Walk 20 - From Chesham, at the Western End of the Metropolitan Line to Chalfont Latimer via Ley Hill



11 km (7 miles)


Fotpaths and country tracks, may be muddy in winter or after rain

Outward Journey

Metropolitan Line to Chesham (About 55 minutes from Central London


By Metropolitan Line from Chalfont & Latimer Station

Points of Interest

Chesham, Chess Valley


Pubs at Ley Hill

Public Toilets

At  Chesham Station

Shortening the Walk

At Point A - return to Cesham on the Chess Valley Walk


What To Expect From This Walk

This is a lovely walk in the Chiltern Hills, well beyond the boundary of  London. Chesham is a traditional Chilterns market town and it is worth taking some time to visit the attractive High Street. The walk offers fine views over the town and its surrounding hills. There are a few ups and downs but nothing too strenuous. At about half-way, you arrive at Ley Hill with two adjacent pubs. You then walk downhill into the Chess Valley, before turning east through lovely countryside to Little Chalfont. Do look out for the red kite, a bird of prey which was driven to extinction in England by the end of the 19th century. Following their successful reintroduction into the Chilterns between 1989 and 1994, as part of a conservation project, there are now estimated to be over 1,000 breeding pairs in the area.

Route Directions

1. Leave Chesham Station and walk ahead on a road called The Backs. At the first junction (Whites Hill) turn right up some steps. Go past an entrance and continue steeply uphill for 50m. Turn right and go through a gate. Enter a field and climb straight ahead to another gate which is clearly visible ahead. Behind you, there are good views across Chesham. In the next field, continue in the same direction to the top of the hill and go through another gate. Turn left and walk to the corner of the field. Go through a gate, turn right and walk along an enclosed path. At the end, turn half-left and strike out diagonally across a field on a clear path. Cross a farm access track and go ahead to follow the left-hand edge of a field.

2. Enter the next field and go straight ahead. (If the field has been recently ploughed, you can turn left and follow its margin.) Reach the other side and turn right but after only 30m turn left again through a gap in the hedgerow and walk downhill to a bridleway. Go straight across and climb the clear path on the other side. When you reach the corner of a field, with more good views all around, turn left with the hedge on your right and walk to the end of the field. Go through a gate and continue in the same direction to reach Tylers Hill Road. Turn right and pass a house called Five Bells and a brick-built church. At the gates of Cowcroft Grange, turn left on a track through woods. Emerge on a lane and continue for about 400m in the same direction until you reach a junction. Turn right into Blackwell Hall Lane, where there were two pubs, The Crown and The Swan.  I understand the Swan has now closed. Continue past the pubs.

3. After 250m turn right on a footpath, which starts as a concrete farm track. Where the track swings right, continue straight ahead to the right of a hedge. When you reach a wood there are several routes. Ignore a path to the right which leads into the wood. Your direction is straight on, on a path which goes through a small section of the wood and then runs down the left-hand perimeter of the wood. When you go past a field entrance with a metal gate, look for a wooden gate just beyond it. Go through the wooden gate and descend diagonally across a large field with many oak trees. Go through a gate at the bottom right corner. Turn right on a track (Green Lane) for 150m and then take the first footpath on your left. Follow this footpath downhill for 600m until you see a road ahead. 

This is Point A, where the shorter walk back to Chesham goes straight on from Point A up to the road. Where the path meets the road, continue ahead on the road to cross the river. After 200m, turn right into Hollow Way Lane and then  follow the signs for the Chess Valley Walk

4. For the full walk, turn left just before you reach the road, on the signed footpath to Blackwell. Go along the bottom edge of a field to a gate. Continue ahead across the next field and arrive at Blackwell Hall. Follow the path to the right and reach a lane. Turn left on the lane for a short distance before continuing ahead on a footpath signed Chess Valley Walk.

5. Walk through several fields, staying close to the edge of the field on your right. At the end of the final field, go through a gate and follow a path along the edge of a wood. Cross over the first stile on your right to enter a large field. Turn left inside the field and climb a hill with the wood on your left. You may notice a parallel footpath on the other side of the fence, but do not worry, you are meant to be in the field. Take time to admire the views behind you. Turn right at the end of the field and continue to walk along the field edge, with the wood still on your left. Turn left at a corner of the wood on a track which leads along the side of the valley, with good views of the River Chess.

6. After passing Latimer House Hotel on your left, you reach a surfaced crossing track between fences. Turn right on this track and descend towards the river. At the bottom, cross a bridge below a weir, go through a gate and walk across a field to reach a road. Go across the road and enter another field. After 20m take the right-hand of two paths and walk to the top corner of the field. Enter a wood and climb diagonally uphill on a clear path. Go straight over a broad crossing track and continue uphill, maintaining the same direction.

7. With the top of the hill in view, take the right-hand path at a fork. When you reach some houses, take the unsurfaced road (Chenies Avenue) which goes left into the village of Little Chalfont. The road soon becomes a fully paved residential street. Follow it downhill, cross a larger road, and continue to descend. When you reach a T-junction, with the station car park visible ahead, turn left into Bedford Avenue. After 250m turn right and go up  the steps in order to reach Chalfont & Latimer Station.

Information On Things You Will See

The Red Kite is medium sized bird of prey in the family  Accipitridae which includes eagles, buzzards and harriers. The Chilterns is one of the best places in the UK to see red kites, thanks to a successful re-introduction project between 1989 and 1994. They were driven to extinction in England by human persecution by the end of the nineteenth century. A small population survived in Wales, but there was little chance of these birds repopulating their original areas.  Between 1989 and 1994, kites from Spain were imported and released into the Chilterns by the RSPB and English Nature. Now,  there are estimated to be over 1,000 breeding pairs in the area. Since 1999, chicks have been taken from the Chilterns to reintroduction other sites in the UK. The red kite reintroduction has proved to be one of the most successful conservation stories of the 20thC.(See http://www.chilternsaonb.org/red-kites for more information.

Chesham is a market town in the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshires. It is situated in the Chess Valley and is surrounded by farmland. The earliest records indicate that it has existed since at least the 10thC.  Henry III granted the town a royal charter to hold a weekly market in 1257. The town is best known for its “four Bs” usually quoted as "boots, beer, brushes and baptists."  A clock Tower constructed in 1992 stands in Market Square on the site of Chesham's 18th-century town hall which was demolished in 1965. The turret is a reconstruction of the one built onto the original town hall in the 19th century and features the original glass-dialled clock face and clock mechanism from the mid 19th century. Transport connections came to the town.  It was not until July 1889 that the Metropolitan Railway connected with Chesham and electrification did not take place until the 1960s.