Terrain and suitability of route
The Chilterns Cycleway is a 170 mile circular route passing right around the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Over 95% of the route is on-road (mostly following minor roads), with just a few sections following towpaths, surfaced cycle lanes and bridleways.
Cyclists with slick road-bikes should be aware of the few unsurfaced sections which can be rutted and muddy and unsuitable for 'skinny tyres'; cyclists can either push their bikes along these sections or follow an on-road alternative. Click here for information.
The Chilterns Hills are by definition hilly!! The route is undulating with some steep climbs and descents in places. This, combined with the fact that there are a few busy sections of road along the route, makes it unsuitable for novices. Cyclists will need a reasonable level of fitness and experience of cycling on roads with traffic. There are rides suitable for novice and family cyclists in the Day Rides section.
Although the Cycleway follows minor roads as much as possible, traffic can be heavy at rush-hour. We strongly advise you avoid cycling at rush-hour (7.00-9.30am and 4.00-6.30pm).
The Chilterns Cycleway guide book provides detailed route information for each section of the Cycleway, alerting cyclists to safety issues such as busy road junctions, sections which are especially prone to rush-hour traffic or very steep gradients.
****Latest Route Information*****There is a section of bridleway south of Pirton in Hertfordshire which is very rutted and in poor condition (it is one of the very few off-road sections). For further information and suggestion for an alternative road route, click here. If you would like to discuss the route or check current conditions please call tel 01844 355500.
The Chilterns Cycleway is circular and can be cycled in either direction (it is signposted both ways). The route can be started at any point, but if you are coming from outside the Chilterns we would recommend starting the route at one of the gateway towns which offer an excellent range of facilities for cyclists (railway station, parking, bike shop, accommodation, pubs and shops). The gateway towns are Henley-on-Thames, Wallingford, Princes Risborough, Wendover, Tring, Amersham, Harpenden and Berkhamsted.
The Chilterns Cycleway is signed throughout, look out for the following:
Getting to the Chilterns
The area is fortunate to have excellent rail links, with regular rail services to London, Birmingham and nearby urban areas. In general bikes can be carried on trains outside rush hour (from 10am to 4pm) and anytime at weekends and Public Holidays.
For train times and details of cycle carriage call National Rail enquiries tel 08457 484950 or visit www.nationalrail.co.uk
Downloadable Maps and Guide Book
The Chilterns Cycleway route map has been split into 23 sections (in pdf format, below) which can be printed onto A4 paper.
Henley-on-Thames to Sonning Common (7.9 miles)
Sonning Common to Ipsden (8.0 miles)
Ipsden to Cookley Green (7.5 miles)
Cookley Green to Stokenchurch (6.8 miles)
Stokenchurch to Loosley Row (7.8 miles)
Loosley Row to Wendover (10.7 miles)
Wendover to Aldbury (8.6 miles)
Aldbury to Studham (10.1 miles)
Studham to Kinsbourne Green (6.6 miles)
Kinsbourne Green to Breachwood Green (5.5 miles)
Breachwood Green to Lilley (5 miles)
Lilley to Apsley End (14 miles)
Apsley End to Great Offley (5. miles)
Great Offley to Whitwell (5 miles)
Whitwell to Harpenden (9 miles)
Harpenden to Great Gaddesden (8.3 miles)
Great Gaddesden to Berkhamsted (9 miles)
Berkhamsted to Botley (Ley Hill) (4.2 miles)
Botley (Ley Hill) to Amersham (5.8 miles)
Amersham to Great Kingshill (7.2 miles)
Great Kingshill to West Wycombe (8.8 miles)
West Wycombe to Frieth (4.8 miles)
Frieth to Henley-on-Thames (7.5 miles)
Buy the Guide Book
A Guide book is a must for anyone planning to cycle the Chilterns Cycleway. In addition to detailed maps of the route section by section, you will find route overviews, information on what to see along the way, pubs, attractions, tea rooms and other essential visitor information. It is available price £8.99. To order a copy call the Chilterns Conservation Board on 01844 355500 or proceed to order form.
The Chilterns Cycleway is available as a Digital mapping file which can be transferred to a GPS.
Simply select the type of GPS you have (e.g. Garmin) and type of connection (e.g. USB) and the program will transfer data to and from the device. Although some programs will allow you to do a straight import/export to your GPS we recommend that you import them first into a digital mapping application, so you can review the route on a detailed map. If you have any problems downloading this, please contact us and we can email you the file, tel 01844 355500 or email@example.com
Should you have difficulties in downloading the route above, some browsers might not save the file by default but open it up in a browser window. If this is the case, right click the link and choose 'Save link as...' or 'Save target as...' and then save the file.
Good Cycling Code
- OBEY THE RULES OF THE ROAD
Follow the Highway Code
- BE COURTEOUS
Give way to pedestrians
Remember some people are hard of hearing or visually impaired. Don't assume they can see or hear you
When you meet horse riders or wheelchair users please give way
Ring your bell or call out to warn of your approach. Acknowledge people who give way
- CARE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Can you cycle the whole of your journey or reach the start by public transport?
Follow the countryside code
Respect the life and work of the countryside
Cycle on roads, byways, bridleways and cycle paths, not footpaths
- LOOK AFTER YOURSELF
Take care at junctions, when cycling downhill and on loose surfaces
Carry food, repair kit, map, spare clothing and waterproofs
Tell someone where you're going and when you?ll be back
Keep your bike well maintained and use lights in poor visibility
Consider wearing a helmet and bright clothing
Accommodation and Services
There is a good range and provision of accommodation and pubs along the route. The interactive map on our web site allows you to search for accommodation and services along the Chilterns Cycleway.
A number of B&Bs have achieved the Tourist Board Cyclists are Welcome accreditation, those are flagged up in the accommodation section.
There are a few venues which have the capacity to accommodate groups of cyclists in splendid locations with lots of character. These are ideal locations for group holidays:
Parmoor House can accommodate up to 36 (B&B). Camping also available.
Braziers Park can accommodate up to 27 (B&B). Camping also available.
Tourism Information offices are located at a number of towns on or close to the Cycleway (see below). Other useful visitor information can be found on our Links page.
Henley on Thames
Mountain High, Pangbourne, Tel 0118 984 1851 www.mountainhigh.co.uk (6 miles from the Cycleway)
Cyclefleet, Great Missenden, Tel:01494 868607 www.cyclefleet.com
Cyclefleet has a large range of bikes. They can meet customers at Great Missenden Station or at other locations in the Central Chilterns by prior arrangement.
see the location of Cyclefleet on the interactive map
Contact the Chilterns Conservation Board for further information about the Chilterns Cycleway tel 01844 355500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Chilterns Cycleway is a joint project led by the Chilterns Conservation Board in partnership with The Chiltern Society, CTC National Cyclists' Organisation and the following organisations: Buckinghamshire County Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, Hertfordshire County Council, Oxfordshire County Council, Bucks Economic and Learning Partnership, Natural England.
This project was made possible thanks to a £48,000 grant from the RDPE Leader programme. The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) is funded by Defra and the EU. The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD): Europe investing in rural areas.
Buy the guide book
The Chilterns Cycleway guide book is a must for anyone planning to cycle the route. It contains 23 pages of 1:50,000 ordnance survey mapping for the 173 mile route.
order your copy today