Great rides

Cycling is as popular as ever! Discover the quiet lanes, long rides and exciting off-road trails of the Chilterns National Landscape.

Cycling has many health benefits – for both mind and body – but it’s also a great way to get close to nature, see the sights and get to places cars just can’t reach. In the Chiltern Hills, there are rides for beginners and ones off the beaten track; long rides that can take days or short ones for adventurers. The choice is astounding so we’ve highlighted a few things to do. Or you can use our interactive map to find your perfect car-free day out.

There are also places to hire bikes and easy access from the railways, so let’s get riding!

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Longer rides: The Chilterns Cycleway

A 170-mile circular cycle route through the Chilterns, taking in stunning scenery. See historic villages and lively market towns, stop at one of the many country pubs or National Trust properties along the route, or simply enjoy the wonderful views.

The Cycleway passes through Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. There are lots of options for splitting the route into shorter sections or complete it all in a leisurely one-week tour.

The circular route is signposted in both directions. The route can be started at any point, but if you are coming from outside the Chilterns, we recommend starting at one of the ‘gateway towns’. These are easy to access by public transport, and offer amenities and plenty of interest:

More than 95% of the route is on-road (mostly following minor roads), with just a few sections following towpaths, surfaced cycle lanes and bridleways. Cyclists with slick road-bikes should be aware that there are a few unsurfaced sections, which can be rutted and muddy and unsuitable for ‘skinny tyres’; cyclists can either push their bikes along these sections or follow an on-road alternative.

The Chiltern Hills are, by definition, hilly! The route is undulating with some steep climbs and descents in places. To complete some parts of the Cycleway, cyclists will need a reasonable level of fitness, as well as experience of cycling on roads with traffic. Although the Cycleway follows minor roads as much as possible, traffic can be heavy at rush-hour.

There is a section of bridleway south of Pirton in Hertfordshire that can get rutted and slippery after rain (it is one of the very few off-road sections). For further information, see our alternative road route leaflet.

Take a look at our interactive map to see where the route goes and to find the locations of bike shops, bike hire and railway stations near the Cycleway. Or download the full route here.

The Chilterns Cycleway is also available as a digital route map from websites and apps, such as Bikemap, Garmin and Ride With GPS.

There is an official guide to the Chilterns Cycleway available, which contains 23 detailed maps, a few suggested short breaks, plus additional route and accommodation information.

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Family and shorter rides

For those who are looking for a shorter option, some with flatter terrain, here is our pick of some more novice and family-friendly options. Head to our interactive map for more.

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Not far from Berkhamsted, the Ashridge Estate is a gem in the Chilterns’ crown. Comprising 2,000 hectares of wildlife-rich woodlands and chalk downland, it offers walks and rides through outstanding scenery. There are several routes suitable for family cycling starting from the Visitor Centre on Monument Drive, where there are toilets, bike parking, a shop and a café.

There are also a number of routes that finish at the Visitor Centre having started in the outlying towns of Tring, Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead and Northchurch, or at the Chiltern Gateway Centre on Dunstable Downs.

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Black Park is a large area of woodland, heathland and open space in south Buckinghamshire. It hosts family friendly attractions, such as an adventure playground, and has an accessible lakeside café and tarmacked route around the lake. There are more than 10 miles of well-signposted, well-surfaced cycling tracks in the park, although there is a no cycling zone along one end of the lake.

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A mostly level 7-mile footpath and cycleway between Harpenden and Hemel Hempstead, which follows a well-surfaced, disused railway line.

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A 5-mile, traffic-free path between Thame and Princes Risborough that passes through peaceful countryside. A former railway, it is surfaced and level, making it suitable for bikes, wheelchairs and pushchairs. Enjoy lovely views of the Chiltern Hills along the way.

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A 5-km, traffic-free, tarmac and fine-gravelled path between Waddesdon Manor and village and Aylesbury Vale Parkway railway station. It is suitable for walkers, cyclists, scooters and wheelchair users.

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Explore our map

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Upcoming events

Find out what's on in the Chilterns - walking or biking, food & drinks, serious trekking or a picnic on the flat - the possibilities are endless.
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Plan your trip to the Chilterns!

Search the interactive map: select from a list of categories to bring up icons showing the location and information of walks, bike rides, places to visit, tasty local products and plenty more across the Chilterns area