The Chess Valley Circular walk takes in the pretty villages of Chenies and Latimer. A 5 ½ mile ramble on both sides of the Chess valley through ancient woodlands with lovely views of the Chiltern landscape. Also view the home of a MI5 & 6 interrogation centre and an historic Tudor Mansion House.
I completed this walk back in February but the section along the Chess were too muddy for me to recommend. Now that the ground has dried out this is a tour I thoroughly recommend.
Stony Lane to Chenies
The route began at Stony Lane, Latimer, which is a small turning off the A404 (the Amersham road between Rickmansworth and Little Chalfont). If you are driving from Ricky turn right into Stony Lane just before arriving at Little Chalfont. You’ll find a small car park a little way down the road.
Cross the road and enter West Wood which will now be fully green with all the trees in leaf.
The route continues along the southern slope of the Chess Valley with good views over the Chiltern Hills around.
You then re-enter another wood, Chenies, which in February was very barren.
Chenies Manor House, Church and Village
The Anglican Church of St Michael stands in the grounds of Chenies Manor. The current building dates from the 15th & 16th centuries.
The church contains the Bedford Chapel, the mausoleum of the Russell family, i.e. the Dukes of Bedford.
Beside the church stands Chenies Manor. A Tudor Manor house and Grade I listed building.
From April to October the owners allow visitors to the gardens and house on Wednesday & Thursday from 2pm to 5pm. Built in 1460 with additional work in 1526 the house entertained both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.
The house and garden can also be hired for weddings and has been featured in several TV programmes.
The lodge sits at the end of the drive of the manor and once housed the servants of the rectory.
The blue plaque commemorates the fact that the future Duke of Bedford lived here between 1947-48.
Cross the road and follow the road through the village past the Bedford Arms. The hotel and restaurant built in 1842 and converted to a eating house in the 1930s. Further along the road stands the Red Lion. Continue to s set of cottages where you turn left. See the map for the exact spot where you turn and the countryside opens up.
Descend to the River Chess
The route descends first through Wyburn Woods and then through Turveylane Woods to the valley bottom.
Cross the Chess and enter Hertfordshire as you pass along Moor and Dawes Lane at Sarrat Bottom.
At the T-junction turn left along the path with the river still on your left. You may see Llamas in the field on your way. Continue and cross Holloway Lane. You will then encounter a sign for Frogmore Meadow.
The Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust cares for this traditionally managed lowland meadow to ensure that wildlife is cared for sustainably.
The path opens up and you pass a memorial to William Liberty, the founder of Liberty’s of Regent Street.
You may want to take a very short diversion to read the sign to St Mary Magdalaine’s Church.
The plaque commemorates the original church abandoned by parishioners because of repeated flooding from the rising levels of the Chess.
Return to the path and continue until you arrive at Flaunden Bottom. Turn right on this road and after a few paces enter the pretty hamlet of Latimer.
In the centre of the small village green lies a well. The green is surrounded by a whole group of very attractive houses of various ages. There is a seat on the green and it’s an ideal place to enjoy a break from the Chess Valley Circular walk.
Exit the green in the opposite direction from which you entered and proceed across the open area.
At the road turn left and pass on your right Latimer Place.
Today Latimer Place houses a very upmarket hotel, but during the war this was home to MI5 & MI6 operations where prisoners of war were interrogated and bugged.
The final stage of the journey
Descend again to the Chess Valley with a beautiful view.
Cross over the river by the weir.
Shortly after crossing the river you’ll find the Latimer Road. Go straight ahead and take the left hand fork rising up to West Wood. Very close to the top of the rise turn left again and walk along the valley top in the woods.
The trees will now be fully in leaf. Continue and you will arrive at your car.
If you enjoyed the Chess Valley Circular Walk then you can find many more great walks at Find a walk Britain.
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