Access for all
Limited mobility needn’t mean missing out. Across the AONB, there are sites and paths suitable for people with different needs.
Access in the Chilterns ranges from stile-free routes to well-surfaced trails suitable for wheelchair and pushchair users. Major sites often have easy-access trails, visitor centres, cafés and some even offer free loan of all-terrain mobility vehicles. So don’t let the thought of tough landscapes put you off; instead, take a look at our recommendations for easy visits and explorations.
Use our interactive map to help you choose accessible countryside activities
There are lots of fabulous places to visit in the Chilterns that offer very easy access and trails, particularly for wheelchair and pushchair users. Here’s just a small selection.
Not far from Berkhamsted, Ashridge is a gem in the Chilterns’ crown. Comprising 2,000 hectares of wildlife-rich woodlands and chalk downland, it offers walks and rides through outstanding scenery, as well as an accessible visitor centre, shop and café. There are several surfaced paths at Ashridge suitable for wheelchairs. This includes the Meadley’s Meadow track (0.8 miles) and Duncombe Terrace (2.5 miles). Mobility vehicles are available from the visitor centre, although pre-booking is advised.Read more
Black Park is a large area of woodland, heathland and open space in south Buckinghamshire. It hosts family friendly attractions, such as an adventure playground, and has an accessible lakeside café and tarmacked route around the lake. Most of the main paths are hard, stony paths and the park is mainly flat with no stiles, and few gates and cattle grids.Read more
Ancient beech pollards are a splendid feature of Burnham’s extensive area of woodland and commons. There are around 1.5 miles of surfaced, easy-access paths, and 3 miles of roads that are closed to vehicles. These routes are suitable for people with impaired mobility and users of wheelchairs, mobility scooters and pushchairs. There are all-terrain vehicles available that can be pre-booked. Take in the sensory trail that incorporates tactile and acoustic sculptures to touch, listen to and sit on.Read more
College Lake Nature Reserve
Once a chalk quarry, College Lake has been transformed into a thriving wildlife centre by the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust. It is a haven for migrating wildfowl and notable for beautiful orchids and cornfield flowers. There is a visitor centre and trails around the lake, including some wheelchair-accessible trails and bird hides. There is also an all-terrain (‘tramper’) vehicle that can be hired for free – pre-booking required.Read more
Dunstable Downs is the highest point in Bedfordshire. Red kites wheel through the sky, footpaths criss-cross the grassy slopes, and ancient history lies waiting to be uncovered. For easy access, the Chilterns Gateway Centre welcomes you in with a café and shop. The Centre is wheelchair accessible and is the starting point for a wheelchair-accessible route over the Downs.Read more
One of the highest points in the Chilterns, Wendover Woods is a large, wooded site managed by Forestry England. There is a café, children’s adventure playground, fitness trail and lots of other activities on offer. For limited mobility, there are accessible facilities and an easy access trail, suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. Read more
Looking for a little more adventure?
There are many other routes and places that offer access for different abilities and needs. So, if you’re looking for a longer trek, a wildlife experience, or something a little more unusual, try the following.
Walks along former railways
The Nickey Line
A mostly level 7-mile route between Harpenden and Hemel Hempstead, along a well-surfaced, disused railway line.Read more
The Phoenix Trail
A 5-mile, traffic-free path between Thame and Princes Risborough that passes through peaceful countryside. A former railway, it is surfaced and level, making it suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Enjoy lovely views of the Chiltern Hills along the way.Read more
A 5-km, traffic-free, tarmac and fine-gravelled path between Waddesdon Manor and village and Aylesbury Vale Parkway railway station.Read more
Walks taking in wildlife
Watlington Hill is a magnificent area of chalk downland and a good place to see red kites. A 250-metre long, firm path goes from the car park through the woods to the edge of the chalk downland. There is a wheelchair accessible kissing gate at the end of the access path that leads on to the chalk downland. The ground beyond the gate is uneven and steep, however.Read more
Whiteleaf Hill and Brush Hill nature reserves
These two reserves near Princes Risborough offer panoramic views over the surrounding countryside. Beautiful beech woodlands and downland accompany archaeological features. Whiteleaf Hill has a level, firm path suitable for most pushchairs, all-terrain buggies and wheelchairs. The path leads up from the car park to the top of the hill.Read more
Aston Rowant Nature Reserve
With far-reaching views over the Oxfordshire Vale, Aston Rowant is an area of woodland and downland on top of the Chilterns escarpment. Here, red kites wheel overhead, while chalkhill blue and silver-spotted skippers dance among the flowers. There are two easy access routes: a 150-metre path from the main car park to a viewpoint; and a flatter 750-metre path through beech woods.Read more
Warburg Nature Reserve
Miles without stiles
In recent years, hundreds of stiles in the Chilterns AONB have been replaced with gates, making paths much more accessible for many people. We have a series of stile-free routes, most of them around two to four miles in length; we’ve highlighted a few for you here, or download our Miles Without Stiles guide below.
Downley Common and Hunt’s Hill Walk
This is a 2.8-mile scenic and gently undulating stile-free walk that takes the visitor through a variety of habitats. It crosses an historic Chilterns common and passes through pretty woodlands where the Le De Spencers Arms country pub sits tucked away.Read more
Peppard Woodland Walk
This is a scenic 2-mile, stile-free walk that starts on Peppard Common and follows a wide tree-lined track towards Rotherfield Greys. It is a gentle walk and is ideal for families as it starts on the wide open Common where children can run around or picnic.Read more
Chesham Riverside and Woodland Walk
This gentle 2.5-mile walk runs through beech woodlands and along the Chess Valley, offering some lovely views. There are interesting historical sites along the way and a wide range of plants and animals to look out for.Read more
Lilley and Warden Hills loop
This 4.8-mile walk in the northern Chilterns starts from the historic village of Lilley. It passes through farmland and chalk downland to the summit of Warden Hill, which has far-reaching views in all directions. Warden Hill is home to many wildflowers and butterflies.Read more