Chesham Riverside and Woodland Walk: full route

Chesham Riverside and Woodland Walk: full route

The Chilterns are well known for their beech woodlands. This gentle stile-free walk goes through some of the best of them enabling you to appreciate their beauty and take in some lovely views over the Chess Valley. Along the route there are interesting historical sites and a wide range of flora and fauna.


By Andrew Clark, Chiltern Society and Chesham Walkers are Welcome

Details of route

  • Starting point icon
    Starting point Chesham Moor car Park, Moor Rd, Chesham HP5 1SE
  • Duration icon
  • Distance Icon
    Distance 2.5 miles
  • OS Ref Icon
    OS Ref SP 963 008
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The steps you need to take


Leave the car park towards the swimming pool.

Waypoint 1

Walk past the swimming pool and tennis courts, turn right along Bois Moor Road and, at the bend, stay ahead up Hodds Wood Road.

Waypoint 2

Go under the railway bridge, continue uphill and go through a gate on the left. Follow the path up through the field to the next gate at the top left-hand corner.

Waypoint 3

Continue straight ahead up through the wood and follow the path for over ½ mile to drop down to a lane.

Waypoint 4

Turn left downhill, bear right between concrete posts and follow the lovely woodland path all the way down and under the railway bridge to a road. Cross, walk along the pavement, turn right into Cresswell Road and proceed as far as the post box on the right.

Waypoint 5

Cross the road to the footpath directly opposite and follow the path between the lakes to a waterfall and the remains of Canon’s Mill.

Waypoint 6

Take the path to the left of the waterfall, cross a wooden bridge, follow the river and go over a concrete bridge to a road (Bois Moor Road). Cross it past the tennis courts to return to the car park and the end of the walk.

Points of interest

Waypoint 1 – Chesham Moor swimming pool was erected in 1912. Upgrades were carried out in 1933 and 1964. It is spring fed.

Waypoint 2 – The Metropolitan Railway came to Chesham on May 15th 1889. It was originally planned to extend the route to Tring. In the 1920s and ’30s it was used to carry freight from Chesham including wooden goods and watercress.

Waypoint 3 – The gate into the woods is the place where Thomas Harding, Chesham’s martyr, was arrested in 1532. He was a nonconformist, the last of the local Lollards and was burnt at the stake. Hodds Wood and Great Bois Wood are ancient deciduous woodlands owned by the Woodland Trust. In the past, strip woodland, roundalls or clumps known as beech hangers were either purposely planted or incorporated into the landscape and remain today on the hillsides in many parts of the Chiltern Hills.

Waypoint 6 – The lakes are old worked out gravel pits. Canon’s Mill got its name because it was owned by the canons of Missenden Abbey. Last worked in 1937 and demolished around 1960. The River Chess is a chalk stream. These are rare habitats only found in southern England, northern France and New Zealand. The Chess has some of the purest water of any such streams as it emanates from the many groundwater springs along the chalk outcrop in the slopes of the ‘dry valleys’ that run down into Chesham. The Chess is also unusual in that it takes its name from the town.


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