Pete's Walks - Variation on 'Four Hills walk' (page 1 of 4)

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If you are considering walking this route yourself, please see my disclaimer. You may also like to see these notes about the maps.

Google map of the walk

I did this 11.8 mile circular walk on Saturday, 17th April 2010. It was a basically a variation of my 'Four Hills walk', but done in the opposite direction (Clockwise) and with three variations that I have shown on the map.

This was another beautiful Spring day, without a cloud in the sky. For the first time this year I wore my lightweight summer gear rather than the excellent Paramo gear that I wear for walking during the winter months. It was still a bit chilly, 7C, as I set off from the car park on Coombe Hill (grid reference SP 852063) at about 9.30am - I did wonder about putting on my windstopper jacket, but didn't bother and in the event I was soon warm enough anyway. From the gate by the entrance to the car park I took the middle path of three, crossing an area of grass and scrub to a belt of trees, beyond which the path turned right along a broad strip of grass. As I followed it to the monument on Coombe Hill I passed some ponies and cows (including a Belted Galloway) that are used to graze the grass here. Instead of taking the path and bridleway to Dunsmore, I then started my first variation of the day by following the Ridgeway (marked by white acorn symbols) right towards Bacombe Hill and Wendover. As usual, there were some great views from Coombe Hill and from the path descending over Bacombe Hill, although they weren't at their best today as there appeared to be some mist or smog about - I wondered if it was anything to do with the volcanic ash from Iceland that closed all the airports for several days.

The start of the path from the car park at Coombe Hill


Approaching the monument on Coombe Hill


The Ridgeway path on Coombe Hill, looking towards Wendover Woods


The Ridgeway path on Bacombe Hill


The Ridgeway path on Bacombe Hill


After a very pleasant stroll gently downhill for over a mile, I turned very sharply right, almost doubling back on myself, just as the Ridgeway neared a road. I now followed a bridleway gradually going back up Bacombe Hill. But after only quarter of a mile or so, I took a path on the left that went downhill across a large meadow or paddock to reach Bacombe Lane by a row of houses (I could have reached this field quicker by simply following the bridleway down from Coombe Hill, but the views are much better the way I went). I went left for about a couple of hundred yards, then took a bridleway on the right. This was soon running between fences with more meadows or paddocks either side, and I spotted some Cowslips here (the first I've seen on my walks this year). The bridleway turned right after the meadows, but I followed a footpath straight on, first across the corner of a pasture and then following tractor tracks slowly rising across a large ploughed field.


The meadow I crossed to reach the lane or drive just outside Wendover


Near the start of the path to Dunsmore


The path to Dunsmore


In the corner of the field the path entered Coxgrove Wood, where I saw large numbers of both Wood Anemones and Lesser Celandine. I continued to go gently uphill through the trees, soon keeping right at a fork in the path and eventually reaching a bridleway on the far side of the wood. I followed this to the right, still rising gently - here I saw my first Wood Sorrel of the year. Near the top of the hill, the bridleway left the wood and ran between fences again with meadows or pastures either side. Again I had another 'first' of the year, a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly. The bridleway then joined the bridleway I usually take from Coombe Hill, just as it reached the small village of Dunsmore (to my left).


Start of the path through Coxgrove Wood


The path through Coxgrove Wood


The bridleway through Coxgrove Wood


Approaching Dunsmore

Back on my usual route, I walked into Dunsmore and turned right at a lane crossroads by the village pond. After a hundred yards or so I took a footpath on the left that went across a number of small pastures, gradually dropping down into a valley near Dunsmore Old Farm. In the valley bottom I followed a track from the farm left for a short distance, before turning half-right on a bridleway that ran uphill through another wood, going southwest for about half a mile to reach the end of the lane that runs through Little Hampden, opposite the Rising Sun pub (now closed).

Duck pond in Dunsmore


The path from Dunsmore to Little Hampden


The bridleway to Little Hampden


The bridleway to Little Hampden

Part 2 of this walk

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