Following in the footsteps of the popular guest Blog from the founder of walkbyrail.co.uk John Myerson was in inspired to get in touch to let us know about his own efforts to walk the Chiltern Way, car-free.
I was keen to walk the main Chiltern Way (125 miles) in stages but found the otherwise excellent official guide book (by Nick Moon) assumed you parked your car for each short walk. After a bit of research I found it was possible to use public transport to do the walk in ten fairly similar sections (between 9 and 15 miles each) and enjoy a day out even though I had to travel by train first from South London.
The countryside is quite varied. Some sections are steep as they cross north-south valleys, but then there’s the achievement of a great view from the top especially at Dunstable Downs. Although some of the route is quite remote from shops there are a number of pubs and pleasant churchyards to stop for a picnic lunch on the way. The route assumes a clockwise walk, starting and finishing at Hemel Hempstead.
I started the route back in 2020 but was interrupted by a combination of lockdown and a painful back! I restarted in May 2022 and more or less walked fortnightly to finish the round. I started long distance walking in 2010 after I retired from work in Technology Education. The London Freedom Pass and Senior Railcard help to keep the travel costs down.
You will need to look up the bus times and be warned, some of them are not that frequent!
1 - Hemel Hempstead Station
2 - Chalfont St. Giles (Bus 105)
3 - Marlow Station
4 - Nettlebed (Bus X38)
5 - Stokenchurch (Bus 40)
6 - Loosley Row (Bus 300)
7 - Cow Roast (Bus 500)
8 - Bidwell (Bus Z)
9 - Cockernhoe (Bus 17/17A or 88)
10 - Flamstead (Bus 34 or 46)
11 - Finish back at Hemel Hempstead Station.
John has contributed routes to the “Slow Ways” collection. He is currently walking the Stratford Avon with plans to do the Cotswolds Way soon.
We are always pleased to receive submissions for Blog posts related to car-free walking in the UK. Get in touch if you have an idea that you think might fit.