Whether you want a gentle amble or a tough challenge, there’s a walk in the Chilterns AONB to suit you.
With undulating hills and secluded woods, pretty villages and cosy inns, and miles of footpaths and bridleways, the Chiltern Hills is an excellent place to go for a walk. Easy-access trails explore the best nature reserves, while all-day hikes follow ancient pathways, carved by our ancestors as they traded and travelled across the land.
We’ve highlighted a few walks to try below, or use our interactive map to find your perfect hike or amble.
Joining a walking group or event is a great way to get active, lift your mood, be sociable, and enjoy the beautiful countryside – all at the same time! Find out about walking groups near you.
If you have limited mobility or a young family to get around, don’t be put off – there are plenty of ways to enjoy walking through the Chilterns landscape. There are stile-free routes and well-surfaced trails, and many major sites offer accessible facilities and even free loan of all-terrain mobility vehicles: accessible walks.
Whether you’re looking for a physical challenge or interested in exploring the wider landscape, a long-distance trail is the way to go! The Chilterns has an impressive range of long-distance routes, including two National Trails – the Ridgeway and the Thames Path – and the Chiltern Way walking route. These routes can be enjoyed in part during a day trip or completed in full over a longer break.
Ashridge Estate Boundary Trail
This 16-mile route follows the quieter paths of the National Trust’s 2,000-hectare Ashridge Estate near Berkhamsted. The walk starts at the Ashridge Visitor Centre near the Bridgwater Monument and includes some of the outstanding features of the estate, including Ivinghoe Beacon, ancient woodlands and dramatic scenery.
Chess Valley Walk
This 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 gets close to the clear, sparkling waters of the River Chess, one of the Chilterns’ famed chalk streams.Read more
Chiltern Heritage Trail
This 52-mile, circular route passes through all 14 parishes in the Chiltern District, visiting beautiful scenery and exploring historic highlights along the way. It is split into eight easy-to-follow sections, accessible by public transport. A route map can be purchased from the Chiltern Society website.
The Chiltern Way
This circular walking route of 134 miles has three optional extensions, taking the total route to well over 200 miles long! Wandering, varied and mostly rural, it explores some of the loveliest landscapes in all four counties of the Chilterns AONB. It can be broken down into sections, is well-signposted and is suitable for walkers of a variety of abilities.Read more
Ridgeway National Trail
The Ridgeway has been used by travellers for more than 5,000 years. Starting at the World Heritage Site of Avebury, it crosses the chalk ridges of the North Wessex Downs AONB and Chilterns AONB, and finishes with a magnificent view from Ivinghoe Beacon. Travelling through woodlands and quiet valleys, the trail passes Iron Age hillforts, chalk figures and ancient burial mounds along the way.Read more
Thames Path National Trail
The Thames Path follows the longest river in England for 184 miles from its source in the Cotswolds almost to the sea. In the Chilterns AONB, it passes from Wallingford to Marlow, via Goring, Pangbourne and Henley-on-Thames. Desirable riverside towns are combined with wonderfully scenic stretches on mostly gentle walks that everyone can enjoy.Read more
The Chilterns AONB offers masses of opportunities to get out walking whether you’ve got a full day to occupy or just a couple of hours. Take a look at our selection of short walks below that are all a little easier on the feet and on your time. These walks are accessible and family friendly, and are all under four miles long.
Chesham Riverside and Woodland
Downley Common and Hunts Hill
Peppard Woodland Walk
Prestwood and Denner Hill
A 3-mile walk near Great Missenden that starts at Prestwood Local Nature Reserve and climbs the hill to walk above Bryant’s Bottom, with views of the valleys on each side. It then descends Denner Hill and climbs up towards Prestwood, to return through Nanfan Wood to the start point.Walk PDF Read more
West Wycombe Woodland
A 2.5-mile, stile-free, circular walk that starts in the historic village of West Wycombe. The route passes through pretty woodland and offers stunning views across the surrounding countryside. The return is downhill, eventually reaching the Dashwood Mausoleum and infamous Hellfire Caves.Walk PDF Read more
We have created a series of walks across the Chilterns that are ‘social-distance friendly’, avoiding crowded honey-pot locations, busy car parks and narrow footpaths where possible. Between two and six miles long, the walks start in market towns or villages, with good public transport links or parking facilities. Here is one from each county to get you started.
Bedfordshire: Great Offley and Charlton
This 6.2-mile, stile-free, circular walk rambles through the undulating countryside of the northern Chilterns. The walk starts in the village of Great Offley, where it is believed that Offa, King of Mercia, established a palace in the 8th century. Heading south-west along the ridge above Hitchin, the route descends to the small hamlet of Charlton. As you walk, look out for red kites and buzzards soaring above your head, and bee orchids blooming beneath your feet.Walk PDF
Buckinghamshire: Prestwood and Cobblers Hill
This 5-mile, stile-free, circular walk quickly leaves Prestwood and uses some of the less frequented paths to enjoy the beautiful surrounding countryside. The route passes through quiet meadows and woodlands, eventually crossing The Glade – a long, wide avenue leading to Hampden House. The Glade was reputedly cut in a single night to provide a view for Queen Elizabeth I on one of her two documented visits to the house.Walk PDF
Hertfordshire: Pegsdon and Deacon Hills
This 3.5-mile, circular walk crosses the rolling chalk downland of the northern Chilterns. Starting from Pegsdon – a small hamlet dating back to Domesday times – the route climbs steadily into Pegsdon Hills Nature Reserve where summer invites clouds of chalkhill blue, marbled white and grizzled skipper butterflies. Carry on to Deacon Hill with its ancient earthworks, before emerging above Knocking Hoe National Nature Reserve, where rare plants like pasque flower, clustered bellflower and burnt-tip orchid thrive.Walk PDF
Oxfordshire: Hound of the Baskervilles Binfield Heath
This 5.5-mile, stile-free, circular walk explores the undulating Chilterns countryside around the South Oxfordshire village of Binfield Heath. It passes through farmland, woodlands and Crowsley Park Woods. Part of the walk follows the Chiltern Way – a much longer circular route taking in some of the finest scenery in the country. Look out for historic cottages, a former deer park and evidence of past brickmaking. There are also plenty of plants and animals to catch the eye along the way.Walk PDF