Chilterns people past and present have given us plenty to be proud of; from opulent mansions of the rich and famous, beautiful villages and hamlets, to the new Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour, local culture, quirks and industry of generations are presented in entertaining and memorable ways. One of the best ways to explore the rich heritage is the slow way, on foot or by bike! You get to see those tucked away churches, pubs, ancient villages and drovers routes often missed by car. The Chiltern Heritage Trail is a 50 mile circular route in the central Chilterns taking in some of the best scenery and heritage sites. There are many historic walking routes including the iconic Ridgeway National Trail. For further walking ideas see here. Or join us for the Chilterns Walking Festival which takes place every spring and autumn, with a programme of 70+ guided walks, taking you off the beaten track.
Ale Trails to Sculpture trails...on foot & bike
Day Rides From Gateway Towns Set off from a market town with these day rides which range from flat, traffic-free routes for complete beginners to off-road challenges for experienced riders. All routes are graded for ease or difficulty. Some are signposted. Route maps and other information can be downloaded in advance.
The Chilterns Cycleway is a 173-mile circular cycle route which takes in the finest Chiltern landscapes in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. The route is mainly on-road and is signposted throughout, with highlights including suberb views, market towns and villages, country pubs and National Trust properties. It lends itself to a leisurely one-week tour or to a choice of three, two-day breaks on the Northern, Central and Southern Loops.
Henley-based brewer and pub operator Brakspear has launched another Country Ale Trail to encourage walkers and cyclists to explore its rural estate which includes some really lovely, off the beaten track pubs. The new route joins the Henley Ale Trail in the town centre and the first Country Ale Trail, introduced last year, bringing the number of Brakspear pubs now included on a trail to an impressive 30.
Popular with the locals, is a disused railway line, that runs between the market towns of Thame and Princes Risborough, passing through the villages of Towersey and Bledlow. The Phoenix Trail is the perfect place to enjoy the Chilterns countryside, including views of the Whiteleaf Cross carved into the hillside above Princes Risborough and a very active Red Kite population, swooping and diving as they hunt for prey. This route is probably best-known as being family friendly, without worrying about four-wheeled traffic, young cyclists can get to grips with the sport and parents can relax! There is a wonderful collection of 30 original sculptures built by Angus Ross and six furniture students from Thame's Rycotewood College, which draw on the trail's railway heritage and the landscape towards the Chiltern Hills, but are subtle and sometimes easy to miss, as they are not all at head-height. Artworks include Winged Shelter by Angus Ross, Three Characters on Poles by Lucy Casson, and Reflective Space by Leigh Robert. There’s lots of parking at either end of the trail which is five miles in either direction. This trail is part of the National Route 57 and an information leaflet can be downloaded here