Chipperfield and the Chess Valley, Chilterns

A rewarding, scenic country walk exploring several commons and villages along with an attractive river valley. Good pubs!

Technical sheet No. 29137164

A Chipperfield walk posted on 04/12/22 by Chiltern Society. Last update : 06/12/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 3h05[?]
Distance Distance : 9.35 km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 132 m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 135 m
Highest point Highest point : 140 m
Lowest point Lowest point : 69 m
Moderate Difficulty : Moderate
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Chiltern Hills
Location Location : Chipperfield
Starting point Starting point : N 51.703198° / W 0.490888°
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Start: The church car park, The Common, Chipperfield (WD4 9BS). Grid ref: TL 043 016

(D/A) From the car park with the Church on the right, continue along the edge of the pitch and past the cricket pavilion (A). On entering the wood (B) follow the path round to the right to a waymark post (currently with no arms) adjacent to a seat. Go half right onto a broad track.

Continue through woodland to a T-junction with waymark post (also currently without arms). Turn left noting Hertfordshire Way sign on gate post and continue along the broad track close to the southern edge of the woods to a pond on the left, known as ‘The Apostles’ Pond’.

(2) Beyond the pond turn right and walk along a fenced, enclosed path through paddocks and a kissing gate to reach a lane on a sharp bend. Carry straight on along it, passing The Cart & Horses (C). Walk down the lane to a Y-junction. Note the large and eccentric Commonwood House on the right. Take the left-hand lane and continue downhill through woodland to a T-junction.

(3) Turn left and almost immediately right to cross a stile waymarked ‘Public Footpath Sarratt Green 1⁄2’. Continue along the fenced path under overhead wires, up a few steps with a metal gate and along another fenced path. This bears half right by tennis courts to reach George V Way, adjacent to a cul-de-sac known as The Briars. Continue straight on to the crossroads of Dimmocks Lane and The Green.

(4) Turn right, passing The Cricketers and pond. Cross the road and bear left towards Sarratt Community Post Office Stores (D). Just before the shop, turn left at the waymarked ‘Public footpath Church End 3⁄4‘ and follow the track between houses to a kissing gate. Go straight along the left edge of three fields to pass through the next kissing gate. Continue along a fenced path through woodland to a tarmac lane with an owl sculpture on the gate opposite.

(5) Turn half left through a kissing gate waymarked ‘Chiltern Way’ and follow the fence on the left. Where it turns left continue straight on across the field to the far corner, close to the church at Church End. Enter the churchyard and follow the path around the church (E) to a lychgate.

(6) Turn right, passing the front of the almshouses, and continue straight on through a kissing gate waymarked ‘Public Footpath Chorleywood 1½’. Cross a tarmac drive via kissing gates into a field with views of the Chess Valley ahead. Descend close to the right edge of the field to a T-junction at the valley bottom. Turn right onto a track and after 50m take the narrow path to a kissing gate leading into a field (F). Walk along the grassy path until it drops down left to a wooden gate at the entrance to a wood.

(7) Go through and turn right uphill on a path waymarked ‘Public Footpath Sarratt Church 1⁄4’. Pass through a kissing gate and ascend the right-hand field boundary (G), turning left into an avenue of trees waymarked ’Public Footpath Dawes Lane 1⁄4’. Descend 250m to an awkward stile on the right. Cross it and ascend by the left-hand field boundary to rejoin the outward route by the owl sculpture. Turn left onto a tarmac drive marked ‘Chiltern Way’ and shortly after continue ahead onto a fenced woodland track. Bear left at a Y-junction following the Chiltern Way to reach a lane. Cross it and continue into woodland, straight on past a metal barrier waymarked ‘Public Footpath Rosehall 1’. There are numerous paths in this vicinity so careful navigation is required! Pass a metal seat on the right and follow the winding path to a metal gate with an adjoining kissing gate on the right. Go through the kissing gate and follow the path between a row of high cypress and lime trees, passing through another kissing gate into a field. Continue on the Chiltern Way across two fields to reach Moor Lane.

(8) Leave the Chiltern Way by turning right onto Moor Lane, which leads to the main road on the edge of Sarratt. Turn right onto it and after 100m turn left onto the waymarked ‘Public Footpath Commonwood ½’. Follow the driveway passing ‘Springfield’ and continue along the footpath through a short a section of woodland and a kissing gate into a field. Follow the left edge of several fields, passing under power lines and downhill to Plough Lane. Turn right along it for 100m to a large triangle of grass on the left, then sharp left onto a gravel track waymarked ‘Public Footpath Chipperfield Common 3⁄4’.

