In the chilterns

Country walks near London

The countryside on London's doorstep - a thematic guide to Britain

 How to get out of London for a day's walking in the country - in less than an hour by train.

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Box Hill

Staying or living in London, and wanting a day out or a weekend in the country, but don't know where to go? If so, you've reached the right spot.
English bluebell wood
Bluebell woods in the Chiltern hills in spring
    On this page of, we've brought together a choice of real country walks that are easily accessible from London, in less than one hour by train from a London terminus.  And these are not just walks in the park; these are real rural rambles, some of them quite strenuous,  in the deepest English countryside, that will make you forget that the city is less than an hour away. Walks on this page are all suitable for a day out in the country from London, and range in length from 4½ miles (7 km) to 10 miles (16 km). There is also information on the Thames Footpath, which offers a range of options for one-day or two-day hikes easily accessible from the centre of London.
    For each walk you will find a description of the options available, and information on what train to take, from which London terminus. Each of these walks is directly accessible on foot from the station, with minimal or no walking through suburban streets, before you are really in the country and onto a marked hiking trail. The PDF maps and brief guides can be downloaded and printed, usually on a single page.

Proper hiking shoes or boots are recommended for all these walks, except for the shortest ones, in dry weather.

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Walk Location, length Brief description and rail access information
Ashridge and Ivinghoe

Hertfordshire, Chiltern hills,
near Berkham-

9 miles.
3 - 4 hours.

Plenty of shorter or longer options
 The Ashridge and Ivinghoe beacon walk is a 9 mile circular walk, taking in several fine viewpoints, notably Ivinghoe Beacon. It includes three miles of the Ridgeway trail, and a mile or so on the Icknield Way trail, and is for much of the way on the National Trust land of Ashridge Estate. There is an NT shop and food outlet . Beautiful bluebell woods in the spring. The 9 mile walk on the printable map can be easily lengthened or shortened, as there are many tracks and trails through Ashridge estate.
Walk description and map here  (pdf format)
Rail access : Tring station - 36 minutes from London Euston.  Ridgeway footpath starts 300 m from the station
Saunderton to Chinnor Buckinghamshire, Chiltern Hills.

8 to 10 miles

3 - 4 hours
The Saunderton circular walk is a 10 mile circular trail starting and finishing at Saunderton railway station, just after High Wycombe. The trail goes as far as the Chinnor Hill nature reserve, on the western scarp of the Chilterns. Saunderton station is in the middle of the countryside. There are lots of hiking trails in this part of the country, so the walk can be extended  or shortened according to circumstances.
Walk description and map here  (pdf format)
Rail access : Saunderton station - 40 to 55 minutes from London Marylebone station.
Chorleywood and Chess valley Hertfordshire

5.7 to 6.6 miles, or more

2 - 3 hours
The Chess valley is a beautiful valley in the Chiltern hills, running northwards from Rickmansworth. It has a number of hiking trails, and these can be accessed easily, through countryside and parkland, from the station at Chorleywood. The circuit proposed takes in a part of the Chiltern Way trail, and is all rural, apart from the last mile which takes walkers along residential roads in the very leafy town of Chorleywood.
Walk description and map here  (pdf format)
Rail access : Chorleywood station - 27 minutes from London Marylebone station.
Box Hill, North Downs Surrey.

From 4.5 miles up

2 hours upwards
The most popular parts of the North Downs are the area round Box Hill in Surrey, near Dorking. This is the nearest area of hill country to London. Britain's biggest vineyard is near Dorking, and the chalk soil produces wines similar to those from Champagne in France.  There are a number of walks or cycle rides possible here, starting with the fairly easy Norbury Park walk (4.5 miles).
Walk description and map here  (pdf format).
Bike hire facility beside this rural station
Rail access : Boxhill & West Humble station Trains from London Victoria  (56 mins) or London Waterloo (50 mins)
Ashtead Common, Epsom Common & Princes Coverts Surrey

4.6 miles or 8.3 miles

2 hours to 3½ hours
An attractive and not strenuous hiking area, covering the Ashstead Common National Nature Reserve, Epsom Common, and, for a longer circuit, the Crown Estates woodland of Prince's Coverts. The nature reserve is immediately accessible on the north side of Ashstead station. The commons are crossed by several marked hiking trails. The suggested circuit is under 5 miles, if Prince's Coverts are not included. There is a pub by the A243 at the northwest point of the shorter circuit, which is where it connects to the second loop in Prince's Coverts, for the full circuit.
Walk description and map here  (pdf format)
Rail access : Ashstead station 41 mins from London Waterloo , or 45 mins from London Victoria
and North Downs

5.4 miles

2½ to 3 hours

A walk in an attractive rural location on the North Downs. Woldingham station is right in the country, and this walk is completely rural. It takes you past Woldingham school, set in its beautiful grounds, past the top of Godstone vineyard (extra spur off circuit), along part of the North Downs Way trail, through Great Church Wood nature reserve, and back to your departure point at the station.  A walk with its ups and downs.
Walk description and map here  (pdf format)
Rail access : Woldingham station 32 minutes from London Victoria
Epping forest, the Oak Trail Essex

6.6 miles

2½ hours
A 6.6 mile (10.6 km) circular hiking trail starting and finishing at the London underground station of Theydon Bois, on the Central Line. About half a mile of the trail is on the street, the rest of it in Epping forest or its glades. The circuit, marked by green waymarkers, takes in an iron age fort, reputedly the site of Boadecia's last stand against the Romans, and a deer park.
Theydon Bois station 35 minutes on the Central line (London Underground) from Liverpool Street or 48 minutes from Marble Arch
Thames Path  Berkshire / Buckinghamshire

Windsor-Henley is  23 miles
The Thames Path is a waymarked 184-mile National Trail that starts in London and goes all the way to the source of the Thames in Gloucestershire. For a short outing from London, walkers can start out on foot from Central London, and go as far as they wish, or can make it in a day or two. Alternatively take the train to Windsor, and walk west to Bourne End, Marlow or Henley which all have stations close to the trail
Windsor and Eton station is 22 minutes from Paddington via the fastest services. 1 change.
Bourne End station is 1h15 from Paddington via the fastest service, with a change at Maidenhead.
Henley on Thames station is a little over an hour from Paddington, with 1 or 2 changes

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Above: hiking trail in the Chilterns

Thames footpath
The Thames footpath at Marlow

Box Hill station

Box Hill station -  50 minutes from Waterloo

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Box Hill station photo by Designjeep
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