An oasis of calm where outdoor enthusiasts can recharge the batteries with a run, walk or ride
Just over an hour from London, the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is an incredible oasis of calm. Outdoor enthusiasts can recharge the batteries with a run, walk or ride through rolling countryside beside gin clear chalk streams where brown trout glide on the current and red kites soar overhead.
This quintessentially English landscape is where the British Prime Minister's country residence is hidden away. The pretty little villages, fertile pastures and wooded common land of the Chilterns is where Roald Dahl dreamed up enchanting tales of Fantastic Mr Fox and Danny Champion of the World, while the gently meandering rivers inspired Kenneth Grahame to write the Wind in the Willows.
Bounded by the commuter towns of Reading, Aylesbury and Luton, the Chilterns come alive at the weekend. Walkers and cyclists can arrive by train on the charming Chiltern Line. Dozens of organised events take place throughout the year due to the ideal location.
The 324 square miles of the AONB is criss-crossed with 1,200 miles of footpaths, bridleways and cycleways. The ancient Ridgeway long distance footpath follows the chalk escarpment that forms the backbone of the Chilterns as it journeys south towards Wessex.
The Thames Path also crosses the region and the 170-mile circular Chilterns Cycleway is another popular local challenge that incorporates some surprisingly demanding climbs.