Buckinghamshire walk around Chesham in Chess Valley
PUBLISHED: 12:52 04 August 2015
Follow Steve Davison’s footsteps as he takes in the views on a walk round Chesham in the Chess Valley
Our walk this month is based at the market town of Chesham, to the south-east of Aylesbury, an area used by stone-age man around 7,000 years ago, confirmed by the discovery of large numbers of flints tools. Much more recently, St Mary’s Church dates from the 12th century, although there have been a number of changes since then. Henry III granted the town a Royal Charter to hold a weekly market in 1257, and in 1889 the Metropolitan Line arrived connecting Chesham to London.
And if you think you recognise parts of the town, Chesham has starred in a number of TV and film productions, including Inspector Morse, Midsomer Murders and, most recently, in The Imitation Game (2014), where Church Street appears as Alan Turing’s lodging house in Bletchley.
The walk meanders through Lowndes Park, donated to the town in 1953 by the Lowndes family, before passing the war memorial designed by the sculptor Arthur George Walker showing an infantryman with his rifle inverted; to the right along the High Street is the Market Square, clock tower and small museum where you can learn more about the town (01494 792549). However, we head out into the rolling Chiltern Hills forming part of Metropolitan Green Belt encircling London, climbing past the hamlet of Tyler’s Hill. The final leg of the walk heads back down to the River Chess and Chesham Moor, passing the sites of the former Canon’s Mill, once owned by Missenden Abbey, and Amy Mill; at one time, along the River Chess between Chesham and Chorleywood, there were eight water-powered mills; flour-milling was one of the main medieval industries in Chesham.
• Start/finish: car park on Moor Road near the swimming pool, a short way from the A416 in Chesham; grid ref SP963008 (train services to Chesham)
• Map: OS Explorer 181
• Distance: 5 miles (8km)
• Terrain: gates, ups and downs, paths, tracks, lanes and roads with pavements
• Time: 2.5 hours (excluding stops)
• Refreshments: Chesham has a good choice of pubs and cafes
1 (SP963008) – From the car park head north across the grass and turn left along the riverside. Pass under the railway bridge to a roundabout and circle anti-clockwise across the A416. Turn right for a few metres and then go left through a wall-gap (signposted Chess Valley Way). Keep ahead at the junction with the stream on left, then turn left at the second footbridge. Fork right (stream on the left) to a road. Turn left over the bridge, go right across the road and follow Water Lane with the stream on the right. At the split, fork left to a road and turn right to a junction beside the Queens Head pub. Turn right (pavement) and just after the gated entrance on the left, fork left across the road and follow the enclosed path alongside the high brick wall. Continue past the churchyard entrance, go through the gate ahead and cross the tarmac drive.
2 (SP957015) – Continue through Lowndes Park with the lake on the right. Near the far side bear right past the end of the lake and leave through a fence-gap. Cross the A416 (zebra crossing) and keep ahead along Bulcher Street to reach the war memorial. Turn left along the High Street to its end and turn right up White Hill. At the junction with The Backs (right) go straight on up the steps and follow the enclosed tarmac path uphill. At the top, where the path rejoins the road, turn right up the track. Where the track bears right, turn left into the field and follow the left-hand margin. At the path junction keep ahead across the field to the far side. Go through the trees and head downhill to a bridleway.
3 (SP975016) – Cross straight over and head uphill to a junction at the top. Turn left (hedge on right) to a split and take the left fork through the kissing gate. Continue across the field towards the building and leave through a kissing gate at Tyler’s Hill. Turn right along the lane, passing the church, and follow the track keeping right at the split with Cowcroft Grange on the left. As the tarmac drive turns left to Cowcroft Farm fork right along the path into Cowcroft Wood, soon passing a communication mast. Fork right and then left at the track junction to reach a bridleway on the far side of the wood. Turn right, pass a trig point to a junction beside a gate on the left. Turn right through the small gate and follow the path through the field dotted with trees, later following a wood on right, to the field corner. Go through a small gate and turn right down the tree-shaded track (Green Lane).
4 (SP981006) – Keep right (straight on) at the junction down to a track, turn right (Bottom Lane to Botley) as it curves right to a crossing path. Turn left through the kissing gate and follow the right-hand hedge up through two fields. Go through a kissing gate and continue through the third field, staying right of the buildings to a kissing gate and track. Turn left past Hill Farm and continue downhill (later Hill Farm Road). Cross the main road into the trees and turn right at first junction, following a path through Chesham Moor (stream on right). Cross a footbridge, fork right and later keep ahead through the recreation area. Cross the footbridge to a road junction and go straight on past the swimming pool back to the car park.
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