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Coombe Hill Circular

31.5KM across the Chiltern Hills

A challenging walk with 740m of elevation walking parts of the Ickenfield Way and The Ridgeway.

This route goes through a variety of National Trust nature reserves and takes in some beautiful views as you go.

It took me just over 6 hours, but of course this depends on your own walking speed.

Coombe Hill, Photo by Walks With Kerry

I started this route at the National Trust car park for Coombe Hill.

The early bird really catches the worm with this one, the spaces are limited and it fills up fast, even early morning. The route doesn't actually take you to the monument but I always just add that in while I'm there.

The route then follows the path down the sharpest front of Coombe Hill heading towards Ellesborough.

Here you take on one of my favourite hills in the Chilterns. I am sure its barely classed as a hill, more of a bump. it may be small but its mighty and it gets me every time.

There is however a lovely dip to hide out in at the top if the wind is fierce. The beautiful Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill, Photo by Walks With Kerry

You then cross over using the Ridgeway National Trail into Pulpit Hill Nature Reserve. At the right time of year this reserve is full of orchids and butterflies. I could probably spend hours here.

You leave the reserve behind and gain some elevation again up to the top of Whiteleaf Hill.

A this point you can see the ridge line that you are aiming to walk to and it gives you a nice sense of the distance you will be covering. If you have started early this is also a lovely spot for breakfast.

View from Whiteleaf Hill, photo by Walks With Kerry

You will then drop back down again using the Ickenfield Way and Ridgeway Trails, crossing behind Princes Risborough.

This maybe isn't the most interesting part of the walk but it gives some nice relief from the elevation.

Princes Risborough is a well stocked town with a Tesco and various independent shops so it could be a good stop off. I would think this would add a couple of km to the route though.

There is also some road work here but it is well paved, just noisy.

You then cross over the railway via Princes Risborough Golf Club

Mainline Railway, photo by Walks with Kerry

Where I was treated to this fellow in a field looking very inquisitive and slightly out of place

Random Highland Cow, photo by Walks With Kerry

The route then skims you across the front edge of Lodge Hill.

Whilst this route doesn't take you totally up Lodge Hill, I have walked it before and it is a lovely spot so worth a detour. This is baring in mind you are only half way at this point. So maybe save it for another day if you are already feeling the distance.

At the top of Bledlow Ridge you do pass a pub, I haven't been in it before but it looks lovely and has a nice beer garden. So might be worth a lunch stop!

The route then drops back down between Bledlow Ridge and Lacey Green.

There is sadly some more road work to do here past the 'Hearing Dogs', but I've never found it too much of a problem. There are some areas that are without a path so please walk it with caution. The Hearing Dogs centre also has a cafe which could be worth a stop off.

Skimming the edge of Callows Hill you come up between Loosley Row and Lacey Green. Where you get a view of Lacey Green windmill. It is the oldest surviving smock windmill in England and at certain times of the year visitors can see inside.

Lacey Green Windmill, photo by Walks With Kerry

Continuing to cut across fields and farmland, including a walk through a livery yard, you continue back towards Coombe Hill. There are pockets of lovely woodland on this stretch of the walk.

This at time can feel like a long part of the walk as it doesn't have the excitement of all the hills you experience on the first half of the walk. There is still merit in the views though, they are just different and more contained.

Eventually you start to skim down the side of the woodland towards Chequers.

The OS map, app and on the ground do not match up here so be careful to make sure you are on the right path!!!

Chequers, photo by Walks with Kerry

Once you have passed Chequers you have one large field to cross, a pretty big hill and a few km of woodland left to go.

My suggestion is to stop at Buckmoorend Farm Shop if its open, for a cup of tea and/or an ice cream before finishing the last bit. You'll find it just across this field by the white houses.

Buckmoorend Farm, photo by Walks With Kerry

I've done this walk twice now, once in Spring and once in Autumn and I think, despite the clay, which is just awful to walk across in the Chilterns in Autumn, I still think Autumn was my favourite time to complete the walk.

In Spring when its very warm you are exposed for a lot of the time and thats not something I enjoy on my walks.

If you would like to have a go then please feel free to use my Strava GPX file


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