Beat the winter blues in the Chilterns

Beat the winter blues in the Chilterns

According to the latest scientific research, the secret to improving your lifestyle is less about denying yourself unhealthy pleasures, and more about introducing healthy habits in manageable doses and practising these regularly.  

The good news is there are loads of amazing activities available in our area to try; experiences that will enable you to learn a new skill, fire up your creativity or enjoy becoming more active. So we’d like to share with you some of what’s on offer. 

To get your creative juices flowing…why not attend a workshop or talk?

Have a look at the vast range of options available at art centres, museums and studios around our region: 

  1. Featuring local and international artists, Queens Park Art Centre has a packed programme of workshops, exhibitions and open days running throughout the day and evenings for all ages and abilities. From painting to pottery, needle felting to woodcarving – there’s something for everyone.  
  2. Missenden School of Creative Arts runs weekend, weekday and summer school courses in art, craft, textiles and general interest. Held at Missenden Abbey, get creative in a beautiful Chilterns setting.  
  3. Amersham Museum offers a variety of workshops and exhibitions often based around local and historical crafts. To view their current programme visit their website.
  4. Wycombe Museum organises talks and workshops based on its collection of exhibits and local historians. Available on Tuesday 17th January? Look out for the evening drawing workshop with exclusive access to the museum’s collections. 
  5. Bucks County Museum offers talks and group workshops alongside permanent and featured exhibitions.  
  6. ‘Where Inspiration Blooms…’ has a wide variety of creative workshops from their studio in Holmer Green. You’ll discover lots of two hour and half day classes in art, pottery and textiles starting from £35. Try something new – lino printing is available in March. 
  7. Art tutor Samantha Watkins has put together an amazing art experience: Sketching and Painting with the Travelling Artist. Join her for a relaxing four-hour drawing and painting experience, on a scenic walk around Goring and the surrounding hills of the beautiful Chilterns. Artist materials are provided so you can reflect and record memories in your traveller’s sketchbook whilst enjoying breath taking views.  
  8. Matt Writtle is an award-winning photographer who has created a series of experiences based around Chesham, aimed at enhancing people’s wellbeing. Experience a unique view of the Chiltern Hills through the power of photography. Taster sessions start at £25 for an hour.  

If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, try this creative writing workshop, Sour Cherry Soup, provided through our Chalk Cherries and Chairs Landscape Partnership project. This is a free evening event at the Wycombe Arts Centre on 18th January, exploring the sights and sounds of the Chilterns, including memories and stories about the past present and future. Everyone is welcome from 14 years upwards and no previous experience is necessary. 

Playwright Sara Clifford will transform the material into a one-woman show to be performed at various venues across the Chilterns next summer. 

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Amersham Museum

To up your exercise level, meet new friends and improve well-being…join a club? 

There are dozens of clubs and organised activities right across the Chilterns catering for all tastes and abilities. Join one to get fit, make friends and share experiences.  

  1. Chiltern Explorers is a walking social group on Meetup. They offer a wide range of guided walks across the Chilterns and further afield. Their walks often start at tube or railway stations, or free car parks. They are relaxed and enjoyable, often ending with a well-deserved pub break! 
  2. The Chiltern Society organises a popular programme of walks and rides throughout the year, designed to improve both physical and mental health. Anyone is welcome to join in their half-day, day or special interest walks. Most walks are around 5 miles long and there are 2 or 3 walks on offer every week. 
  3. Chiltern Young Walkers is a friendly and sociable walking group aimed at people in their 20s and 30s. Make friends, join hikes or socialise at their regular pub outings and events. 
  4. The Ramblers website has lots of information on walking on its website and lists regular events. You can use the search function to find a walk, group or event near you. 
  5. Park runs operate throughout the Chilterns AONB. They provide 5-km (and sometimes 3-km) outdoor courses in lovely settings that will lift your mood as you go. Run at your own pace and with friends and family. Visit the website to find one near you. 
  6. The Ramblers also organises hundreds of free Health Walks each week across the Chilterns AONB. These volunteer-led walks have something for all abilities. They are sociable and fun, and you don’t need any special equipment to join in, just comfortable shoes. 

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To freshen up your routine…try something totally different with an outdoor adventure! 

