Chesham circular walk

Today I did a circular walk from Chesham, a fair bit shorter than usual at about 10 miles. I parked at the car park by Chesham station and walked through the town centre (it was obviously market day), leaving the town via Lowndes Park. I crossed a field to a lane, then crossed two large paddocks to a second lane.

I’d originally thought of walking along a valley called Herberts Hole, which I’d enjoyed walking through on the Chiltern Link a couple of years ago, but instead decided to follow a bridleway that ran along the hilltop south of Herberts Hole. This proved to be a good decision, as I enjoyed walking the bridleway, generally a good path between ivy- and holly-clad hedges, with occasional views over Herberts Hole to my right and another valley to my left.

I saw my one Red Kite of the day where the bridleway became a farm track. Beyond a farm the track became a lane, which soon reached a T-junction with another lane. I turned right for a short distance before taking a footpath going half-right, descending through a wood to the floor of Herberts Hole. I continued straight up the other side of the valley across a grass field, pausing to take photos up and down the valley (and to get my breath back!).

I crossed a lane and continued northwards on a path through a sequence of sheep pastures, descending steadily into another valley. Across another lane, the path rose steeply up the other side between a hedge and a wood on my right, then through a cattle pasture. The path then ran between hedges or fences to reach the village of Chartridge (I was here a week or two ago, on my walk that started at Buckland Common).

I turned right and followed the road through Chartridge for about half a mile, then turned left down a lane going steeply downhill. This turned right along the valley bottom, then went left to reach a road. Across this, I followed a farm drive and then a bridleway going back uphill into Captain’s Wood (where I’d been on that Buckland Common walk). Beyond the wood, I followed a path past a farm to reach the edge of Little Hivings, a ‘suburb’ of Chesham.

I now followed a path that took me through Ramscoat Wood and down to the Ostrich farm in White Hawridge Bottom. Here I turned right and followed a byway to another road, running through a valley called Chesham Vale. I was now due north of the centre of Chesham. I continued westwards on a path through a farmyard, then uphill again across a couple of fields to reach the Berkhamsted-Chesham road, south of Ashley Green. I continued the other side, along a hedge and then across a field of winter wheat, following tractor tracks. The path was then enclosed between hedges for a while, before I turned right down a similar path to reach a road in Lye Green.

I went a few yards left, then took a path on the other side of the road, at first alongside a fairly new residential area, then across a large pasture to another minor road. Across this, I continued alongside field boundaries to another farm drive and a road in Botley. I turned right, then went left down a lane, turning right at the bottom of a hill into Bottom Lane. The tarmac surface soon ended and it became a green lane between hedges, running along the valley bottom.

Where a footpath crossed, I turned right. I was now on the final section of the Chiltern Heritage Trail (which I walked last year), heading back into Chesham. At the top of a slight rise, I stopped to eat my lunch on a stile, then continued across a large fallow field that spread across the top of the hill. I followed the path for some way beside the grounds of a school (very noisy as it was the kids’ dinner break) then crossed some more fields to reach Chesham. I was disappointed that the cairns had disappeared from the last field – last year the route across the field was marked by small piles of flints, like the cairns marking paths in the Lake District.

I crossed a footbridge over the railway line, and turned right to pass the station and return to the car park. It was only about 1.45pm, a very early finish for me. It had been a pleasant but unspectacular walk, certainly one that I’d be quite happy to do again.

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