Chess Valley Route, Chilterns

This walk explores the picturesque Chess Valley and the pretty village of Chenies with its Tudor manor house, 15th century church and village green. It climbs to Church End, Sarratt, passing through the churchyard of the 12th century church. There are fine views of the valley and the river Chess.

Technical sheet No. 27827415

A Chenies walk posted on 17/10/22 by Chiltern Society. Last update : 09/01/23
Calculated time Calculated time: 3h00[?]
Distance Distance : 9.58 km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 104 m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 111 m
Highest point Highest point : 128 m
Lowest point Lowest point : 67 m
Moderate Difficulty : Moderate
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Chiltern Hills
Location Location : Chenies
Starting point Starting point : N 51.673512° / W 0.547458°
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Description

Start: Lay-by in Stony Lane, Latimer. The nearest postcode is Latimer village (HP5 1TY). Grid ref: TQ 005 982.

(D/A) From the lay-by in Stony Lane, cross the road and take the bridleway East through Walk Wood. After 250m, emerge onto a straight open path towards Chenies, with views over the Chess valley. After 450m, reach the edge of a wood and continue straight ahead through the kissing gate into the wood.

Follow the path through the wood ignoring side turnings. After 75m it bends left and starts to drop downhill slightly. After a further 100m, as it gradually bends right again, cross another path. After a further 150m, you meet a T-junction at a fence.

(1) Turn right and almost immediately pass through wooden barriers. Follow the track uphill, soon leaving the wood and entering a section bordered by high brick walls. At the top is the entrance to Chenies Manor (A). Turn left along Chenies Manor drive, passing the entrance to the Parish Church of St Michael on your left.

At the village green with its bus shelter, phone box, and pump commemorating Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee continue across to the Chenies village sign. To visit one (or both!) of the pubs continue almost straight ahead up Latimer Road. You will come to the Bedford Arms after 150m and the Red Lion after 500m. You will then need to retrace your footsteps to the village green to continue the walk.

(2) Take the path across the road which begins as a tarmac drive immediately to the right of May Cottage, passing through formal gates after 400m and arriving at Mountwood Farm after a further 300m. As you approach a large barn, keep to the right of wooden fencing, following a narrow path passing to the right of the farm which shortly joins a track emerging behind it. Continue straight along this for 200m (ignoring the path to the left) and at the corner of a wood, pass through a kissing gate and follow the edge of the wood round to the right.

(3) On reaching a hedge, turn sharp left behind it along the top of the field for 100m, following the line of wooden posts. At the end of these, turn diagonally right across the middle of the field and walk straight down to the field corner, passing through a gate to meet another path.

Turn left to meet almost immediately another gate by a wooden fingerpost. Continue straight ahead (signposted ‘Sarratt Church’), over an area of low-lying ground beside the river Chess (B), first crossing a small footbridge and then a larger one over the river. You then come to a kissing gate, and a metal fingerpost. Turn right here (marked ‘Chorleywood’) and continue along the unfenced, broad, grassy sward for 350m to a wooden kissing gate beside a pair of cottages.

(3) Immediately after the cottages, turn left and climb steeply uphill following the line of the fence. Pause near the top to admire the views back across the valley behind you. As the path levels out, it bends to the left through a kissing gate, crosses a track, and passes to the right of a hedge to arrive at a further kissing gate in front of the Church of the Holy Cross (C). If you wish to visit the Cock Inn, bear right along the lane in front of the churchyard for 60m.The main route continues through the churchyard to the left of the church.

(4) After exiting through a kissing gate take the left path along the side of the field. After two gates continue ahead down an avenue of old sycamore trees (signed ‘Dawes Lane’), emerging into an open field after 200m. Bear slightly left, and cross the field diagonally aiming for a gate 80m down from the top.

Walk through the gate and continue ahead along the left side of the field to the far corner, where you will pass through a kissing gate and emerge onto Dawes Lane. Turn left past ‘Cakebread Cottage’ and shortly reach a T-junction with Sarratt Bottom. Turn right and follow the lane for 200m to a right-hand bend.

(5) Turn left onto a track signed ‘Latimer’, arriving after 400m at the Watercress Beds and a Chess Valley Walk signboard. Having looked at the signboard, do not continue ahead over the little bridge. Instead take the path on your right by the waymark post. Follow the fenced path, which is partially a boardwalk, for 300m to arrive at a small viewing area and two ‘Frogmore Meadow’ signboards.

Bear right to continue along the fenced path and soon enter a small patch of woodland. You emerge from this through a kissing gate into an open meadow. Cross the meadow, keeping well to the left if the ground is boggy, to another kissing gate hidden in the far corner. Follow the narrow path between wooden fencing until you arrive at a gate giving access to a lane (Chenies Hill). Follow the lane left to arrive at Mill Farm (D) on the right and a Chess Valley signboard on the left.

(6) Turn right beside the farm buildings through two gates. Follow the enclosed path beside the stream for a further 300m to a gate leading to an open meadow. Ignoring the gate and path on the right, continue ahead along the right side of the meadow, looking out for William Liberty’s tomb (E) in the hedge on the right after 200m. After 150m pass through a further gate and proceed directly ahead on the well-marked track on the upper side of the field (F). Ignore the bridleway leading down to river on the left.

(7) Cross the road and follow the route that bears left across the meadow to meet the river again after 150m. Follow the path beside this attractive stretch of river until you reach a gate opening onto a track, where you turn left over the bridge. To your right here you will see the Neptune waterfall and Latimer House (G) at the top of the hill. Continue ahead through a gate and cross the small paddock to arrive at Latimer Road.

(8) Cross the road and follow the path up the left side of the meadow to arrive at a gate leading into West Wood.

