West Wycombe Trail

Walking trail

The history and landscape of West Wycombe are interlaced with the interests and exploits of the Dashwood family who have occupied West Wycombe House for over 300 years. West Wycombe Park, Caves, Mausoleum and St Lawrence's Church were all constructed in the mid-18th century by Sir Francis Dashwood, 2nd Baronet, and founder of the Dilettanti Society and co-founder of the notorious Hellfire Club.


West Wycombe trail map


St Lawrence’s Church on West Wycombe Hill


From the carpark, head towards the Church, entering the church yard from the carpark via a gate on the right. The Church is open to the public from May until September on Sundays from 12.30pm until 5pm. There is a small fee if you wish to climb the tower.

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St Lawrence's Church West Wycombe


As you face the church door, follow a concrete path that curves to the left of the church, through the churchyard, and then head downhill, passing the village war memorial on your left. When the concrete path ends and you reach an open meadow, continue straight ahead and downhill towards an isolated dark green yew tree. As you approach the tree, the path becomes more obvious as it passes the tree on the right. Shortly after the yew tree, and before you reach a set of bollards, turn right off the main path, following a level path between two areas of yew trees. You will soon see West Wycombe House ahead of you. On reaching a wooden signpost saying ‘Caves’, head down some rough earth steps to reach the entrance to the Hellfire Caves. Take particular care on this path in wet or icy conditions.

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Entrance to the Hellfire Caves (not NT)


From the entrance to the Hellfire Caves, walk through the small car park to reach Church Lane. Turn left onto the lane and when the lane curves left, take a footpath to the right by a telegraph pole and pass an old-fashioned street lamp. You will soon re-join another branch of Church Lane. Here turn right downhill.

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Church Lane, West Wycombe


When you reach the bottom of Church Lane, pass under the Church Loft and turn left onto the High Street. You can cross the road safely at the pedestrian crossing outside the Village Hall. From here, turn left to explore further up the High Street where you reach the entrance to Crown Court. (Please do not enter the courtyard which is private). From Crown Court, retrace your steps to the zebra crossing and continue (west) along the High Street.

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West Wycombe High Street


There are several public houses, unusual shops and a tea room in the High Street. When you are ready to move on, continue west along the High Street until you reach the entrance to West Wycombe Park on your left at the far end of the High Street.

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West Wycombe House and Lake


Taking great care on this relatively blind corner, cross the road. (You may wish to back-track along the High Street so you have a better view of approaching traffic). Head up Chorley Road and then, about halfway between the first and second lampposts, branch half right on a grassy footpath. Ignore the first crossing path and then, after about 90 metres turn right up some steps onto a well-trodden crossing path signposted to the Hilltop. The path climbs gradually at first and then steepens at some rough steps. At the top of the steps turn left onto a well-used, wide, grassy path that leads uphill to the Dashwood Mausoleum.

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West Wycombe Park from the Hill


On reaching the Mausoleum, take a moment to catch your breath. From this excellent vantage point, take the opportunity to look back to West Wycombe Park and to reflect on the landscape around you and beneath you. (The artificial Hellfire Cave ends directly below the Mausoleum.) Turn left following a level path around the structure. Where the path divides, take the right fork, which will lead you through the churchyard to the front of St Lawrence’s Church. From here, retrace your steps to the car park.

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Dashwood Mausoleum West Wycombe Hill


St Lawrence’s Church on West Wycombe Hill

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West Wycombe Trail


Most of the walk is on footpaths, cut grass and roadside paths, although you will need to cross the busy A40 main road twice, and there is a short stretches on a quiet lane. In the village of West Wycombe, the pavements along the main A40 road are quite narrow in places and traffic can be very busy at times. There is one short, but fairly steep climb and a similar descent on West Wycombe Hill. In places, the paths climb or descend using rough earth steps. Some paths and steps on the Hill may be muddy and slippery after prolonged or heavy rain. Stout walking shoes or walking boots are recommended in wet conditions or after heavy rain.

West Wycombe Trail

Contact us

West Wycombe Trail

How to get here

At the front of St Lawrence’s Church on West Wycombe Hill, which is just south of the National Trust carpark at grid ref. SU827950
By train

The nearest station is High Wycombe (2.9 miles away) on the Chiltern Railways line.

By road

West Wycombe village is 2.5 miles west of High Wycombe, on the A40. Pass through the village and then turn right into Chorley Road, then immediately right again into Church Lane. Continue up the narrow lane to reach the large National Trust carpark at the top of the hill by the church.

SATNAV: the nearest postcode is HP14 3AR. Latitude: 51.647362.  Longitude: -0.805630.

By foot

Please see OS map 172.

By bus

The main bus route through West Wycombe is the Number 40 service between High Wycombe and Thame run by Carousel Buses.

By bicycle

West Wycombe is accessible by bicycle from High Wycombe, Stokenchurch or Princes Risborough.

West Wycombe Trail

Facilities and access

  • Free parking is available at the National Trust Car Park on West Wycombe Hill Grid Ref. SU827950
  • Alternative parking is available in West Wycombe Village off Chorley Road. Grid. Ref. SU826947. Parking is free for the first hour, then £2.50 for up to 2 hours and £4.50 for more than 2 hours. Machines will not take cash.
  • There are public toilets in West Wycombe at SU828946, close to the village school at the lower Church Lane car park, and there are toilets at the Hell Fire Caves. There are also toilets at the West Wycombe House when it is open.
  • Dogs are welcome in the village and on the hill but only assistance dogs are allowed in the park please.
  • Benches and other places to picnic can be found on West Wycombe Hill.