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Combe and Buttermere

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Combe and Buttermere
Author: stuartb3502, Published: 02 Mar 2019 Walk Rating:star1 Combe and Buttermere, Berkshire walking Guidestar1 Combe and Buttermere, Berkshire walking Guidestar1 Combe and Buttermere, Berkshire walking Guidestar1 Combe and Buttermere, Berkshire walking Guidestar0 Combe and Buttermere, Berkshire walking Guide
Berkshire, Combe
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Combe and Buttermere
Length: 9 miles,  Difficulty: boot Combe and Buttermere, Berkshire walking Guide boot Combe and Buttermere, Berkshire walking Guide
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0001_sunny Combe and Buttermere, Berkshire walking GuideToday's weather
10 °C, Clear/sunny, Wind: 8 mph N
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An 8.5 mile circular walk around Combe and Buttermere on the West Berkshire-Hampshire border. The walk has a combination of the exceptional views from Inkpen Hill over Berkshire and Wiltshire and the lovely downland valley and woods through the Buttermere estate. This is a great walk on a bright winter's day.

Walking conditions tend to remain good year round on most of the walk due to the well-drained chalk soil. The byway section is quite deeply rutted at the start and parts of this can be very muddy. The uphill sections are gentle to moderate and should not present difficulties for anyone with reasonable fitness. There are a few gates plus one stile, but the stile can be bypassed if needed. (The map shows the route using the stile, but the written directions explain the alternative which is very simple). Dogs should be OK, but there are several sections with sheep and cattle, so will need to be on a lead at times. Allow 4 hours.

There is no food and drink on the route, but you will find the Jack Russell Inn at nearby Faccombe.

The starting car park is on the (unnamed) road between Inkpen and Faccombe, about 2 miles north of Faccombe. If coming from Faccombe (village post code SP11 0DS), head north, you will pass a transmitter tower and then shortly afterwards, the road bends left at a junction. The car park is 100m further along on a right-hand bend. If this is full, carry on down the hill and take the first left. This will bring you to the car park at Combe Gibbet. This is on the route (Waypoint 9) and it is just as easy to start/finish from there.

Walk Sections

Start to Leaving Faccombe Road
Start to Leaving Faccombe Road

Start point: 51.3506 lat, -1.4509 long
End point: 51.3391 lat, -1.4504 long

The first section is along a lane - this is usually very quiet, but obviously take care. Walk out of the car park and turn right (East) along the lane (on the flat not down the hill) towards Faccombe. At a right-hand bend at a junction with a road on the left (in less than 100m), follow the main lane round to the right. Keep going and later you will pass a transmitter tower on your left. Shortly after this the lane bends slight left and you will see a byway track leaving the lane at about 30 degrees. There is also a footpath sign here which points 90 degrees right through the field. Do NOT take the footpath, instead take the byway track at 30 degrees.

Faccombe Road to Combe Bottom
Faccombe Road to Combe Bottom

Start point: 51.3391 lat, -1.4504 long
End point: 51.3259 lat, -1.4673 long

Follow the byway track downhill passing a copse on your right. At the right time of year, this section will be teeming with pheasants. The path will enter trees - just continue until you reach the road at a junction. Head straight across (the road sign says Linkenholt and Upton).

Combe Bottom to Hart Hill Down
Combe Bottom to Hart Hill Down

Start point: 51.3259 lat, -1.4673 long
End point: 51.3276 lat, -1.4794 long

In about 25m there is a double metal gate and a track off to the right. Turn right here onto the track which is a bridleway. (The main image for this guide shows the view from a short distance along this track). This is a nice section through a wide downland valley. You will pass a wooden outdoor centre building on your left and reach a fork in the track. Take the left-hand branch where there is a small brick building. (The image for this section shows this building, but looking back along the track towards it).

Hart Hill Down to Test Way
Hart Hill Down to Test Way

Start point: 51.3276 lat, -1.4794 long
End point: 51.336 lat, -1.4951 long

Continue on this track. It enters some woods and again there may be pheasants about and you should certainly see the feeders and pens. Ignore a track off to the right. Keep going until until you reach a crossroads of tracks with fencing and gates. The Test Way is the track crossing left to right. If you want to take a short cut (with a steeper climb), turn right here and it will bring you to Inkpen Hill. For the full walk continue straight across into an even lovelier downland valley.

Test Way to Pond Gate
Test Way to Pond Gate

Start point: 51.336 lat, -1.4951 long
End point: 51.3412 lat, -1.4971 long

Follow the track all the way to a gate by a very small pond. We managed to see a large number of red kites just before this, who were perched in a tree just to the left of the path and flew off low above us. Go through the main gate and continue up the main track.

Pond Gate to Church of St James
Pond Gate to Church of St James

Start point: 51.3412 lat, -1.4971 long
End point: 51.348 lat, -1.5073 long

There is just one track through this valley (which had sheep grazing when we walked). After a short distance you will be able to see a house straight ahead in the distance and then a small church off to your left. You are heading for this church (The Church of St James). You will reach a track on your left up towards a gate and with the church on the left (see picture). When we came this way straight ahead was an opening into a field containing cattle. Take the track on your left up past the church.

Church of St James to Downs Lane
Church of St James to Downs Lane

Start point: 51.348 lat, -1.5073 long
End point: 51.3505 lat, -1.5146 long

Once through the gate and past the church, the track becomes a small lane with a farm to the right. In a short distance you reach a T junction with another lane. This is the hamlet of Buttermere. Turn right past the phone box and head straight up the lane (see picture with arrow). Walk up the lane for just over 100m and, where the lane bears slight left, turn right into Downs Lane.

Downs Lane to Bungham Lane
Downs Lane to Bungham Lane

Start point: 51.3505 lat, -1.5146 long
End point: 51.3565 lat, -1.4874 long

Continue down this very short lane (passing a few houses) until the lane peters out and becomes a byway, passing to the right of a tree and a metal gate to your right (see picture). Ignoring another track to your left before the tree, pass to the right of the tree on to the byway which bears left across the field. Continue on this until you reach a T junction with a byway and turn right.

Bungham Lane to Combe Gibbet Car Park
Bungham Lane to Combe Gibbet Car Park

Start point: 51.3565 lat, -1.4874 long
End point: 51.3567 lat, -1.4711 long

The byway here is unfortunately quite rutted at times which can make for harder going, but there is the reward of exceptional views all along this section to your left. In about 1km, you will reach a stile on your left. You now have two choices:

Option 1: For a rest from the byway and to keep better views over the next short stretch, turn left aross the stile and then head right (to the left of a small pond). The path is faint, but distinguishable. The byway is just a few feet off to your right and you will soon be walking parallel to it. This path runs right up to Combe Gibbet (see picture) where there are fine views. Just after the gibbet the path will rejoin the byway through a gate. Turn left on the byway and walk down to the road where Combe Gibbet car park is straight across.

Option 2: If you cannot use the stile, just continue ahead along the byway and then bear left a few metres further along where the Test Way joins from the right under trees. The byway track leads you to the road with Combe Gibbet car park opposite.

Combe Gibbet Car Park to End
Combe Gibbet Car Park to End

Start point: 51.3567 lat, -1.4711 long
End point: 51.3518 lat, -1.4554 long

Cross the road and take the byway to the right of the car park (you have just been on the Test Way, but this is now the Wayfarer's Walk). Continue along this byway to the next car park which marks the end of the walk.

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Check out these resources for your walk

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network Combe and Buttermere, Berkshire walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2019 by iFootpath and the author stuartb3502 and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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