(9) After passing buildings on the left, and immediately before the tarmac drive to Dellfield Farm, go through a kissing gate on the left and bear half left gently uphill across a field towards a stile to the left of a solitary oak tree. Continue along the right edge of the next field, passing a water trough and a waymark post, to reach a stile by a metal gate. Carry straight on for 100m past cottages and farm buildings to reach a tarmac access drive. Turn right onto it and, where it turns right, carry straight on through a metal barrier waymarked ‘Public Footpath Chipperfield Common 1⁄4’.

(10) Continue along the enclosed path to reach a metal barrier on the southern edge of the Common. Pass through it, turn left and after a few paces turn right to retrace earlier steps across the Common. Just before the northern edge of the Common, turn right by the Waymark post without arms adjacent to a seat and, after 15m, turn left out of the wood. Pass the cricket pavilion and continue along the edge of the pitch to the start. (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. 137 m - The church car park - Chipperfield, Chilterns
1 : km 1.06 - alt. 129 m - Apostles Pond
2 : km 2.35 - alt. 99 m - Bottom Lane - Commonwood, Chilterns
3 : km 3 - alt. 119 m - Sarratt
4 : km 3.86 - alt. 128 m - Chiltern Way - Sarratt , Chilterns
5 : km 4.34 - alt. 116 m - Lych Gate - Church end, Chilterns
6 : km 5.19 - alt. 71 m - Wooden Gate - The Chess Valley, Chilterns
7 : km 6.91 - alt. 118 m - Moor Lane
8 : km 7.88 - alt. 102 m - Plough Lane
9 : km 8.88 - alt. 134 m - Waypoint 18
D/A : km 9.35 - alt. 137 m - The church car park

Useful Information

Start & finish: The church car park, The Common, Chipperfield WD4 9BS. Grid ref: TL 043 016

Parking: The church car park 

Local transport: Bus 51 runs between Hemel Hempstead and Chipperfield on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Bus 319 runs between North Watford and Chipperfield on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and Bus 352 runs between Watford and Hemel Hempstead Monday to Saturday

Terrain: A moderate walk with one steep climb out of the Chess Valley. There are numerous kissing gates and a few stiles. Can be muddy. Total ascent 150m/500ft

Food & drink: The Two Brewers pub near the car park, and pubs on or close to the route at Commonwood, Sarratt and Church End. Sarratt village shop

This walk was created for the book "50 Great Walks in the Chilterns" available from the Chiltern Society or from Amazon.

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) Chipperfield stands on a chalk plateau 150m above sea level. Its name is understood to derive from Anglo-Saxon, and means a trading field. Adjacent to the grassed area and cricket pitch are various buildings, one of the most interesting being the Manor House on the east side, which was originally constructed in the late Middle Ages. It was occupied for many years by the Blackwell family who were benefactors to the village. In the early 1960’s the house was owned by actor and comedian Peter Sellers. The Two Brewers pub first opened as a small cottage ale house in 1799. During the 19th century it was the training venue for a number of famous prize fighters. Chipperfield also has connections with former US President Jimmy Carter. His family roots can be traced back to John Carter of Jeffery’s Farm, located to the south of the village.

(B) Chipperfield Common: The mixed mature woodland known as Chipperfield Common extends to approximately 117 acres. It was gifted to the local authority in 1936 to be maintained in consultation with the people of Chipperfield. Within the woodland are several interesting features including, just off our route, an area comprising eight elderly Spanish sweet chestnut trees, believed to be up to 400 years old. The Apostles Pond was once a monastic fish pond, surrounded by twelve willow trees.

(C) Commonwood: Shortly after passing The Cart and Horses pub, the walk reaches Commonwood House. It was built between 1913 and 1932, mostly using reclaimed materials, for David Allen, a printer from Belfast. It is a mixture of architectural styles, including mock Tudor and walls topped with crenellations. It is now converted into flats.

(D) Sarratt is situated in an elevated position and is an attractive linear village, comprising cottages and houses built on either side of a long green. The Cricketers and The Boot pubs overlook the Green, close to the former is a pond.

(E) Church end: The parish church, The Church of the Holy Cross, is situated in this small hamlet. Unusually it is located approximately half a mile from the village centre. The church is believed to date from 1190 and is built of brick and flint. It has an unusual tower, featuring a pitched roof covered with tiles. It is believed to stand on the site of a Roman burial ground and a Roman road from Verulamium to Silchester, Opposite is a terrace of almshouses with unusual windows. The wall plaque indicates this building was constructed in 1821.

(F) The Chess Valley has some of the most attractive countryside in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is rich in wildlife, with a long and fascinating history. 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.

(G) Lynchets: The terraced field rising up the valley side is thought to date from the 9th century. The characteristic steps, known as lynchets, were formed by ploughing along the slope over many years.

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