The best spring walks in Herts, Beds and Bucks plus where to refuel afterwards.
This guest blog comes from Rebecca @Chilternsrecipebook – a new cookbook with recipes from brilliant independent food and drink producers from across the Chilterns.
The Chilterns Recipe Book will be published later this year. In the meantime, please follow Rebecca on Facebook and Instagram for great ideas on where to find hidden Chilterns’ gems, amazing local, seasonal food and drinks and recipes.
These walks are all free to visit and no car parking fees… hopefully leaving you more money to #shoplocal and support the local cafes, pubs and restaurants nearby.
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE – CHOLESBURY FORT
Starting at Cholesbury Church, this walk takes you on a short loop around an Iron Age Hillfort.
It’s great for children who will love running up and down the ditches and ramparts and the beech trees look beautiful in spring.
Follow the path round the fort and it brings you back over some stiles across some paddocks where you turn left through a swing gate and onto a path by to the village hall. Once you reach the road by the hall, turn right and it’s a short walk along the road back to Parrott’s Lane and the church.
Distance: 1 mile loop. This can be extended with a walk across Cholesbury common to the Full Moon. Click here for details of a longer walk to the pub.
Where to eat and drink: Chiltern Velo Café at Hawridge is great for snacks, hot drinks and cakes. Try The Full Moon Pub in Cholesbury offers a super pub lunch with views of the windmill or visit The White Lion in St Leonards for restaurant meal.
Start/ End Address: St Laurence’s Church, Parrott’s Lane, Cholesbury HP23 6ND
Parking: Limited free parking outside St Laurence’s Church and more outside Cholesbury village hall.
HERTFORDSHIRE – THE GOLDEN VALLEY
The Golden Valley is one of the most beautiful parts of the Ashridge.
In springtime, enjoy the wild garlic and bluebells in the woods on each side of the valley.
Carefully designed by 18th Century landscaper Capability Brown, the Golden Valley was dug out to highlight the impressive grounds of Ashridge House.
At first glance, it looks like the valley goes on forever. In reality, it only stretches a short distance but is lovely to walk along.
Distance: This 3.8 mile walk takes in a few of the highlights of Ashridge Estate including the Golden Valley.
For shorter walk, approx. 1 mile, start at Ashridge House carpark (please support the café if you’re parking here). With your back to the house, turn right downhill and take the steep slope to the valley floor. You’ll see The Adelaide Cross opposite you, a monument to the Countess of Brownlow.
Turn right and walk along the path on the valley floor. After 0.25 mile, you’ll see a fence. Before this turn right and head back up hill through a small area of woodland and follow the path back to the car park.
This is perfect for children, with steep hills to run or roll down and dens to build in the woods.
Where to eat and drink: Try the new Bakehouse café at Ashridge House for cakes, snacks and hot drinks. You can also pay to visit Ashridge House’s impressive gardens, check before travel for opening times.
For a truly delicious pub meal, book the nearby Alford Arms which has an amazing menu based on local seasonal produce.
Start/ End Address and parking: Ashridge House, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, HP4 1NS
BEDFORDSHIRE – Totternhoe Knolls
Enjoy the spring wildflowers and butterflies on the beautiful chalk escarpments around Totternhoe Knolls. Explore the ramparts of a C.12th castle and take in the panoramic views across to Ivinghoe Beacon and Whipsnade.
This area has been quarried since medieval times for Totternhoe stone, created by changes in the sea level and undersea mudslides more than 90 million years ago. It’s very strong, durable chalk, used for buildings including Westminster Abbey.
Where to eat and drink: For a hearty cooked breakfast or coffee watching the gliders check out London Gliding Club’s café open 10am-2pm daily.
Start/End Address and parking: Totternhoe, Dunstable LU6 1QG