Nature for health

Being outdoors is vital for our health and well-being, and the Chilterns countryside offers a natural tonic for the soul.

In the Chilterns National Landscape, you can get active outdoors in so many ways and on so many levels: from gentle health walks and mindfulness relaxation, to more challenging climbs and adventurous activities. These activities offer exciting and novel ways to increase your physical fitness or mental well-being. You can also make friends and share experiences by joining an outdoor activity group; there are dozens of groups in the Chilterns catering for all tastes and abilities.

Walk, run or ride together

There are lots of opportunities for walking in the Chilterns, whether following a route off our website, or popping to a well-known beauty spot. But if you’re unsure where to start, or want some company along the way, a walking group or event can be just the thing to get you going, give you company and lift your mood.

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Chiltern Explorers is a walking social group on Meetup. They offer a wide range of guided walks across the Chilterns and further afield. Their walks often start at tube or railway stations, or free car parks. They are relaxed and enjoyable, often ending with a well-deserved pub break!

The Chiltern Society organises a popular programme of walks and rides throughout the year, designed to improve both physical and mental health. Anyone is welcome to join in their half-day, day or special interest walks. Most walks are around 5 miles long and there are 2 or 3 walks on offer every week.

Chiltern Young Walkers is a friendly and sociable walking group aimed at people in their 20s and 30s. Make friends, join hikes or get social at their regular pub outings and events.

Dadima’s CIC is a friendly, not for profit, intergenerational walking community that encourages walkers of all ages and cultural backgrounds to feel welcome in the countryside, and features some inspiring educational speakers. View the programme and FAQs page.

The Ramblers website has lots of information on walking on its website and lists regular events. You can use the search function to find a walk, group or event near you.

Park runs operate throughout the Chilterns. They provide 5-km (and sometimes 3-km) outdoor courses in lovely settings that will lift your mood as you go. Run at your own pace and with friends and family. Visit the website to find one near you.

The Ramblers also organises hundreds of free Health Walks each week across the Chilterns. These volunteer-led walks have something for all abilities. They are sociable and fun, and you don’t need any special equipment to join in, just comfortable shoes.

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Walk your way to wellbeing

If you are seeking tranquillity and serenity to boost your wellbeing, there are a variety of walks offered by groups across the Chilterns to help you do just that.

Bedfordshire wellbeing walks: Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity (BRCC)  co-ordinates a range of Wellbeing Walks throughout Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough. These individual programmes are led by trained volunteer Wellbeing Walk Leaders. Visit the website

Simply Walk, organised by Buckinghamshire Council offers over 60 walks across Buckinghamshire. The trained volunteer walk leaders and backmarkers are there to help you walk at your own pace, with no need to worry about being left behind. All new walkers are welcome whether you are fit and active, haven’t exercised in a long time, or have been advised to join by a doctor. Visit the website

Join one of Get Oxfordshire Active’s friendly community walks in South Oxfordshire: Find a walk near you

Hertfordshire Council offers a variety of health walks across the county.  All walks are free with no booking required. Just turn up at least 10 mins before the start time shown, as they set off promptly and there will be a pre-walk briefing. Most walks are offered Monday to Friday. Some of our longer walks are on the weekends. View the timetable.


Stretch mind and body

If you are looking to stretch your mind and body, rather than just your legs, there are some wonderful centres and activities for art courses, yoga and complementary health in tranquil settings in the Chilterns.

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Have a go at Nordic Walking – stand taller, breathe more freely and put your phones away as you swing your arms, plant your poles and increase your fitness and mindfulness. Breath of Fresh Air offers sessions and courses.

The Coaching Barn between Wallingford and Goring offers a space for creativity and a place to bring people together to learn new skills. It offers arts and crafts courses for both adults and children, as well as regular events and options for hire.

The Missenden School of Creative Arts runs weekend, weekday and Summer School courses in art, craft, textiles and general interest, held at Missenden Abbey. Get creative in beautiful a beautiful Chilterns setting!

Walx offers walking sessions in the Chilterns with a difference. Total Body Walking tests strength, Explorer Walx take in scenery and Wellness Walx provide gentle relaxation and flexibility. Book on a one-off or Open Walx or become a member for benefits and reduced rates.

Where Inspiration Blooms offers art, horticulture, pottery and well-being courses in a stunning barn setting just outside the market town of Chesham. There are family friendly courses and kids’ camps, as well as a workshop for hire for parties and events.

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Relax in nature

Listen to the gentle bubble of a brook, feel the swish of long, wavy grass, and bask in the filtered sun of dappled woodlands. Calm your mind and relax in nature away from the hubbub of daily life. Explore our interactive map and take some time for you and the family.

Explore the waterways of the Chilterns AONB. There are lots of riverside walks, picnic spots and nature-spotting opportunities along the River Thames, the Grand Union Canal and the River Chess.

Take in some wide, open views to blow the cobwebs away. The northern Chilterns is a rolling landscape of chalk grassland slopes with spectacular views. Head to the Pegsdon and Deacon Hills for a 3.5-mile walk taking in ancient earthworks and Knocking Hoe Nature Reserve.

Enjoy a picnic at a beauty spot or a hidden gem. Remember to take your litter home! Wendover Woods is great for families, with an adventure playground and short trails. For quiet reflection, there’s Warburg Nature Reserve, tucked away in a hidden corner of Oxfordshire.

Explore some lesser-known paths. Take a look at our series of Social Distance Friendly Walks across the Chilterns AONB, avoiding crowded ‘honey-pot’ locations and narrow paths where possible. Between 2 and 6 miles long, the walks start in market towns or villages, with good public transport links or parking facilities, and many are stile-free.

Go nature-spotting. Taking time in nature to observe animals, plants and seasonal changes can be very therapeutic. Watchers have to slow down, take care and be mindful of their surroundings – all good things to help us breathe a little deeper and a little slower. Try birdwatching from one of the many hides at College Lake Nature Reserve or enjoy the changing seasons at Ashridge Estate.

There are dozens of other outdoor activities to help get you healthy in body and mind, such as litter picking, trail running, geocaching, orienteering and much more.

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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Featured walks

A selection of some of the best walks in the Chilterns, from short easy strolls to all day walks, and all through beautiful scenery. The best way to shake off the cobwebs, enjoy tranquil surroundings and burn a few calories!