cholesbury publittle miss church

Introduction

You don't need too much of an excuse to go walking in the magnificent Chiltern Hills. Wildlife is present in abundance, the once rare Red Kite glides overhead and the varied scenery features beech woods, rolling hills and verdant pastures. And there can't be much wrong in adding pleasure and interest to your walk by visiting one of the many churches - sometimes quaint, other times awe inspiring and always worth a closer look - followed by a refreshing lunch at an ancient inn.

The significance of the featured churches might be due to any one of several factors. A church needn't be a mighty structure to warrant more than a glance, some clearly are striking buildings, others offer a more subtle invitation. Even if they do not boast great treasures, most churches are worth a few minutes of your time. Many have been part of the local community for perhaps a millennium, surviving wars and social upheaval. All have a story to tell and embody the tranquillity that is missing from the modern world.

These walks are circular and all feature a good pub including Rupert Brooke's local and the Chilterns' highest inn. The best plan is to take in the church first and then the pub after some light exercise. The instructions are simple but not foolproof. Instead of compass points directions are referred to as 1/2 left, 1/4 right etc. All large gates are described as 5bar, whether they have 4, 6 or any number of bars. Although it is worth noting that some stiles I have climbed may well have subsequently changed to gates through, in particular, the excellent work of the Chiltern Society.

All the walks follow public footpaths and bridleways, and the use of roads has been kept to a minimum. Any lanes that are included will be quiet and, in inclement weather, might be a welcome alternative to a muddy bridleway. As for measurements, they are as approximately accurate as I can make them.

It is recommended that you take an appropriate Ordnance Survey Explorer map. The walks are all contained within 171 Chiltern Hills West, 172 Chiltern Hills East and 181 Chiltern Hills North editions. Although the directions are clear and you shouldn’t get lost, the OS maps quickly clarify any doubts as to which direction you should take. The names of woods and other landmarks are referred to and it can be useful to pin point them on a map to discover exactly where you are.

The majority of the churches are open to the public during daylight hours or on summer weekends. Those that are closed might well have instructions as to where a key may be obtained. The notes to each church and pub are short, they are a taster as to why they may be of interest; deliberately brief as these places should be visited to obtain the most satisfaction. So get your boots on.

Further information and many more walks may be obtained by emailing chiltern.walks@tiscali.co.uk