Pete's Walks - Coombe Hill and Prestwood (page 1 of 4)

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

Google map of the walk

I did this circular walk of about 10.5 miles on Thursday, 11th January 2024. It was more or less a repeat of a walk I did in August 2017, but using the 'Alternative 1' shown on my map to avoid some unnecessary road walking (I only followed the road in 2017 because I was looking for a certain wildflower). I'd followed a similar route about 10 years earlier, and there were a few paths today that I'd only walked previously on those two walks. 'Coombe Hill and Prestwood' is a bit of a misnomer for this route, as I never visited the top of Coombe Hill and didn't actually enter Prestwood, the nearest I got to it was the adjoining Lodge Wood.

I parked at the Coombe Hill car park (Grid Reference SP 852063), and started walking at about 9:45am. The temperature was only 1.5C, and there was a heavy frost on the ground (and a smattering of snow). At the entrance to the car park, facing the road, I turned left along a path into the woods that I'd only walked a few times before. On coming to a path junction (with waymarks on a post) I turned right, and continued through Low Scrubs (the name of this part of the wood) for a few hundred yards, briefly going through a more open area before re-entering the trees. I then turned left onto another path through the wood (there was no sign or waymark here, but the path was reasonably obvious) and followed it until it ended at a bridleway running alongside an iron fence. I turned right and followed the bridleway for about half a mile to reach the hamlet of Dunsmore.

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The start of the path from the Coombe Hill car park, entering Low Scrubs

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The path through Low Scrubs, after I turned right

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Further along the path through Low Scrubs

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The path through Low Scrubs, after I turned left

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The bridleway to Dunsmore

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The bridleway to Dunsmore

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The bridleway to Dunsmore

I turned right at the lane junction in the centre of Dunsmore by the chapel and duck pond. After a hundred yards or so I turned left over a stile, and took the leftmost of two paths through a grassy pasture that sloped down to my right. On the other side of this pasture I went over another stile and crossed another pasture, dropping downhill to a third stile. Over this, the path continued through a small enclosure. Beyond this, in the valley bottom, I turned left along a bridleway coming from Old Dunsmore Farm. I soon came to a crossing bridleway (going right would have taken me to Little Hampden), where I continued ahead on what was now a footpath, running through Hampdenleaf Wood (I'd only used this path two or three times before).

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The lane through Dunsmore

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The pond at Dunsmore

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The path after going over a stile at Dunsmore - I took the left fork

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The path from Dunsmore dropping into a valley near Old Dunsmore Farm

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The footpath through Hampdenleaf Wood

After a few hundred yards the path merged with a broader path or track coming in from the right, and continued on close to the edge of the wood on my right. When I then reached a path junction in a corner of the wood, I turned left (back on a more familiar path) and followed the path uphill through more of the wood. On reaching a path crossroads not far below the top of the slope, I turned right and continued through still more of Hampdenleaf Wood (I'd only walked this path twice before). I followed this almost level path for about three-quarters of a mile, going straight on at a couple of path crossroads (somewhere after the second junction the wood became Ball's Wood). Eventually the path ended when it reached Cobblershill Lane.

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The footpath through Hampdenleaf Wood

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The footpath through Hampdenleaf Wood after I turned left

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Further along the same path

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The footpath through Hampdenleaf Wood after I turned right at a path crossroads

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The footpath continuing through Hampdenleaf Wood

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The footpath continuing through Hampdenleaf Wood

The footpath continuing through Hampdenleaf Wood

The footpath continuing through Ball's Wood