The Chilterns Cycleway, a project led by the Chilterns Conservation Board with support from The Chiltern Society and the CTC, is a 170 mile (274 km) circular route in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, linking attractions, market towns and places of interest.
The route is on-road, mostly on quiet lanes, and is clearly signposted.
To see an interactive map of Chilterns Cycleway, details of day rides, or to download sections of the route please click here (opens Chilterns AONB's Cycleway main page in an additional window).
Terrain and suitability of route
The Chilterns Cycleway is a 170 mile circular route passing right around the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Over 95% of the route is on-road (mostly following minor roads), with just a few sections following towpaths, surfaced cycle lanes and bridleways. Cyclists with slick road-bikes should be aware of the few unsurfaced sections which can be rutted and muddy and unsuitable for 'skinny' tyres; cyclists can either push their bikes along these sections or follow an on-road alternative (suggested alternatives are given in the guide book).
The Chilterns Hills are by definition hilly! The route is undulating with some steep climbs and descents in places. This, combined with the fact that there are a few busy sections of road along the route, makes it unsuitable for novices. Cyclists will need a reasonable level of fitness and experience of cycling on roads with traffic. There are rides suitable for novice and family cyclists in the Day Rides section (opens Chilterns AONB's Cycleway Day Rides in an additional window).
Although the Cycleway follows minor roads as much as possible, traffic can be heavy at rush-hour. We strongly advise you avoid cycling at rush-hour (7.00-9.30am and 4.00-6.30pm).
The Chilterns Cycleway guide book provides detailed route information for each section of the Cycleway, alerting cyclists to safety issues such as busy road junctions, sections which are especially prone to rush-hour traffic or very steep gradients.
The Chilterns Cycleway is circular and can be cycled in either direction (it is signposted both ways).
The route can be started at any point, but if you are coming from outside the Chilterns we would recommend starting the route at one of the gateway towns which offer an excellent range of facilities for cyclists (railway station, parking, bike shop, accommodation, pubs and shops). The gateway towns are Henley-on-Thames, Wallingford, Princes Risborough, Wendover, Tring, Amersham, Harpenden and Berkhamsted.
The Chilterns Cycleway is signed throughout, look out for the following:
Getting to the Chilterns
The area is fortunate to have excellent rail links, with regular rail services to London, Birmingham and nearby urban areas.
In general bikes can be carried on trains outside rush hour (from 10am to 4pm) and anytime at weekends and Public Holidays. For train times and details of cycle carriage call National Rail enquiries tel 08457 48 49 50 or visit www.nationalrail.co.uk (opens in an additional window).
Day Rides from Gateway Towns
There are a number of gateway towns situated along the Chilterns Cycleway which offer a selection of promoted day rides, both on-road and off-road.
Some of these rides incorporate sections of the Chilterns Cycleway, but many do not. They are offered as an adjunct to the Chilterns Cycleway for those wanting a different cycling experience, providing the opportunity to explore the Chiltern's fantastic network of bridleways and byways.
The day rides range from flat traffic-free routes for complete beginners to challenging off-road routes for experienced riders. All routes have been graded (easy, intermediate or advanced) to help you choose the right route. Some, but not all of these routes are signposted. Route maps and information for all these day rides can be downloaded by clicking on this link (opens Chilterns AONB's Cycleway Day Rides in an additional window).
There are sections of the Cycleway that make a really good two day break, staying overnight in B&B accommodation and providing a chance to sample some of the excellent food available in local pubs and restaurants.
• Chilterns Cycleway Southern Loop (2 days, 45 miles)
• Chilterns Cycleway Central Loop (2 days, 58 or 68 miles)
• Chilterns Cycleway Northern Loop (2 days, 65 miles)
For details please follow this link (opens Chilterns AONB's Cycleway Short Breaks in an additional window).