Chess valley walk

A beautiful Spring-like day here today, so I went and did a 12-mile walk in and around the Chess valley (southeast of Chesham, on the Bucks/Herts boundary). It was treat I’d been promising myself for some days! This is one of my favourite parts of the Chilterns, and one of the few places in these chalk hills where there is a river to walk along.

Starting at the attractive village of Chenies, I headed west along the hilltop south of the river, with nice views across the valley to Latimer and Latimer House. I descended through a beech wood and crossed the river just below Latimer House (now some type of Management Centre, I think).

I followed the river a short distance eastwards to the village of Latimer (another attractive place, with some interesting items on its small triangular green). I then turned and headed west again, along the northern side of the valley, back past Latimer House and along a lovely path beside a beech wood, with the river in the valley down to my left.

Almost on the edge of Chesham, I turned right, and followed a series of mainly bridleways for several miles, going in a semi-circle that eventually brought me back to the Chess Valley about half a mile east of Latimer. On the way I passed through the valley of Flaunden Bottom.

I then headed eastwards along the path through the Chess valley, passing Chenies Bottom and carrying on to reach Sarratt Bottom, where I recrossed the river and followed a path uphill back to my starting point at Chenies.

I saw a Little Egret flying along the river, between Chenies Bottom and Sarratt Bottom – it was making quite a racket, the first time I’ve ever heard them make a noise. I’ve seen them in the Chess valley a couple of times before (and saw them regularly when I lived near the Suffolk coast). Otherwise I didn’t see too much in the way of birds, except for a Jay and Buzzards in several places.There were lots of Lesser Celandine out, and lots of Dog’s Mercury too, as well as a few Violets. I saw my first Peacock and Comma butterflies of the year, as well as one or two more Brimstones. And I saw some fungus which I’m pretty sure was “King Alfred’s Cakes”.

Yesterday (Sunday 15th March 2009) I did a short local walk, to Whipsnade Downs and back.

There are a few photos from both these walks on this thread on the Wild About Britain’ web site:

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