Pete's Walks - The Chiltern Chain Walk, Walk 9

ROUTE DESCRIPTION - Walk 9, Chalfont St Giles and Old Amersham<

OS Explorer Maps required: 172

Approximate distance: 11.2 miles

Start at village car park in Chalfont St Giles (SU 991936).


From the exit to the car park, opposite the village pond, turn right and walk along the high street. Follow it as it turns slightly right, soon passing Milton’s Cottage on the left, and shortly after take the footpath on the left. When this reaches some playing fields, carry on with the playing fields on your right. Pass a bowls club on the right, then follow the path down and up a small dip. Cross a track or driveway, and continue on the path between hedges and fences. The path eventually curves right, beside a wire fence, and reaches Narcot Lane. Continue on the path on the other side of the road, and take the second path on the right (its not really clear if this is a junction or just a right turn). The path runs between overgrown hedges at the end turn left (westward) on a path parallel to a farm drive (on the right). There is a small wood and then a large pasture on the left. At the end of the large pasture you have the options of left, right or straight on - turn left over a stile between a wire fence and a right-hand hedge. Continue to follow the waymarked path through a number of paddocks, in the last of which the path goes half-left to reach the drive to Grove Farm. Continue in the same direction through a paddock on the other side – in the corner, go over the stile and turn right on a footpath along the edge of the paddock that takes you back to the drive. Turn left along the drive, and at the end turn right along Welders Lane (TAKE GREAT CARE along this lane, as it is extremely narrow with no verges at all). Turn right at the end to reach the village of Jordans by the Quaker Meeting House (SU 975915).

Carefully follow this road all the way through the village (soon passing the Mayflower Barn on the right, not open to the public) – on the very edge of the village (there are meadows beyond the hedge on the right at this point), take a footpath on the left along a cement drive. Where it goes left, go over a stile in the corner and follow the hedge on the right. The path continues between fences and hedges and goes down the short drive from a stables to reach Newbarn Lane. Turn left, and where the road bends left at a junction, take the path on the right (initially along a driveway for a few yards, then between hedges). Continue on this path for some distance, keeping ahead and ignoring any paths going left or right, until it eventually emerges into a field of rough grass. Cross this diagonally to the far corner and enter Hodgemoor Woods.

Turn right on the path just inside the edge of the wood. At subsequent minor path junctions, keep just inside the right edge of the wood, but don’t leave the wood. When the path squeezes between two posts to join a surfaced track, follow it ahead. Keep LEFT at the next junction (DON’T go through the wooden barriers), then right at the next junction to reach Botterells Lane. Continue on the path opposite which crosses a field and joins a farm track which you follow ahead past a farm or house (on the left) – the track gradually descends and turns left to reach a farm at Bottom House Farm Lane. Go right a few yards with farm buildings either side, then take the footpath on the left. Beyond the farm, this goes a few yards to the left then right, on a track close to a line of trees. Towards the top of the hill the path then turns further left off the track to reach a hedge. Go a few yards right and over the stile in the hedge, then follow the path towards Day’s Wood (half-right, facing away from the stile - the path on the ground seems to go closer to the wood than shown on the map). After passing the wood (on your right), the path continues to the left of a hedge, going over a stile by a gate to continue to the right of a hedge. Where this turns left, the path continues ahead through arable fields to reach Rodger’s Wood. The path goes through a corner of the wood and continues downhill on the same line, through two arable fields. Over a stile in the valley bottom, turn left, and follow the track into Old Amersham. Cross the road carefully and turn left, following the High Street until you reach the church, on your right. (SU 958974).

Take the path through the churchyard, passing right of the church and then turning right. Go over the river Misbourne (sometimes dry) and turn right, with a cemetery now on your left. Follow the edge of a field to reach the A416. Go right, then left at the roundabout, and take the footpath on the right just after the car showroom. This follows a hedge on the right, then at a corner it goes through the hedge, continuing between the hedge and the river. It goes under the A413, and continues along field edges with the river nearby on the right. The path comes to a junction, where you go right, over a footbridge, and cross a field to another path junction, where you turn left. You are now on the route of the South Bucks Way (which you will now follow all the way back to Chalfont St Giles). Follow the path along the valley bottom. After about a mile, after going through a paddock, you re-cross Bottom House Farm Lane. Continue through another paddock then a larger meadow. The path then runs through a tree belt, and shortly after reaches a corner of another lane. Go ahead along the lane for a short distance until it turns left, when you continue straight ahead on another path. After half a mile this brings you to the centre of Chalfont St Giles, with the car park a short distance to your left.

The Quaker Meeting House at Jordans is one of the oldest in the country, dating from 1688, but was badly damaged in a disastrous fire in 2005 and is currently being restored. It was an early centre for Quaker activity, and was visited by Charles Fox and William Penn. Indeed, William Penn and members of his family are buried there. Nearby is the Mayflower Barn, believed to have been built from the timbers of the ship that took the Pilgrim Fathers to America. There is also a Youth Hostel at Jordans.

The market town of Amersham is split into two distinct parts, the larger and more modern Amersham on the hill and Old Amersham (which this walk passes through). The High Street in Old Amersham has been described as the finest in England, and it is certainly a very attractive street of mainly Georgian buildings – it has often been seen on TV and in films. At the time of the Norman Conquest, the manor of Amersham was held by Queen Edith, widow of Edward the Confessor, and later it was held by the Earls of Bedford. In 1521 seven Lollard dissenters were burnt at the stake in Amersham - a memorial was raised to them in 1931, with an inscription saying that “They died for the principles of religious liberty, for the right to read and interpret the Holy Scriptures and to worship God according to their consciences as revealed through God’s Holy Word”.