Chalfont & Latimer to Ley Hill a glorious 10 mile Chiltern walk

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Chalfont & Latimer Station 9 mile walk
How to use the Map

Go to the start of the route and open the web page on your mobile. Click on the full screen icon -- - Next click on the geo location icon -- .

- Now follow the route on your phone.

If you get a Geolocation Error
On an iPhone go to >Settings>Privacy>Location Services select the appropriate web browser and change from Never.

On an Android Swipe down from the top of the screen. Touch and hold Location . If you don't find Location : Tap Edit or Settings . Then drag Location into your Quick Settings. Tap App permission. Under ”Allowed all the time," “Allowed only while in use,” and “Ask every time,” find the apps that can use your phone's location.

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Introduction

Enjoy this 10 mile walk from Chalfont & Latimer to Ley Hill and back through the Chilterns and parts of the Chess River Valley.

The walk begins in Chalfont & Latimer Metropolitan Line car park. From such an unattractive sounding start, the route is extremely attractive, with woods, farmland old tracks and the beautiful Chess valley.

The walk is just under 10 miles and there is one pub en route. The path takes you up and down several healthy climbs and in total there is 322 m (1,056) of ascent.

Down to the River Chess and up to Long Wood

Leave the car park and pass through some pleasant suburban housing until the road runs out and becomes a path. You are now in West Wood which descends steeply down to the River Chess.

The first crossing of the River Chess
The lazy path of the River Chess

The river is only 11 miles long from its source just north of Chesham down to the River Colne in Rickmansworth. The middle section of the river that you cross is the most attractive. The river has along history of human habitation with several Roman villa sites located in the valley.

Follow the Chess Valley Walk along the river to until you turn and climb up the valley side to Flaunden Grove and Baldwins Wood.

Autumn and the mushrooms come out in Baldwins Wood

Follow the map through Flaunden Grove and Long Wood to where the end of the path and then descend rapidly to Flaunden Bottom. From here there is a short walk along the road with a meadow on the right and farmland on the left.

Horses grazing in Flaunden Bottom
Below Long Wood is a long Meadow

Flaunden Bottom to Cowcroft Nature Reserve

The countryside changes as you climb up from Flaunden Bottom with farmland on either side of the path. As we passed the maize crops had not been harvested. Two large fields of maize are not the most attractive sights. But you are quite high at this point and the distant views are much more pleasant.

Maize all around on the walk towards Ley Hill
Maize to the left, maize to the right

The terrain remains reasonably flat and walk around Ashridge Farm and into Ley Hill via Ley Hill golf course.

Walking beside the fairway at Ley Hill Golf Club
Ley Hill Golf Club

By now you have walked 5 miles and up ahead the site of the pub becomes increasingly inviting. When you arrive you realise there are two pubs on virtually one site.

The Crown Leyhill
Not an inspiring pub. No food the day we went and beer very average

Unfortunately the pretty pub on the left was closed and the 30’s building was our only hope and proper refreshment. At The Crown everything was done to make the place Covid safe. There was a one way system, 2 metre apart markers on the floor and plastic shields to protect the staff. However, the kitchen was closed and we were left with a choice of crisps or nuts. The beer wasn’t that great either, so altogether not the ideal village pub of our dreams.

Cowcroft Wood and home

Set off on the second half of the Chalfont & Latimer to Ley Hill walk where the route leaves the pub. Follow a short road that soon turns into a-gravel path. At this point enter Cowcroft Nature Reserve which is owned and managed by the local Wildlife Trust.

Sign at entry to Cowcroft Wood
Enter Cowcroft Wood

The wood is part Tylers Hill ancient woodland and has a large variety of trees, but with a predominance of oak and beech.

On the other side of Cowcroft Wood the path opens out into farmland. The fields were bare when we visited. The way descends into the valley and the rises again.

Rolling hills lead down to the river chess

In the picture above a line of tree indicates how the path rises again after following the edge of the field.

Another descent, the walk arrives at the Chess Valley Walk again. Don’t be deceived the route doesn’t keep to the valley floor. After a mile the path rises quite sharply to follow the edge of Frith Wood. This elevation is roughly maintained and on the left sits Latimer House.

Latimer House has a long and interesting history. The current mock Tudor building dates back to 1838 when the previous Tudor building was destroyed by fire. At one time Charles I had been imprisoned here. During the war the house was owned by MI6. It was here that prisoners were interrogated and information was extracted to help the war effort.

Arrive at Latimer house and the Chalforn & Latimer to Ley Hill walk is almost over
Latimer House

Latimer House continued to be used by the secret services until the 1980s. It was a target for the IRA in 1974. A 20lb bomb was exploded close to one of the main buildings injuring 10 people. Today the house is part of the De Vere Hotel Chain

Pass Latimer House and the path turns down towards the River Chess and crosses the river. Climb back up towards Chalfont and Latimer Station. You might be a bit tired but you will have enjoyed a healthy and interesting walk.

What Next?

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