The Chilterns

The Chilterns – An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Over a third of Buckinghamshire is covered by the Chiltern Hills, a nationally-protected area containing some of the finest countryside in the UK. You can discover beautiful ancient woodlands, from carpets of bluebells in the spring to the golden colours of autumn, rare chalk streams, rolling downland and gorgeous panoramic views of the Vale of Aylesbury.

There are miles of public rights of way for all to enjoy, including footpaths, open access routes, bridal ways and National Trails such as the ancient Ridgeway, part of the ‘oldest road in Britain’ that follows the chalk escarpment of the Chiltern Hills. Bring your bike and cycle through the leafy lanes and slumbering picturesque villages that criss-cross the Hills. Sample the Chilterns Cycleway, a 170 mile circular route where you can do as much or as little as you like, with plenty of watering holes along the way.

Discover the many hidden treasures that lie within the Chilterns. The ancient landscape has traces still visible today of many previous settlers and is littered with Bronze Age barrows, archaeological remains, Iron Age forts, medieval churches and deer enclosures, 18th Century sawpits and 20th Century military trenches. Explore the historic houses of Hughenden, Chenies and Cliveden or one of the oldest windmills in England. For a fantabulous day out visit The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden, enjoy a cream tea on a Chinnor steam train or try something daring in the adrenaline forest adventures of Go Ape! at Wendover Woods.

Experience the rich wildlife in the Chilterns by walking through the ever-changing flora and fauna of the many nature reserves such as Bacombe Hill, which is noted for its orchids and butterflies, or spend some time at The Horses Trust. Head to Marlow to enjoy one of the most attractive stretches of the River Thames, where you can spend a few hours in tranquillity on the tow path, or do a spot of rowing. For the more energetic the Thames Path National Trail also passes through Marlow as it follows England’s greatest river from its source in the Cotswolds to London. The Chilterns played an important role in one of the greatest conservation success stories of the 20th Century; the reintroduction of the Red Kites, that were driven to extinction in England at the end of the 19th Century. In the early 1990s Red Kites were imported from Spain and released into the Chilterns and since have slowly been reintroduced into other areas of the UK. Why not have a picnic overlooking a stunning viewpoint and watch these majestic birds soaring over the rolling hills.

Explore the 11 mile network of locks, towpaths and trails of the 200 year old Grand Union Canal and discover boating bliss and historical engineering. Bring your boots, bikes or fishing rods and enjoy these man-made beauties or visit the Tring Reservoirs, designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and home to a wealth of wildlife and water birds. Enjoy walking and outdoor experiences led by tour operator Walkfree Breakfree. Volunteer opportunities are also available, to work on a conservation project with the Wycombe District Woodland Service.

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