Author Topic: TR - Extended Chess Valley Walk (Watford to Chesham)  (Read 155 times)

PatrickJ

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 47
A few weeks back whilst walking around Latimer I saw signs posted up marking directions for the Chess Valley Challenge.   When I got home I googled this and found it was a charity event following the 10 mile Chess Valley walk running from Rickmansworth to Chesham.  I had the idea of extending it by starting at Cassiobury park (in Watford), just a few minutes from home and walking down the Grand Union Canal to Rickmansworth and then picking up the walk at it's starting point at the station.  I also intended to do the walk navigating solely by map and not using any walk guides to get some map reading practice in.

I estimated the distance to be around 15 miles (my longest hike to date) and given it wasn't circular my wife kindly agreed to come pick me up from Chesham, though I could have come back on the Met Line if she had been less inclined.




I set off from home just before 7 am.  A heron was out early fishing in the Gade as I walked down through the park to the canal.  Unfortunately I didn't get the chance for a photo as the dog started barking and scared him off.

In the early morning light of this fine Autumn day the canal was looking fine,  lots of birds going about their business in and out of the water.  About a mile out of Rickmansworth I cut over to the Ebury Way rather than continue down to the Batchworth Canal Centre.  This part of the Ebury Way passes through some lovely fishing lakes.

At the end of the Ebury Way it was a short walk through Rickmansworth town centre up to the underground station where the Chess Valley walk officially started.  Although the walk was advertised on a billboard there were no directions and I couldn't find the footpath shown on the map.  After walking around in circles I was forced to refer to the walking guide to find the starting point which was up a set of steps leading to a Waitrose supermarket.   Unfortunately this lack of clear sign-posting was a common theme along the walk!  Luckily a few of the directional signs from the organised event a few weeks ago remained and between them and the map I did manage to find my way with only a couple of mistakes.

The first part of the formal walk was quite disappointing.  It consisted of lots of enclosed footpaths with limited views and a short stretch that ran parallel to the M25.  However after crossing the M25 things improved significantly.  Chorleywod Common up to Latimer and just beyond was a lovely stretch of countryside running next to the River Chess and up into the Chiltern Hills.





I'd walked much of this stretch on previous weekends and its very pretty and to my knowledge Autumn is not the best time of year to visit the Chess Valley.  In the spring / early summer areas such as Frogmore Meadow are apparently teaming with wild flowers and wildlife.  I will need to come back next year and see for myself.











A little before Chesham, you pass through fields belonging to Blackhall farm.  Previously these have been empty but today they were full of cattle - after reading stories recently on this forum of aggressive cows and walkers being killed I was a little nervous, especially given the dog was barking at a rather large animal standing just by the PROW.

Signposting for the walk got particularly bad from this point onwards making navigating a little hard and a number of other walkers going in the opposite direction stopped me to check they were also on the right path.   I was particularly amused as I entered Chesham when I was stopped by a lady who assumed I was local, despite me being in FKW hiking gear complete with backpack and OS maps round my neck, asking for directions.

As I came into Chesham I found myself losing the official path due to lack of clear signs and walking along a road by a Ford dealership.   I was able to cut back in by a small weir and follow the path to a recreation ground with a large carpark just beyond wh
ere my wife was waiting in our van to carry my tired feet home.




A personal best for me in distance though it was largely flat and even on well defined paths.   Im not sure it is a walk Id repeat - the best bits are covered by other circular walks that I found more enjoyable but if for whatever reason I did have the urge Id look at not going all the way through to Rickmansworth but instead cut up via the Croxley Green Boundary Trail to the point it joins the Chess Valley Walk
« Last Edit: 22:26:42, 11/10/20 by PatrickJ »

Ridge

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8340
Re: TR - Extended Chess Valley Walk (Watford to Chesham)
« Reply #1 on: 07:33:19, 12/10/20 »
Nice O0  That map showing where the pictures were taken is clever.
I did some of that route last week, and will be doing it again tomorrow, including taking some of the same pictures.

PatrickJ

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 47
Re: TR - Extended Chess Valley Walk (Watford to Chesham)
« Reply #2 on: 11:35:05, 12/10/20 »
Nice O0  That map showing where the pictures were taken is clever.
I did some of that route last week, and will be doing it again tomorrow, including taking some of the same pictures.


The map was just some fancy Strava feature I didnt know it existed until I logged in to the website to grab a screen shot.


I recognised the little weir at Chesham from your picture in your post from a few days back :).  Nice to see some others from my local area on the forum- I love reading all about Snowdonia and the Lakes but it's nice to see some accessible content too.l as I dont know when I'll be able to get to those locations to hike.

fernman

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3060
Re: TR - Extended Chess Valley Walk (Watford to Chesham)
« Reply #3 on: 11:51:09, 13/10/20 »
Thanks PatrickJ for posting another report from my walking area. We are gaining ground on those who report from other regions!

You're lucky, though. I know how my wife would react if I asked her to pick me up from Chesham. I'd have been on the train to Harrow-on-the-Hill  :( .

PatrickJ

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 47
Re: TR - Extended Chess Valley Walk (Watford to Chesham)
« Reply #4 on: 12:09:15, 13/10/20 »
You're lucky, though. I know how my wife would react if I asked her to pick me up from Chesham. I'd have been on the train to Harrow-on-the-Hill  :( .


Haha - well let's just say that on the day her initial good will did waiver somewhat and it will probably be some time before I attempt another linear walk.