Tuesday 25 June 2019
July is a stunning month in the Chilterns, with nature at its beautiful best. Meadows are crammed with wildflowers and butterflies; leafy woodlands are pierced with sunlight filtering through the foliage; the river Thames glistens, inviting walkers and boating enthusiasts to enjoy its iconic stretches and lively festivals.
Whatever the weather it's possible to plan a great walk and picnic in the Chilterns. Choose a woodland walk on a hot day, one that takes in a pub or farmshop cafe on a showery day or a hike with open views across meadows on a dry, breezy day. You're guaranteed amazing flora and fauna wherever, and you can enjoy all this on a budget. To help you plan, search our website for featured walks and cycle rides http://bit.ly/Julywalks.
If you're a National Trust member, don't forget there are a number of estates in the Chilterns offering country walks as well as organised tours. At Hughenden Manor, four colour coded walks range from a gentle 1 mile to a 4 mile hike and begin from the visitor welcome kiosk. They are a great way to start exploring the estate, and the cafe in the stableyard makes a good start or finish point, if you've forgotten your picnic. The apple orchard has benches for picnics and there are wide open spaces in the pleasure grounds where you can put down a blanket under the shade of the trees. Hughenden is also offering a Meet the Beekeepers Day on 21st July where visitors can find out about hives and the life of a bee: http://bit.ly/beesatHugh.
If you really fancy immersing yourself in nature, extend your stay in one of the Chilterns back-to-nature campsites. Visit http://www.homefarmradnage.co.uk/ for a campsite with amazing views of the surrounding hills, and good walks along the Ridgeway Path and Icknield Way, or how about Chiltern Retreat for proper rural camping near Lane End - if you really want to get into the outdoor spirit, BBQs and fire pits are permitted so visit http://www.chilternretreat.co.uk/caravaning-andcamping-chiltern-hills for more ideas for your trip. Nestled at the foot of Ivinghoe Beacon in the Chiltern Hills, Town Farm offers more facilities for families and even has its own Pick Your Own farm: https://www.townfarmcamping.co.uk/local-area/.
Pick Your Own is also available at Peterlee Manor Farm, near Great Missenden. There is a nursery and farmshop and a yurt-style cafe for refreshments - great if you're seeking shelter from sun or showers! In July there are some special events including family cinema evenings - visit http://www.peterleymanorfarm.co.uk/ for more details.
There are some unique spots in The Chilterns which not only offer amazing natural experiences but also a glimpse into the past. Ewelme Nature Reserve and Water Cress Beds offers tours across the year; visit their website to learn more about this historic farming industry, restored and maintained by the Chilterns Society and offering a wealth of opportunities to see birds, butterflies and other wildlife http://ewelmewatercressbeds.org.
Ford End Watermill in Ivinghoe dates back to 1616, has been restored by volunteers, and is the only remaining working watermill in Buckinghamshire with original machinery. It retains all the atmosphere of a small farm mill of the late 1800's. For opening times in July and more information visit http://www.fordendwatermill.co.uk/
If water is your thing or you need a breezy cooling trip, check out the various boat hire options in the Chilterns this July. Hobbs of Henley offer boat hire, river trips and cruises https://www.hobbsofhenley.com/. There are also boating opportunities available in Wallingford, Benson and Marlow. The 2019 Thames Traditional Boat Festival takes place in July in Henley. This is an exciting, fun day out for the whole family, and a celebration of extraordinary British boatbuilding, evoking the nostalgia of boating from a bygone era. Visit https://www.tradboatfestival.com/ for details. Continuing the watery theme: The Goring and Streatley Regatta and River Festival boasts entertainment both on and off the water for children and adults. Held just upstream of Cleeve Lock, there are around 30 crews signed up to take part in the main racing which offers all day action. There are other water attractions too: a Crafty Raft Race and Baby Dragon Boat and canoe races (entry on the day).Visit https://goringgapbc.org.uk/ for full details.
So whether it's family fun and frolics or peaceful downtime, there's definitely something for everyone in July. Enjoy!