(9) Turn half left after the gate to follow a path climbing gently through the wood (do not take the path sharp left following the fence along the bottom of the wood). Ignore side turnings. Reach the top of the wood after 220m and turn right along the bridleway to emerge into playing fields.

(10) Turn immediately left through a kissing gate and follow the path straight across fields to reach a final kissing gate into the Stony Lane lay-by. (D/A)

We hope you have enjoyed your walk. Please remember to rate the walk and add comments. We are interested in how we could improve the instructions or the route and would like to hear about any issues with paths on the walk.

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 126 m - Lay-by in Stony Lane
1 : km 1.05 - alt. 116 m - T-junction - Chenies Manor
2 : km 1.43 - alt. 121 m - Village green
3 : km 2.51 - alt. 105 m - Wood - River Chess
4 : km 4.08 - alt. 117 m - Pair of cottages
5 : km 5.14 - alt. 72 m - Bend - Watercress Beds
6 : km 6.82 - alt. 76 m - Mill Farm - Chess Valley signboard - William Liberty’s Tomb
7 : km 8.01 - alt. 83 m - Road - Neptune waterfall
8 : km 8.64 - alt. 87 m - Latimer Road
9 : km 8.82 - alt. 106 m - West Wood
10 : km 9.1 - alt. 126 m - Playing fields - Alternative Start
D/A : km 9.58 - alt. 127 m - Lay-by in Stony Lane

Useful Information

Start: Lay-by in Stony Lane, Latimer. The nearest postcode is Latimer village – HP5 1TY. Grid ref: TQ 005 982. An alternative start point is Chalfont & Latimer Underground Station

Alternative Start : Alternative start from Chalfont & Latimer station: From the station ticket hall (on the London bound side), turn right down Station Approach to a small green. Do not follow the road round to the left but continue straight ahead along the left-hand side of the A404 Amersham Road for 330m to the entrance to Chessfield Park. Turn left along it and where it bears right continue straight ahead on a path to the right of number (10). Follow this through to the playing fields and then along the left of a hedge to join the main walk at the kissing gate near the corner. Turn right through the gate and follow the path straight across fields to reach the walk start.To return to the station, retrace your steps when reaching the playing fields.

Parking: Lay-by in Stony LaneLocal transport: None at the start. Bus 336/X336 runs between High Wycombe and Watford on Mondays to Saturdays and stops 400m away at the end of Stony Lane on the A404 Amersham Road just east of Little Chalfont. Close by is Chalfont & Latimer Metropolitan Line Station (direct trains to Baker Street).

Terrain: A generally level route with just one short steep hill and no stiles. A few short sections can be boggy after wet weather!

Food & drink: Cock Inn at Church End; Bedford Arms and Red Lion in Chenies 

This walk was created for the book "50 Great Walks in the Chilterns" available from the Chiltern Society, White Hill Centre, White Hill, Chesham, Bucks, HP5 1AG Tel. 01494 771250 or fromAmazon 50GW.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

(A) Chenies Manor and the Parish church of St Michael: An interesting Tudor manor house set in attractive gardens, believed by some to be haunted by Henry VIII who visited many times, as did Elizabeth I. Note the 22 unusual, individually cut brick chimneys, echoed throughout the village. Both house and gardens are open to the public on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons during the summer (www.cheniesmanorhouse.co.uk). The church dates from the late 15th century. It contains many items of interest, including the fine 12th century 'Aylesbury' style font and medieval brasses.

(B) River Chess: The river Chess is a chalk stream that rises in the hills beyond Chesham and flows down to join the river Colne at Rickmansworth. Typical chalk streams like the Chess are shallow, narrow, with gravel beds and clear, warm water. They are fed by groundwater, which is stored in the aquifer – layers of chalk rock which work like a sponge, soaking up water until it emerges at ground level. The Chess once powered watermills and supported the watercress industry.

(C) Church of the Holy cross this picturesque church dates from 1190 and has a rare saddleback roof, 14th century wall paintings, a 15th century stained glass window and fine Jacobean carvings on the pulpit.

(D) Watercress Beds : The chalk-filtered water of the Chilterns is ideal for growing watercress and, in the Victorian era, there used to be many such farms supplying the London hotel trade using the Metropolitan Line. This, however, is the only watercress farm still working on the Chess. It is often possible to buy fresh watercress here.

(E) William Liberty’s Tomb is a brick-built tomb surrounded by metal railings. It has a plaque stating that it is the tomb of William Liberty (a brick maker of Chorleywood) who died in 1777 aged 52.

(F) Latimer is made up of a number of 17th and 18th century houses round a village green. Latimer House (Place) was built in 1863 after the original Elizabethan house was destroyed by fire. Once the seat of the Cavendish family, it became an interrogation centre for senior prisoners of war including Rudolf Hess during WWII. It is now a conference centre and hotel.

(G) Neptune waterfall: This dam (on the site of a medieval mill) was built in the 1750s to form lakes that could be seen from Latimer House. The waterfall is so named because there used to be a statue of Neptune on the top of the weir.

Opinions and comments

Average

Global average : 3.33/5
Number of opinions : 1
Clarity of route description : 3/5
Clarity of route map : 3/5
Walk interest : 4/5


Walker
on Mon 09 Jan 2023 13:59:13 CET

Hi Marigold,

Thanks for your review and we are glad you enjoyed the walk.

We are keen for our walk descriptions to be as good as possible, so if there were any specific places in the walk where you think we should re-look at the instructions, please let us know!

Kind Regards - Chiltern Society


Walker
on Mon 09 Jan 2023 10:59:00 CET

Global average : 3.33 / 5

Date of walk : 09/01/23
Clarity of route description : Average
Clarity of route map : Average
Walk interest : Good

Lovely walk, many options/alternatives which made it a bit tricky to follow at times

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