7 stunning hilltop walks (with views to boot)
Need some fresh air to clear you head? Pull on your walking shoes, fill your thermos and walk one of these routes up to Bucks & Oxon's highest points. The views will be worth it.
Coombe Hill, Chequers and Ellesborough
Want to spy on Boris and Carrie? Well, to be honest, on this trail you don’t get that close but do get a glimpse of the Elizabethan splendour that is Chequers along with panoramic views across the Aylesbury Vale and the pretty village of Ellesborough. This circular route is a relatively demanding 8 – 11.2km (depending on whether to want to take short cuts or not) so only to be attempted with older kids who really need wearing out. Take chocolate (and binoculars).
Walk the route (Challenging, 8 – 11.2km)
Cowleaze Wood to Vicar’s Farm
It’s hard to choose what’s more impressive about this walk – the wildlife or the views. The circular route starts at one of the highest point in Oxfordshire, Cowleaze Wood, and travels through Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve. There are plenty of options to extend the walk if you fancy.
Walk the route (Easy – Moderate, 4.5km)
Want to feel like you’re on top of the world? We can’t quite manage that but we can lead you to the loftiest point in Buckinghamshire, with this walk through Wendover Woods. It climbs to the highest point in the county and has views for miles across the Chilterns. Look out for the rock marking the highest altitude at the summit.
Walk the route (Moderate, 4.5km)
White Horse Hill
This circular ramble within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty crosses The Ridgeway (the views here are stunning) and the iconic Bronze-Age Uffington White Horse leaping across the hills. The route is pretty steep, so don’t forget your walking boots and be prepared to work those glutes.
Walk the route (Challenging, 6.5km)
Get your fill of epic panoramas by marching your brood up to the top of Ivinghoe Beacon on the Bucks/Beds/Herts border, which is part of the National Trust’s Ashridge estate – there’s a 7.2km trail from Bridgewater Monument to the Beacon which is perfectly do-able for older families. For smaller kiddies, you can set off from the Beacon’s nearby car park (with attendant ice cream van). The views are more than worth the effort, but it is quite steep and toddlers may demand to be carried either up or down. Or both.
Walk the route (Moderate, 7.2km)
Faringdon Circular Walk, Faringdon
Not the highest altitude of the bunch, but if it’s views you’re after, you’ve come to the right place. This route travels through the village of Littleworth and ends with a walk up Folly Hill with it’s pretty woodland and panoramic views over several counties. For a shorter ramble with the little people, just follow the last bit of the route – kids will love the sculpture trail in the woods.
Walk the route (Easy – Moderate, 8km)
Rollright Stones Circular, nr Chipping Norton
This route’s slightly longer (it should take about three hours so you may have to bike it to remain the right side of lockdown rules) but totally worth it as the mid-point is the Rollright Stones – Oxfordshire’s answer to Stonehenge. Top tip: the King’s Stone and Whispering Knights (pictured) have the best views.
Walk the route (Moderate, 8.3k)
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