as you explore the countryside sites of the Chilterns.

Red kite

Now a familiar site in the Chiltern Hills, red kites have a reddish-brown body, angled wings and deeply forked tail. Some of the best places to see these birds include Watlington Hill, Bradenham, West Wycombe, Hughenden and Coombe Hill.


These woodland hunters are quiet and agile. Their presence is usually announced by the alarm calls of worried smaller birds as they dash for thick cover.


Robins are familiar garden birds but they're a woodland species often seen around the Chilterns countryside. Apart from their bright colouring, robins are known as one of the few songbirds that sing nearly all year round.

Green woodpecker

With a strange, eerie, laughing call green woodpeckers spend most of their time feeding on the ground. They can often be seen at Watlington Hill, Bradenham and Coombe Hill feeding on ants: their favourite delicacy.

Great spotted woodpecker

The great spotted woodpecker nests in mature trees. In spring you're likely to hear the sound of its distinctive 'drumming’ on the trunks or boughs of trees. Look out for its distinctive bouncing flight.

Track through gates at Bradenham Estate during the summer

Discover more in the Chilterns Countryside

Find out how to get to the Chilterns countryside sites, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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