Undulating Chilterns walk close to London with lunch in The Lee, a charming village, and the woods of Frith Hill to finish.
Through the Chilterns via Lee Common
Standard walk: 15.5km (9.6 miles), 4 hours 45 minutes. For the whole outing including trains, sights and meals allow 8 hours 30mins
Short walk: 9.5km (5.9 miles), 3 hours.
OS LandRanger Map No. 165. OS Explorer Map No. 181. Chiltern Society Map Nos. 3, 8 and 17 (most of the walk is on 17). Chesham, map reference SP 961016, is in Buckinghamshire,17km south east of Aylesbury.
3 out of 10
This walk makes for an easy day out from London. It starts in Chesham, the hustle and bustle of which is soon left behind for sloping fields, woods and hamlets. The route follows the Chilterns Link, but diverts at Herberts Hole to take a higher southerly path. It then picks up the Chilterns Link again through to Ballinger Bottom and Lee Common, and so to lunch in the charming village called The Lee. From lunch the walk continues on a gently undulating course, before a gentle climb through woods up to Frith Hill and down a steep descent into Great Missenden.
You may reduce the length of the standard walk by 6km to 9.6km (6 miles) by following the standard walk directions given until . Then follow the Shortened route directions and then pick up the standard walk directions at .
Chesham circular walk:11.8km (7.3 miles). (Chesham Circular download above.)
These directions provide a circular walk from Chesham, when used in conjunction with the standard walk directions. (Includes an alternative 16km longer option via The Lee.)
Great Missenden circular walk:16km (10 miles).
These directions provide a circular walk from Great Missenden.
The name Chesham is taken from the river Chess and there is evidence in the river valley of Mesolithic, Neolithic and Roman remains. In the middle ages the town's prosperity was based on the mills along the Chess and the market. The town spread north in the 19th century when factories and saw mills were established and many attractive 18th- and 19th-century houses remain in the town. The 14th-century church of St Mary is made of flint and was extensively restored in the 1860s by G. G. Scott. It contains a wall painting of a bishop in vestments, which may be of the 14th century, some 15th-century glass and two windows with glass by Morris & Co.
The Lee is a pretty village centred on the village green and it has several houses built in the Arts and Crafts style. The old church of St John the Baptist (just west of the new church) contains wall paintings of the 13th to 15th centuries. In the churchyard there is a memorial to the Liberty family in the form of an Art Nouveau-influenced Celtic cross by Archibald Knox (1916-17).
Great Missenden is a small town with many interesting houses in the centre. There is an abbey at the south end of the High Street, which was founded in 1133 by William de Missenden as a house of the Arroasian (later Augustinian) canons and in the 12th and 13th centuries was one of the largest Arroasian houses in England with about 26 canons. It is now a college offering adult education courses. Great Missenden was the home of Robert Louis Stevenson.
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Take the metropolitan underground train nearest to 9.50 am (before or after) from Baker Street underground station to Chesham. Trains back from Great Missenden to Marylebone run about twice an hour. Journey time 54 minutes on the way out, 40 minutes for the return. If travelling by underground to Baker Street it is recommended that you buy a Travelcard Zones 1-9 which will cover your complete days travel with the exception of a single ticket from Great Missenden to Amersham (zone 9) for the return journey.
It is recommended that you leave your car at Chalfont and Latimer station and catch the Metropolitan line one stop to Chesham. The return from Great Missenden is two stops to Chalfont and Latimer station (London bound service).
Standard walk The suggested lunchtime stop is the Cock and Rabbit Inn (tel 01494 837540, www.graziemille.co.uk), The Lee, 8 km from the start of the walk, which serves fine Italian home cooked food from 12 to 2pm daily.
Picnic: If walking with a group some of whom are stopping at the suggested lunchtime stops.
Standard walk Lee Green, which borders onto the Cock and Rabbit Inn. Otherwise once out of Chesham, virtually anywhere along the route would be a good picnic spot.
This end section of this walk is badly affected by current HS2 works. Refer to February 2020 notes under Comments section. 29 February 2010
An earlier version of this walk was published in Time Out Country Walks near London volume 2. We now recommend using this online version as the book is dated.
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
Back (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk