Exploring the Chilterns countryside
When I found out that I was going to help with the Chilterns project, I knew that I had to go cycling there to check the area out. After some research, I chose Amersham (a gateway town for the project) as a base because it has good transport links to London and some great routes too. In particular, there is a series of three heritage circular rides that start and end in Amersham.
I picked the Milton route as it goes right past the accommodation where my husband and I were staying. We had downloaded the route brochure, but as we had a GPS we also plotted it to make it easier to navigate. The brochure has a map as well as detailed turn by turn directions, so the GPS is not essential. Also the route is very well signposted by the colour-coded waymarkers, so all you need to do is keep an eye out for those and away you go!
The route explores the area south of Amersham and is approximately 25 miles long, but there are plenty of shortcuts marked on the map for those who'd prefer a shorter loop.
As we were on bikes with skinny tyres, we decided to take some of the on-road alternatives (still on quiet roads) to avoid the offroad paths recommended by the brochure (the offroad paths are fine to use during the summer months with a hybrid or mountain bike).
We meandered through the back streets of Amersham before heading out into the countryside. Not long after Little Chalfont, we passed by the Chilterns Open Air Museum on the on-road alternative. The COAM has a collection of historic buildings and a working traditional farm, and also offers workshops and living history events.
Shortly after the museum, we found a cafe at a local garden centre, where we stopped for cake and tea - one of my favourite excuses for going out on a bike ride. There are also plenty of pubs on the way, if you fancy a different kind of drink!
As the route goes through villages, there are quiet leafy roads to be enjoyed, while some of the busier roads have cycle paths alongside. It's hard to believe that you're so close to the hustle and bustle of London while cycling through the rolling farmland with grazing animals and wooded surroundings.
The route makes for a pleasant half day ride or a whole day if you wish to take in some of the tourist sights too. Amersham is accessible by tube from London and you can carry bikes on off-peak services or on the mainline railway.
Alternatively, you could make a whole weekend of it, spend more time in the Chilterns and try out some of the other heritage routes too.