Bourne End to West Wycombe

This walk is part of the trek The Route of the London Green Belt Way.

First 2 miles are flat, along the Thames Path & Spade Oak Nature Reserve to Little Marlow. The rest of the stage is tough and very hilly with many steep climbs and mostly off-road thru'the Chiltern Hills. The route goes up around the back of High Wycombe to finish just past the National Trust owned village of West Wycombe at Pedestal Roundabout at junction of A40 and A4010.

Technical sheet
No. 11966842
A Cookham walk posted on 21/07/21 by Sean Davis. Update : 09/08/21
Calculated time Calculated time: 5h50[?]
Distance Distance : 17.22km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 313m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 249m
Highest point Highest point : 165m
Lowest point Lowest point : 26m
Moderate Difficulty : Moderate
Back to starting point Back to starting point : No
Walking Walking
Area Area : Chiltern Hills
Location Location : Cookham
Starting point Starting point : N 51.575403° / W 0.713709°
Ending point Ending point : N 51.644732° / W 0.796082°
Download : -


(D) From Bourne End Railway Bridge continue north and upstream along the Thames Path. The route passes some pleasant dwellings, then comes out onto an open area next to the river with a level crossing away to the right. Continue straight on along the Thames Path, soon crossing a footbridge over the entrance to a small marina. And follow signs for Thames Path. At times the path becomes enclosed between houses and their small riverside gardens. This eventually leads to an opening next to the river (at 0.62 miles).

(1) At the open area, next to the river, turn right, through a metal pedestrian gate, over a level crossing (with great care) and straight on along a road (Coldmoorholme Lane) past Spade Oak Farm to your right hand side. Continue along the lane, soon past a car park, next to a wooded picnic area, and then past the Spade Oak Pub. Soon after the pub and immediately opposite the entrance to Old Thatch turn left onto a path through the trees and a metal kissing gate and across a small field to another kissing gate. Go through and over a footbridge to enter a nature reserve.

(2) Turn right to follow a path around the edge of what was an old gravel pit and is now a lake. After another 550 yards turn right onto a path which goes away from the lake and through a wood. Be careful not to follow the main path which continues around the lake as it is only used by anglers and soon reaches a dead-end. Follow the path through the wood to cross a footbridge and out into a large field. Turn left along the edge of the field.

Follow the path as it enters another field and continues straight on. At the far end of the field, cross over a road. There are also a few industrial buildings to the left owned by Lafarge Aggregates - a gravel extraction company. The road has no public right of way so cross straight over, and if a weekday be careful of the large trucks.

Continue straight on along the left hand side of a third field, with a small stream on your left, for 170 yards. Turn left to cross a wooden footbridge over the stream and then along a path above next to a stream/marsh. After 150 yards cross over another wooden footbridge and then follow the path around to the right, through a meadow and then some trees.

(3) Where the path comes out onto a lane (The Moor) turn right towards Little Marlow, soon past the church to your left hand side and stay straight on through the village. After passing the King's Head Pub at (2 miles), cross straight over the busy A4155 (with care) into Wilton Farm and past Emmett's Farm Shop.

Go directly north (away from the main road) through the farmyard and onto a track uphill along the right edge of a field. After 800 yards the track veers slightly left past a barn and across a field to veer right again, with the edge of the field now to the left.

On reaching a metal kissing-gate, on the left, go through it and then turn right with the hedgerow now to your right hand side. Follow the well-defined path along the edge of the field into Bloom Wood / Warren Wood. After 400 yards (at 3 miles), and as the main track goes straight on, veer left along another path.

(4) At next junction, turn left onto a signed path (Chiltern Way). Continue on this path through the woods and eventually down a very steep hill to come out onto Winchbottom Lane.

Note: This steep downhill is really steep (> 25%). If wet it can be dangerous, but there is an alternative by using a wide path to the right (just before reaching the steep hill) and after about 100 yards turning sharp left.

On reaching the lane turn left and follow, gradually downhill, for 600 yards.

(5) Turn right past a metal barrier, signed Chiltern Way, and straight on along the left hand side of a car park. The path goes straight on through the woods and after 700 yards comes out onto a lane (Monkton Lane - at just over 4 miles).

(6) Turn left along the lane and after 350 yards the lane passes under the A404. 125 yards later turn right, off Monkton Lane and onto a narrow lane, to Wood Barn Farm, signed Chiltern Way. After passing the farm, to your left hand side, stay straight on for 200 yards. Then turn left on a path between fields. After another 310 yards out through a wooden kissing gate onto a road (Pump Lane).

(7) Turn right along the lane. After 220 yards Pump Lane leads to a T-junction with Wycombe Road. Stay on along the right hand side for just a few yards, then cross the road onto a footpath going straight across a crop field, signed Chiltern Way. (Note: Just to the left, at the junction, is the Three Horseshoes public house).

(8) At the other side of the field turn right along an enclosed bridleway (at 5 miles). Follow the bridleway, in a northerly direction for 1,450 yards out onto a lane (Ragmans Lane). On reaching Ragmans Lane veer slightly right, then straight on along the lane. Be careful as it is a very narrow road.

