The Chiltern Hills (AONB) is a Chalk Escarpment that is one of 38 areas of natural beauty in England and Wales. The Chiltern Hills is over 200,00 acres and covers 4 counties in the southeast of England. These counties include Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire & Bedfordshire.
In the Chiltern Hills, you will find a variety of flora and fauna, quaint villages and lush green valleys. You will also find an abundance of bluebells in the Chiltern Hills area during the springtime.
Not too far from London, It is the perfect place to come if you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some peace and tranquillity in nature. Another great thing about the Chiltern Hills is that most of the walks are easy-going so it’s a great place to come with all of the family.
I only discovered the Chiltern Hills during the 2020 coronavirus lockdown and honestly, it was a saviour. Whilst living in Hertfordshire I am very lucky to have access to green space and many beautiful Hertfordshire Walks, but I often crave a good old hike and a pretty panoramic view, that like you might find in the Peak District, and the Chiltern Hills was definitely my answer to that. Read on below to find out about some of the best walks you can do here.
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How to get to The Chiltern Hills
There are two main ways to access the routes in the Chiltern Hills that is by car and/or train. Whilst, a lot of routes within the Chiltern Hills are only accessible by car, there are also many routes that start and end by railway stations. There are approximately 20 railway stations scattered throughout the Chiltern Hills, so you will not be short of options.
The best walks in The Chiltern Hills
Tring Circular, Hertfordshire
With over 5000 acres worth of land, there is plenty of exploring to do around the Ashridge Estate. Secondly, with multiple walking, cycling and horseriding route the choices are endless and the views are spectacular no matter what you decide to do.
If it’s an easy woodland walk you are after I would recommend heading to the Ashridge Estate NT Carpark where you can first admire the Bridgewater Monument.
Here you can take a look at the nearby maps to decide what trail you would like to take. With the estate being so large, it’s quite easy to get lost here (I did), so if you do happen to get lost be prepared to try and retrace your steps as phone reception is extremely poor.
If it’s rolling hills and panoramic views you are after I would suggest heading to the Ivinghoe Beacon Carpark where you can embark on a mini hike along the Ivinghoe Beacon Ridgeway. However, if you’re after something a little more challenging, you can take the 10-mile walk from the Bridgewater Monument (found at the Ashridge Estate car park) to the Ivinghoe Beacon Ridgeway- check out the route here
Christmas Common Walk
Christmas Common is located in Oxfordshire, just a short drive from the well-known town of High Wycombe. This walk is for those who are looking to escape the crowds and fancy something slightly more challenging than usual. The walk starts at Christmas Common Village. Along the way, you will hike through stunning beech woodlands.
A fun fact about Christmas Common Village is that it has been used as the film set for a couple of Midsomer Murder episodes.
If you want to forget you are in Hertfordshire and transport yourself to Wales then this is the walk for you.
You could probably spend a few hours exploring the fields and getting lost here. However, the most notable walking route is a 4.4-mile loop trail which will take you roughly 1.5-2 hours to complete.
As you would expect from the name there is a mixture of uphill, downhill and flat terrain walking, but overall a fairly easy and relaxing walk.
Three Springs Walk
If you are after a slightly gentler walk the Three Springs walk might just be for you. You have a choice of doing either the long or short circular walks and along the way, you will meader through beautiful Hertfordshire Countryside. Make sure to take a walk through Lilley Hoo Common. If you get tired and thirsty after your walk, you can stop off at the Red Lion pub.
Dunstable Downs is located in Bedfordshire, close to the Hertfordshire border.
Here, again, you will find beautiful panoramic views and large green rolling hills as well as 3 main walking routes, each to suit different interests.
Dunstable Downs is part of the National Trust so there is onsite parking (which you must pay for unless an NT member) a cafe and toilets. This is a great place to come if you want a nice easy stroll and if you are short on time. OR if you want something slightly longer you can do the walk from Whipsnade Zoo to the Downs. This is also the perfect place to watch the sunset behind the hills.
Chess Valley Walk
The Chess Valley walk a 16km straight walk through the Chilterns along with the River Chess from Rickmansworth to Chesham.
As you walk through the Chess Valley you will be witness to stunning rich landscapes that include multiple historic villages and the clear, glittering water of the River Chess.
This is one of the Chiltern Hills walks that you can access by train. You can either get off at Rickmansworth or Chesham stations. Alternatively, you can get off at Chorleywood or Chalfont and Latimer stations if you are after a slightly shorter walk.
Brush Hill and White Leaf Nature Reserve Hike
This can be found in the Buckinghamshire part of the Chiltern Hills. The walk is just under 11km where you will be able to experience stunning views as well as take a sneak peek at the Prime Minister’s Country Home; The Chequers Estate.
If you get hungry along the way you can have lunch at the Plough at Cadsden pub and grab some ice cream at the Buckmoorend Farm farm shop.
Unfortunately, there are not too many stations nearby this walk so this is one you will have to drive to. There are a couple of car parks nearby for you to park in.
Coombe Hill is located in Buckinghamshire near Aylesbury It is the highest viewpoint in the Chiltern Hills. There are multiple walking routes that allow you to enjoy the beauty of Coombe Hill and its surroundings.
Coombe Hill is part of the National Trust so there is an on-site car park here but be warned it is extremely small. You can either get here early to ensure you get a spot or park near the local playground on Ellesborough Road. Alternatively, if you are up for a longer walk, you can park in the town of Wendover (or catch the train to Wendover Station) instead and do the 11km circular Views of the Vales hike, of which the walk to Coombe Hill is just under 6km.
Hambledon Lock Hike
This is a short 4km hike that is perfect for families with young children. It’s the perfect place to take a stroll along the river and admire the boats.
To get here park up at the mile-end car park. You will pass a T-junction and will have to cross the road to gain entrance into the Marina.
How Accessible are the Chiltern Hills?
There are around 19 wheelchair and pushchair friendly walks in the Chiltern Hills. Head over to the Chiltern Hills website to find out more about the different levels of accessibility for the walks in this area.