Walks in the Chilterns
The Chiltern Hills lie to the north and west of London, covering around 650 square miles from Goring and Henley-on-Thames in the south to Hitchin in the north. They range over four counties: Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. At its highest point, the terrain rises to 852 feet at Coombe Hill, south of Wendover.
The chalk hills give rise to distinctive landscapes and wildlife that live in and around local streams, including the Rivers Chess and Gade. Half of the Chilterns is termed an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is easily reached by public transport and there are 2,300 miles of footpaths, making the Chilterns popular with city-dwellers in search of green space.
The Ridgeway borders a large section along the western side. Starting in the south, it passes Ewelme, which retains fine examples of medieval architecture, and the Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve. Watlington Hill provides fine views of the Oxfordshire countryside, and further north is Coombe Hill, where a path descends into nearby Wendover. Here you can stroll along a section of the Grand Union Canal as it passes through the town or walk through the Wendover Woods. Further west is Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, an old market town with an attractive conservation area.
On the eastern side of the Chilterns is Amersham, which can be reached by London Underground. Head north for the Chess Valley Walk, which runs from Chesham to Rickmansworth. This ten-mile stretch passes by water meadows, the 13th-century Chenies Manor and Gardens, watercress beds, woods and fields.
The Warburg Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest spread over 253 acres, is located in the southern part of the Chilterns. A walk through the reserve provides an opportunity to spot many species of local plants, animals and birds. The Thames Path National Trail skirts the southern boundary of the Chilterns. Among the attractions are Goring village, Mapledurham House and Watermill, dating from the Elizabethan period and Henley-on-Thames, famous for its annual regatta. There is also a towpath that runs between Marlow and Henley-on-Thames.