A Walker’s Journal by Anthony Linick
I began my walk on the Chiltern Way in 2005 – and reached the last stage in 2012. I have to say that this London-based route was a delight, an outstanding encounter with the extensive range of hills that border the metropolis to the north. The route itself is sponsored by the Chiltern Society, an organization which also published an earlier version of a circuit of these hills, Jimmy Parson’s A Chilterns Hundred. Having competed this route we were afraid there would be a lot of duplication – but this is not true. Perhaps one section, roughly from Hambleden to Maidensgrove, is a repetition of the Parsons route, but the Chiltern Way turns out to be a much more ambitious project and one which, shortly after its inauguration in 2000, soon had additional southern and northern extensions.
There are a number of reasons to be be grateful to the Society, for it is responsible for useful waymarking throughout, the gradual substitution of gates for stiles (something that we senior walkers really appreciate) and the sponsorship of the official guidebook, The Chiltern Way & Chiltern Way Extensions written by Nick Moon and published by the Book Castle. Moon lists the total mileage, including both extensions, as 172.4. I did find it useful to have the Explorer series of Ordnance Survey maps with me – utilizing sheets 182, 172, 171, and 181.
I do have to warn the walker that an expedition on the Chiltern Way can be expensive. The route visits sites with easy pubic transportation access only rarely and we found ourselves either undertaking off-route detours on foot or summoning taxis as a consequence. (I often spent a good deal of time on the Internet looking for taxi firms near the sites I would be visiting – and checking out the noontime pub scene as well.) We did omit one section that we had walked as part of Parsons’ route but we completed both of the extensions. It took us a total of 20 days, retuning to London at the end of each stage, and in that time we walked 194.5 miles. These being the Chilterns there are a lot of ups and downs – but they never go on for long.
If you are new to the walking enterprise you could also start by having a look at my A Walker’s Alphabet: Adventures on the long-distance footpaths of Great Britain – available from the publisher at AuthorHouse.com or AuthorHouse.co.uk or from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com. – or from any of the other online booksellers. Have a great time and you can always let me know how you got on by leaving a message on the Contact Page.
Our stages, beginning and ending in Hemel Hempstead, were:
Day 1: Hemel Hempstead to Chorleywood – 11 miles
Day 2: Chorleywood West to Penn – 10.5 miles
Day 3: Penn to Marlow – 9 miles
Day 4: Marlow to Hambleden – 9 miles
Having already walked west of Hambleden on Parson’s route we picked up the CW near Upper Maidensgrove and soon undertook the southern extension. Readers can check on how we had earlier covered the intervening territory by looking for accounts of our walk on the Chilterns Hundred, elsewhere on this website. Much of the missing link would therefore be found on Chilterns Hundred sections, including:
New territory for us included:
Day 5: Upper Maidensgrove to Sonning Common – 11.5 miles
Day 6: Sonning Common to Goring – 13 miles
Day 7: Goring to Ewelme – 13.5 miles
Day 8: Ewelme to Stokenchurch – 11.5 miles
Day 9: Stokenchurch to Lacey Green – 9.5 miles
Day 10: Lacey Green to Kingswood – 8 miles
Day 11: Kingswood to Aldbury – 8.5 miles
Day 12: Aldbury to Dunstable – 9.5 miles
Day 13: Dunstable to Upper Sundon – 8.5 miles
Day 14: Upper Sundon to Lilley – 11 miles
Day 15: Lilley to Peter’s Green – 7.5 miles
For the next three days we were occupied with the route’s northern extension.
Day 16: Sharpenhoe to Pegsdon – 8 miles
Day 17: Pegsdon to Preston – 11 miles
Day 18: Preston to Peter’s Green – 9 miles
Day 19: Peter’s Green to Flamstead – 7 miles
Day 20: Flamstead to Hemel Hempstead – 8 miles