The Chess Valley - idyllic Chilterns scenery and a beautiful clear chalk stream

Little Chalfont and The Chess Valley


Little Chalfont near Amersham in Bucks and the beautiful chalk stream valley of the River Chess

Little Chalfont is a very convenient base for visiting some spectacular landscapes which form part of the famous Chiltern Hills, and its railway station is a perfect stop-off point for ramblers and walkers. It belongs to that long ribbon of communities which stretch out of Middlesex under the collective title ‘Metroland’, yet just an enjoyable one-mile walk away are villages and countryside which conform to the traditional image of rural England. The village owes its existence to the arrival of the railway in 1889. As recently as 1920 it consisted of nothing more than  scattered rural dwellings inhabited by some hundred residents. The growth began with the release of land for development soon afterwards, much of it purchased by Metropolitan Railways to build houses in order to increase its passenger traffic. The growing community did not acquire its current name until 1926, having previously been referred to as Chalfont Station Village.

The Chess Valley.
Although it’s just a five minute drive from the M25 motorway, this serene landscape seems like a world away. The Chess Valley Walk is signposted from Chalfont & Latimer station down to the classic valley of green undulating hills with a river running through it. With cows, sheep and horses grazing along the lush green valley floor, it provides a soothing escape from the reality of modern life. Latimer Nestling at the bottom of the valley, the picturesque hamlet of Latimer encircles a village green. St Mary Magdelene church has some fine examples of stained glass windows and from the top of the hill visitors are rewarded with a wonderful view of the valley below. Flaunden Just one-and-a-half miles along the valley bottom road from Latimer lies Flaunden, which is known as ‘the village that moved’. It once stood a couple of miles away on the banks of the River Chess, but moved because the river was prone to flooding. Its church, built by the renowned Victorian architect George Gilbert Scott, has a bell cast in 1578 which was rung to warn of the invading Spanish Armada. Chenies On a hill above the valley the present church was built in the 15th century on the site of an ancient edifice, the only remains of which are the font and a capital dating from the 12th century. The mortuary chapel is described as having ‘the richest single storehouse of funeral monuments in any parish church in England’. The early Tudor Chenies Manor is open to visitors from April to October and boasts beautiful flower and herb gardens which have featured on TV programmes. Its fascinating history includes a ghost, reputed to be that of King Henry VIII no less! 

Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015