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CHALFONT & LATIMER Metropolitan Line (Amersham)

This route of approximately 4 miles will appeal to those who like to get away from it all. A woodland trail in the Chilterns with glorious views across the Chess Valley leads to the intriguing Chenies Manor House and unspoilt estate village.  

Leave the station by the Southern platform and go down the steep steps from the car park marked ‘Private footpath to Bedford Avenue’. Cross another car park and turn left into a residential area, then right at an unmarked road which is actually Chenies Avenue. Follow this, crossing Elizabeth Avenue, until you reach a stretch of gravel. Go ahead here towards West Wood.  At the end of the gravel, slightly to the right,  is a gap in the trees. There are three paths. Take the middle one through the woods. Eventually the path forks and becomes narrow. Bear right. (If you look back down the other track you will see the gate for the route to Latimer Place*.) The path you are on broadens out as you climb up the hill (not too steep).

Once at the top you will be at a hedge and T junction. Go left. (As a check, if you look to the right,  the entrance to a recreation ground should be in view.) Continue in the woods, parallel with a large field, just visible through the hedge on the right.  After a short while the ground falls to your left sharply enough to be a hazardous if the way is slippery. Later you will come to a winding road (Stony Lane) which looks very countrified but is actually quite busy, so please take care. Do not try to cross immediately, but proceed with extreme caution a few yards right to a parking area. Opposite this is a public bridle path.

Go over the road here, again most carefully, to enter Walk Wood. About five minutes later you will emerge from the trees to an open path with glorious views over the Chess valley.  At the end of this go ahead in Placehouse Copse until you catch sight of buildings. Bear left here and continue for a bit on a broad way, with the bank sloping on the left, until you reach a fence. (You will know you are near it when you see a small shed behind the trees on the right.) Turn right up a rough track and through a wooden barrier. Soon you are in a narrow alley formed by the high wall of the churchyard on one side and Chenies Manor on the other. 

Alternatively,  where the open path ends near a bench,  turn right instead of going into the woods. After  passing a house enter a yard where you can pick up a footpath to the right. This longer route skirts the estate and leads to the village green. Left again to get the Manor driveway. 

This remarkable fifteenth-century house, with its 22 ornate chimneys, is open to the public. For (limited) visiting times and history please refer to the website below. To have a better look at the splendid chimneys, go into the cemetery opposite St. Michael's. The church itself was built in the 15th/16th centuries, but heavily restored in Victorian times. It has an impressive set of memorials in the Bedford Chapel, which, sadly, you can only see through a glass screen on the north aisle. A brief history of the church, plus contact number for checking when it is open,  can be found on the Chenies Manor website.

Having pottered round this quiet enclave, take the gravel road to the beginning of the village. Here houses and school cluster round a green, complete with water pump restored for the Queen's Silver Jubilee. Some of the buildings are not as old as they look.  The school,  though looking ancient, is Victorian, with a plaque 'B1846', the 'B' standing for the Earls of Bedford who once lived in Chenies.  Down the drive on the left the pseudo Tudor twisty chimneys of the lodge echo those of the Manor House, but were in fact erected in 1849. However, if you turn to the left of the lodge to Latimer Road, you will discover a delightful example of a medieval cottage. (Please note that it is on a bend and at this point there are no footpaths.) If you follow Latimer Road upwards as it bends to the left, you will find a couple of pubs. The Bedford Arms pub is a few minutes away - The Red Lion not much further.

I've  tried to make the directions as clear as possible as it's easy to lose your bearings on this kind of walk. In particular, on the journey back there are a couple of places where you might go wrong. 

1) The spot in West Wood where you should turn right to leave the high way that runs parallel to the hedge near the recreation ground.  You are looking for quite a broad slope. If you reach the entrance to the sports ground you have gone too far. There is a path here, but the one just before it is what you want**. 

2) Where the track forks for Latimer House, do not take the lower one unless you are doing the circular walk mentioned below.

This route is not suitable for wheelchair users.

*This is one of several public footpaths in the area. It is a lovely wander leading to the River Chess. However, it does pass through fields which sometimes have animals in them. Since I am a  wimp when it come to cows etc, I tend to assume others may also wish to avoid them, so my trail leads up the hill for the view rather than down to the river for a paddle. For the less pathetic the full circular walk can be found here.  A comprehensive list of routes in this beautiful area is on The Chilterns website.

**Of course, you may prefer to use the less complicated upper path next to the recreation ground for the return journey.  It starts immediately next to the gate into the sports fields and goes next to these all the way back to Chenies Road.

Photos ( click on image to enlarge)
View over Chess Valley with Latimer House in distance
Chimneys at Chenies Manor House
View over Chess Valley
East end of Chenies Manor House 

St. Michael's church
Half-timbered cottage 
Close-up of chimneys

Access. Sadly, as the woodland paths are strewn with flints, I would not recommend them for pushchairs etc.
This is just one walk from the many to be found at London Tube Rambles. There are architectural gems, beautiful country views, historic places and quirky buildings even in the most unpromising areas covered by the outer London Underground stations. Usually the discoveries are within a mile of the Tube - often only five minutes walk away. If you reached this as an individual page via a search engine, you might like to click on the link above and see the other destinations explored. You'll be amazed at what's out there!

© DR