Gay Outdoor Club
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9 May 2015: Chorleywood Common & Chess Valley

14 Jun 2015 | Hertfordshire Group

Event route planned and designed by David W in 2014.

Weather: Initially overcast with one light shower, warm and sunny later. Windy.

Attendance: 12 men

Distance: 10.3 miles

Time: start 11:16, end 16:16. Lunch 30 minutes.

Terrain: grass field, pavement, road, woodland track, bridleway.

Elevation: start 107m, high 141m, low 67m

Number of sewage works on the route: 0

Number of golf courses on the route: 1


This was a circular route of 10.3mi from Chorleywood Common, NE to Chorleywood House Estate, N to Sarratt Church End, N to Dawes Common, N and E to Long Wood, S to Latimer, E to Chenies Bottom, E and SSE to Sarratt Bottom, SSE to Chorleywood House Estate, and SW to Chorleywood Common.

We started at Chorleywood Common, crossing it northwards where we had tree-lined walks with a few nice ponds, and a view of of the CofE Christchurch at the northern end. From here we entered the Chorleywood House Estate, which is a local nature reserve that has been awarded a Green Flag Award. More woodlands followed, with a beautiful array of bluebells. We then reached the River Chess and ascended a hill to the church at Sarratt.  The views from this point into the Chess Valley are quite remarkable, offering a lot to look at, each fold of land with its own texture and curvature.

Along the Chiltern Way, we went through Dawes Wood, its entrance marked with gates bearing animal carvings. Bluebells accompanied our route through the woods, here and we had a quick break on a bench, and took a group shot.

The area around Flaunden creates an impression of rich countryside, with most properties resembling the chocolate-box style of countryside living, former working families’ cottages now converted to posh mini-mansions for the relatively affluent middle-classes, complete with Audis & BMWs perched on their driveways.

Lunch took place in Long Wood.  From lunch, we continued to Latimer, where the houses just seemed to get even posher, turning eastbound alongside the River Chess.  This part of the river valley hosts a tomb for William Liberty.  Mr Liberty was a bricklayer who owned the estate and who wanted to be buried outside of a churchyard, for fear of not being able to find his bones at the resurrection.

The valley also hosts a jetty to view part of the Frogmore Meadows, a listed site of special scientific interest on grounds of being a rare habitat, managed by Herts & Middx Wildlife Trust.

From Sarratt Bottom, we re-traced the outbound route to return to the starting point, ending at the Rose & Crown pub.


Group shot at Dawes Wood
William Liberty's tomb

Words & pictures by Peter O'Connor and Martin Thornhill.

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