Other Chiltern Railways Stations
While the journeys are more expensive than the tube and trains can be less frequent, the Chiltern Railways main line (which runs through High Wycombe) offers some good options for walks. The best walk options are described here.
Trains are generally one or two per hour (as of January 2021), a mixture of fast (Oxford) trains and slow (Aylesbury) trains. As an example, the fast trains from London Marylebone to Beaconsfield take 25 minutes, the slow ones 41 minutes. The slow trains also call at a number of stations where you can interchange with the tube without having to go into central London:
Wembley Stadium - for Wembley Central (Bakerloo line) or Wembley Park (Metropolitan line)
Sudbury Hill Harrow - for Sudbury Hill (Piccadilly line)
South Ruislip and West Ruislip - for the Central line stations of the same name.
An off-peak return from Marylebone to Beaconsfield currently costs £12.90 (2021 prices).
Nestling between the M40 and M25, Gerrards Cross isn’t the most obvious place for walking. The 15.4km Saturday Walkers Club route from Gerrards Cross down into the Thames Valley at Cookham is well worth the time though. This is particularly because it passes through the beautiful Burnham Beeches nature reserve. I would recommend this either in May, when the leaves are bursting out, or in the autumn for the colours.
Other walks include this 6.3km circular walk passing through Chalfont St Peter. If you want to walk to a tube station there are a number of options. You can go mainly along the canal to Rickmansworth on the Metropolitan line (c.11km). Heading straight across the Colne Valley back towards London would take you to Uxbridge, approximately 10km (Metropolitan or Piccadilly lines). West Ruislip (Central line) and Ickenham (Piccadilly line) are both about 12km (I don't have details for these routes yet).
Beaconsfield and nearby stations
Beaconsfield is a lovely place to walk from. It is a pretty, historic town with plenty of cafes and a Waitrose near the station (not to mention a wonderful model village!). The train service is good, particularly if you catch one of the fast trains from Marylebone. There are beautiful beach woods nearby, which make for excellent walking.
The walks from Beaconsfield fall into two main categories:
Circular walks or those that end up at another station on the same line;
Walks over to the Metropolitan line.
The circular walks are a good option if engineering works mean that the Metropolitan line/Amersham - Aylesbury trains are not available.
This 19km (11.9 miles - about 5 - 6 hours) walk from the Saturday Walking Club has lots of nice features including passing the cottage of John Milton (author of Paradise Lost) and the Quaker village of Jordans (if the historic meeting house is open it is well worth a visit).
There is a similar, but shorter walk available here. This walk is 14.6km, but does not go as far as Milton’s House or Jordans.
Another variation is an 11k walk from Beaconsfield which ends up at the next station down the line - Seer Green & Jordans (see this leaflet from the Chilterns Conservation Board). Be aware that Seer Green station generally only has one train per hour for most of the day. Given this, and the fact that Beaconsfield has much better facilities if you need to wait for a train, it makes much more sense to start the walk at Seer Green and walk round to Beaconsfield. Alternatively there is an option to turn this into a Beaconsfield circular walk.
In addition to these walks, the Beaconsfield Society has a range of short or longer walks that start and finish in the town.
Walks to the tube from Beaconsfield
Amersham, Chalfont & Latimer and Chorleywood Underground stations are all accessible from Beaconsfield. They involve a walk down into the Misbourne Valley and up the other side to join the railway line running along the ridge.
Amesham is the nearest, approximately 9km as the crow flies. This walk, (which gives instructions for walking from Amersham to Beaconsfield) was put together by Jeff Lock. It is 13km long.
Chalfont & Latimer and Chorleywood stations are a similar distance from Beaconsfield - 11.5km for Chalfont, 12km for Chorleywood (as the crow flies). I don’t have detailed descriptions of these walks yet, unfortunately. One option would be to do the first half of the Saturday Walkers Club route as far as Chalfont St Giles. From there you can walk up to either of the stations. Chorleywood is easiest – follow the well signed ‘Chiltern Way’ across the Misbourne and the main A413. Head up out of the valley until you reach Shire Lane which will take you into the town. For Chorleywood, head north up the ‘South Bucks Way’, taking one of the branches to your right across the river and the A413 and up towards Little Chalfont (this is fairly easy to follow in Ordnance Survey Explorer map 172 - ‘Chiltern Hills East’).
Saunderton and High Wycombe
Beyond Beaconsfield, the line heads into the Wye Valley and to High Wycombe. Although the town is well served by trains from London (often three per hour) which can take as little as 23 minutes, there aren’t a lot of walking options – although it could be used as an alternative ending for other walks if you want to end in a big town. There is this 8.9km walk along the river. Alternatively, you could walk the two miles up to Disraeli’s home, Hughenden Manor which has 680 acres of National Trust land to explore.
Saunderton is a better bet for walking, despite being an unstaff halt with only one train per hour. It is only just over half an hour from Marylebone, and offers some great walking opportunities.
Two Saturday Walkers Club walks are available. Saunderton via West Wycombe is a 16km circular walk. It has several interesting features, notably visits to Hughenden Manor, Bradenham (a whole village owned by the National Trust) and West Wycombe caves – also known as the Hellfire Caves. This leaflet from the Chilterns Conservation board gives a number of combinations of walks from Saunderton station to these various sites in case you don’t want to do the full 16km.
Another alternative from Saunderton is to head west up onto Bledlow Ridge. This 17.3km walk goes through beautiful countryside and offers views from the edge of the Chilterns down into the Aylesbury vale and towards Thame and Oxford. A different 18.6km walk (which heads further West), is also available.
Saunderton station is such a good place for walking, that Chiltern Railways have even put a page on their website promoting it. At the time of writing, however, this is probably the least informative walking page ever written. They appear to be trying to point you towards one of the Saturday Walkers Club routes listed above, but it is hard to say!
Princes Risborough (and stations to Aylesbury)
At Princes Risborough, there is a branch from main Chiltern Railways line branches to Aylesbury, with an intermediary station at Monks Risborough and Little Kimble. The main line heads off towards Birmingham.
The journey from Marylebone depends a lot on which train you catch - it can vary from a little over half an hour, to well over an hour. There are usually around three trains an hour to choose from. Princes Risborough lies at the foot of the Chiltern Hills. It is a good place to walk from, with some particularly interesting walks to try and has all the facilities that you would want at the start of the journey – supermarkets and coffee shops, etc.
Little Kimble, even when combined with Great Kimble, only has a population of just over a thousand. Nevertheless, the parish probably deserves a direct rail service to London on the basis of its claim to being the birthplace of parliamentary democracy.
Princes Risborough to Wendover
This 16.9km walk from the Saturday Walkers Club is a particularly good one. Starting in Princes Risborough, it takes you up onto the ridge of the Chilterns and past the Prime Minister’s country residence, Chequers. Ending at Wendover, where you can catch the Chiltern line train back to London, it passes Coombe Hill, with its wonderful views across the Aylesbury Vale.
Princes Risborough to Great Missenden
Another excellent walk from the Saturday Walkers Club - the 15.7km walk to Great Missenden (again for the Chiltern line train back to London) through beautiful Chiltern countryside.
Other walks from Princes Risborough or Little Kimble
A number of circular walks from Princes Risborough are available:
A 15.4km circular which includes part of the Icknield Way and Chiltern Way;
A 12.5km circular walk – although you need add in an additional 1.6km at either end as the walk instructions don’t start/end at the station;
These two 5/6km circular walks can be started and finished at Little Kimble station.