Iam always on the lookout to find new walks in London which I have not explored before. And if its a green space, it would be just what I love. While browsing for walks on various blogs, I read about Chess Valley Walk which is very much London suburbs but gives a totally rural feel. With one of my friends with whom I was planning to do a long walk for a while, we set out to walk this long stretch of Chess Valley Walk
River Chess is a chalk stream in the Chiltern Hills sitting with pride in the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The Chess Valley walk between Rickmansworth and Chesham passes through some of the breathtaking scenery around streams of river.
The walk starts from Rickmansworth and finishes at Chesham. Some people choose to do it other way round and its perfectly fine. Most of the route of the walk is marked with signage so shouldn’t be a problem.
We started at Rickmansworth. So my route was Canary Wharf to Finchley via Jubilee Line. From Finchley to Rickmansworth via Metropolitan Line which goes towards Amersham. You can catch a Metropolitan from almost any zone in London. From Chesham the same route suffices back to Central London.
I will suggest to visit the official website of Chiltern AONB and follow the route. You can also download the map. We followed it and was reasonably fine, some areas the routes were a little diverted. You can find it here
From Rickmansworth station head towards Waitrose Car Park and climb the stairs, cross the small overbridge and you will be in a large open area. This will be the start of the green area of your walk. Follow the signs of Chess Valley Walk. Ensure you head towards the Chess River as you will walk alongside it for most of your walk
So an important point to remember for this walk is that Chess River is not exactly a huge wide river. As you can see in the picture above, this is more like a rivulet. It’s a Chalk stream which is fed from ground water and needs rainwater to replenish itself. In some areas it was a little better than a small pond. Can be really misleading as we were trying to find an actual big river.
Most of the Chess Valley path is marked with this fish sign. So if you spot it you can be assured you are on the right path.
Most of the path here is marked. You will cross Loudwater, Chorleywood. The scenery is stunning. Vast green rolling hills, fields, horses, sheep and a stream beside you. Felt like stopping by and relapsing into a deep calming meditation.
At the point where you get the watercress beds, you have an option to take a bit of diversion to Bedford Arms for Lunch or the Red Lion pub. Both are mentioned in the instructions and map. They are located in the pretty village of Chenies which was straight out of a fairytale book.
The lunch at Bedford Arms was a traditional pub grub. And I made a choice of this amazing pie with mash potatoes and greens. It was so satisfying
A huge word of caution. Bedford Arms is a slight detour from the route. So if you choose to eat here you may have to retrace back to the junction as described in the walk. We missed that instruction and literally for an hour and half were circling around a radius of 1 kms and wasted so much time.
So if you get back on to the Latimer road path and follow the instructions in the walk leaflet, it will be straightforward. There are long stretches in vast meadows.
I will not deny that we missed many signs and directions. Many of the signage as described in the walk directions were not there. We took decisions based on Google Maps and our own sense of direction. We crossed this amazing large estate called Latimer Estate which is now a high end hotel. In the end it all worked out and we completed the walk successfully.
Chesham is a small town and we didn’t get time to explore it. We were tired and headed straight to the train station to head back. A very fulfilling day.
We completed our walk in about 7.5 hours. And that includes getting lost couple of times. The walk is flat but it can be muddy if it’s after one of the wet days. The walk is absolutely beautiful full of meadows, village cottages, sheep farms and country pubs. And we even met a lovely horse who came all out to meet us.
Further from here?
Tough to say after the long walk where more can one walk than head home…lolll…
However if you just do a part of the walk then I will suggest to hang around Chenies and enjoy some rural life. You can also head to Chesham and enjoy one of its local pubs.