  1. Feel the wind in your hair and take a friend on an unusual vehicle on a Chilterns Trike tour! 
  2. Treat your kids to a family bushcraft day and learn new skills together.
    • Path Hill Adventures is based at the Hardwick Estate near Madpledurham. 
    • Backwoods offers outdoor cooking, axe throwing and art and nature workshops near Stokenchurch. 
    • Dave Willis Bushcraft offers wilderness living skills and woodland crafts for small groups near Chalfont St Giles.
  3. Take a friend on a half day cycle or e-bike tour with lunch in the Chilterns. 
  4. Book a guided walk or hike with a friend. 
    • Walk Works offers guided walks in the Southern Chilterns & Reading area. 
    • Nature Kicks offers longer challenging hikes and camping adventures with experienced guide Shameer Shah. 
    • Pipsticks Walks offers navigation skills and literary walks. 
See our Bookable Experiences Hub

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Bushcraft with David Willis

To get outdoors on a budget…kick start 2023 by discovering new routes suitable for all abilities

If the cost of living crisis is challenging your purse strings, don’t despair. Take friends and family on a country walk – there are suitable routes for all ages and abilities. End your walk in a cosy pub or during February keep your eyes out for snowdrop teas offered throughout the Chilterns! 

Family-friendly walks 

  • The tiny medieval village of West Wycombe is owned by the National Trust and sits above a network of chalk caves. The village is lined with old coaching inns and independent shops and cafes. There’s a 2.5 mile woodland walk from West Wycombe with beautiful views across adjacent countryside. Kids will love running down West Wycombe hill at the end of the walk and seeking out hot chocolate and cake at one of the wonderful cafes in the village of  West Wycombe 

Accessible/wheelchair friendly walks 

  • The Ashridge Estate is a glorious area of ancient woodland and downland with easy, level walks on paths with good surfaces and no stiles, gates or other obstructions. It is a place to get away from it all and enjoy tranquillity and wildlife. There are bluebells in late April and early May, deer, birds and other wildlife 
  • The Hilltop Trail at Wendover Woods is an easy access trail 500 m / 0.3 miles long. It is mostly level, well-surfaced and suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. It passes open spaces and takes in one of the best views from Wendover Woods. Enjoy a picnic at one of the beauty spots or enjoy refreshments in the café.  

More challenging/longer walks 

  • Take a 6 mile walk from Watlington to Aston Rowant Nature Reserve. Enjoy views of rolling chalk downland, beech woodlands and ancient pathways. The walk follows a stretch of the Ridgeway National Trail. On your return, the historic market town of Watlington is well worth a visit, with a fabulous range of independent shops and cafes. 
  • The Chess Valley Walk is a 10 mile linear walk through the Chilterns following the River Chess from Rickmansworth to Chesham. It passes through the beautiful scenery of the Chess Valley and several attractive villages and at times gets close to the clear sparkling waters of the River Chess, one of the Chilterns’ famed chalk streams. The walk is waymarked. At Chenies village reward yourself with refreshments from either The Bedford Arms hotel or The Red Lion 
  • Be aware that the Ridgeway National Trail is celebrating its 50th Year Anniversary for National Trail status – keep your eye on the News section of our website to find out more about events to be held during 2023. 

Don’t forget to look at the interactive map to discover more walks that are just right for you. 

Related news

Half-term fun in the Chilterns

With half-term just around the corner, check out what the Chilterns AONB has to offer!

Ridgeway turns 50 on Coombe Hill

Over 70 people gathered on Coombe Hill, Buckinghamshire, on Friday, 29 September, to celebrate 50 years  since The Ridgeway National Trail officially opened.

Widening the Welcome

We were delighted to organise an event at Missenden Abbey focussing specifically on how to make visiting the Chilterns more accessible and inclusive.

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Chilterns ANOB

Bookable experiences

We have carefully chosen our most immersive and memorable Chilterns Countryside Experiences to share with you here. Choose from Active Countryside, Chilterns Food & Drink, Countryside Learning and Chilterns Sightseeing. All are bookable online.
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Plan your trip to the Chilterns!

Search the interactive map: select from a list of categories to bring up icons showing the location and information of walks, bike rides, places to visit, tasty local products and plenty more across the Chilterns area
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Chilterns ANOB

Featured walks

A selection of some of the best walks in the Chilterns, from short easy strolls to all day walks, and all through beautiful scenery. The best way to shake off the cobwebs, enjoy tranquil surroundings and burn a few calories!
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Follow the Countryside Code

Help us to protect the Chilterns AONB when you’re out and about by following the Countryside Code and the rules for the site you are visiting. Please respect others around you and those who care for and work in this special landscape.
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