(9) After 190 yards, and as the road turns sharp right, stay left onto a gravel lane. After just a few yards, stay right, past an isolated farmhouse to your right hand side, and onto an enclosed track (at 6 miles). The track goes downhill between trees and becomes a path between fields. Follow it straight on towards the motorway (M40) in the distance. On approaching the motorway follow the path as it turns right and then left through a conveniently situated tunnel under the M40.

(10) After passing through the tunnel, turn left and uphill along a path. At the top go straight on past a bridleway going off to the right. For the next 0.7 miles follow the path (now classified as a bridleway), mainly straight on, and parallel to the M40, only yards away from the speeding traffic. The bridleway soon passes the back of a large John Lewis store and then narrows, but keep the motorway to your left.

After another 375 yards, the path/bridleway turns right. But just after just a few yards and at a junction, turn left onto an enclosed bridleway which continues parallel to the motorway. Soon to the right a large seemingly lifeless office block gives the feeling of being looked out on from its modern square glass façade. The tree-lined bridleway continues uphill to come out on a grassy area next to Cressex Road (at just over 7 miles).

(11) Cross straight over into Horns Lane. Continue straight on along the verge on the left hand side of the Horns Lane and after 420 yards turn right to cross the road and onto a narrow lane (Booker Common). Soon there are houses to your right hand side and an open common to your left hand side.

(12) After 340 yards, at a junction, turn left into Willow Avenue. In another 80 yards, at a Y-junction, veer left along a lane (signed public bridleway).

(13) After 260 yards (and soon after some wooden bollards) turn left, through bollards, onto a wide path into the woods, signed public footpath. The path is not well-defined as there are a few options. However, veer slightly right and gradually downhill.

After 80 yards turn right onto a path which gradually leads downhill. Then after another 200 yards, on reaching a Y-junction of paths turn sharp left and continue downhill.

At the bottom turn right, and almost immediately right again, onto another path, still in the woods and running parallel to a road on your left hand side.

(14) The path parallel to the road is almost flat. Follow it for 200 yards, then turn left onto a very narrow path (this is not obvious) for just a few yards to reach a road (Lane End Road).

Cross straight over the road and past a metal barrier, onto a wide track, signed public footpath (at 8.1 miles). Follow this path / wide track, directly away from the road and steep uphill.

At the top of the climb, at a Y-junction of paths, go right and follow this for 450 yards to a T-junction of paths - at first this path is flat, but before the T-junction there is a steep decline, immediately followed by a steep incline.

(15) At the T-junction, turn right. After 60 yards, at another junction, take the left path and follow it through the woods, always keeping a large open field away to your left. The path winds its way through the woods and after half a mile, turns right and descends steeply.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Sometimes after the T-junction, mentioned above, is easy to go off route. However, if you follow some orange and white arrows painted on trees and use the rule of keeping a field to your left visible through the trees, you will stay on course until the steep downhill and exit from the woods to the large field.

Near the bottom, turn left and through a gap, with signs of what was once a wooden gate, and into a very large field. Go straight across the field on the well-defined path, signed public bridleway. Note: The broken gate may have been fixed since I last visited.

(16) After crossing the field, turn right onto a tree-lined, sunken bridleway going uphill (the actual point you join the sunken bridleway has at times changed over the years, so be careful). This climbs steadily for 600 yards up to Druid's Hutt. At the top of the climb the track widens and eventually leads to a lane. On passing a house on the right (at 9.5 miles), follow the lane as it turns left.

(17) After 350 yards follow the main lane (Toweridge Lane) as it turns right. Then after 50 yards stay straight on, past a road / signed bridleway to the left, and downhill.

(18) At the bottom of the lane, cross straight over the road (A40, Oxford Road) and turn right along the pavement. After 200 yards stay on the pavement next to the A40 as it crosses a road, then along a small green and a second road and into West Wycombe High Street (opposite the entrance to West Wycombe Park). Continue along the A40 westwards and out of the village to Pedestal Roundabout.

Turn left onto the Bradenham Road (A4010) and almost immediately then right to cross over and finish next to a filling station/car showroom.(A)

Waypoints :
D : km 0 - alt. 28m - Bourne End Railway Bridge
1 : km 1 - alt. 27m - Open area
2 : km 1.46 - alt. 28m - Path
3 : km 2.75 - alt. 32m - The Moor
4 : km 4.97 - alt. 121m - Chiltern Way
5 : km 5.85 - alt. 57m - Metal barrier
6 : km 6.53 - alt. 86m - A404
7 : km 7.56 - alt. 84m - Pump Lane
8 : km 8.06 - alt. 97m - Juniper Hill
9 : km 9.55 - alt. 140m - Old House Farm
10 : km 10.19 - alt. 133m - Tunnel
11 : km 11.37 - alt. 145m - Cressex Road
12 : km 12.08 - alt. 155m - Willow Avenue
13 : km 12.41 - alt. 157m - Bollards
14 : km 12.99 - alt. 123m - Path
15 : km 13.63 - alt. 151m - High Barbers Wood
16 : km 14.76 - alt. 111m - Field
17 : km 15.51 - alt. 165m - Toweridge Lane
18 : km 16.37 - alt. 91m - Bottom of the lane
A : km 17.22 - alt. 91m - West Wycombe

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