A country pub walk on the ancient Icknield Way in the heart of the glorious Chiltern Hills
This pleasant 3 mile Buckinghamshire pub walk takes you to the top of Coombe Hill, from where the magnificent Chiltern countryside spreads out all around. Walking shoes are recommended as the uphill section of path can become muddy after rain.Download PDF Guide
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As you leave the pub, turn right and head along Pound Street, part of the prehistoric Icknield Way, as it crosses over the railway line and the A413. Immediately after the bridge, you’ll see a wooden sign directing you up a footpath on the left. After two stiles, the path leads across a field to Bacombe Lane. Turn right and head up it for about 90 yards, at which point a bridleway leads left between some gardens and across a field. Turn right through the metal gate on the far side and follow the tree-lined path as it rises gently for about 800 yards.
At the top of the hill, turn right onto a well-surfaced bridleway and follow it until it divides. Take the right-hand path and, just over 200 yards further on, turn left at a waymark post. This path leads through beech trees that, in past times, were regularly coppiced for firewood. Now left to grow free, the wood has developed a dark and magical air!
“The wood has developed a dark and magical air”
At the next way mark, turn right. Continue to another way mark and turn left. You’ll soon emerge at a National Trust car park. When you reach the wooden gate, take the left-hand path, then turn right onto the clearly signposted Ridgeway path.
At this point, you can enjoy fine views over the Chiltern countryside, designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Also visible is Chequers: the 16th century house that serves as the country residence of the Prime Minister. A little further on is the Coombe Hill monument – a memorial to the Buckinghamshire men who fell in the Boer War. As the highest point for miles around, it’s been struck by lightning on many an occasion.
“A memorial to the Buckinghamshire men who fell in the Boer War”
From the monument, follow the Ridgeway signs that will lead you through several kissing gates and back down to the road. From there, you’re just a minute’s walk from a well-deserved drink in the Shoulder of Mutton.
When in the beech woods, keep an eye out for the tiny Muntjac deer, the smallest of the six species found in Britain. About the size of a large dog, these exotic-looking animals are also known as ‘barking deer’ because of the noise they make when calling to each other.
Point of Interest
In early May, countless bluebells appear in the beech woods, coating the ground in a floating haze of colour.
Shoulder Of Mutton
The pub is starting point for the Coombe Hill Run – legend has it that no local boy can be called a man until he has completed it.
Dating back to the 18th century, the Shoulder of Mutton is a handsome red brick, ivy-clad country pub. It’s located in the historic market town of Wendover that, in turn, is nestled in the heart of the glorious Chiltern Hills.
A short walk from The Shoulder of Mutton, there is a row of beautiful black and white thatched cottages. Known as Anne Boleyn’s Cottages, they were reputedly a wedding gift to Anne from King Henry VIII.
This Grade II listed inn is a perfect venue to combine a relaxing pub restaurant meal and a day out in the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside. In fact, there are over 1,200 miles of public footpaths through this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, along with an abundance of rare wildlife – including soaring Red Kites, once extinct in England.
Candle-lit tables, original wooden beams and roaring fires offer a warm welcome in the winter months while the attractive garden is popular on summer days for outdoor dining. This delightful country pub also serves delicious food, seasonal specials and tasty roast lunches on Sundays. You can also drink a variety of cask ales, good wine and a wide range of quality snacks.
Why not reserve a table for the day of your walk?Reserve your table
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