The Chilterns and the Thames Valley

Local, Characterful Guides to Britain's Special Places

Book Description

This new title from Bradt forms part of its distinctive ‘Slow' travel series and is the only title available to cover the Chilterns and Thames Valley in depth. The area does not correspond to the specific boundaries of one county or region, old or new. Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire – and even a small part of Surrey all have a share. Included are iconic places such as Windsor, Eton and Runnymede, as well as the Meetings House in Jordans village, the burial place of Pennsylvania founder William Penn. Also included is Daws Hill, where US VII Air Force Bomber Command was stationed from February 1942.
Divided into seven easily manageable sections, Bradt's Chilterns and the Thames Valley lifts the lid on what makes this area so distinctive. Chalk grasslands, beech woods, streams and wooded valleys provide a perfect landscape for walking and are easily accessible from London. About half of the area has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the closest such area to London. Rare plants such as fleawort and numerous orchid varieties, and birds including red kites, lapwings and skylark flourish. The Thames Valley follows the route of one of the world's most famous rivers. You can find key sites of monarchical and parliamentary power, the location of Magna Carta's sealing at Runnymede and the birthplaces of men and women who have led dissent down the ages. A host of well-loved authors has lived and written here, depicting Paradise, defining our childhoods and painting timeless images of England and its people. Eminent chefs own restaurants with national and sometimes international reputations. The Chilterns and Thames Valley offers a wonderful blend of world-famous places and lesser-known gems, awaiting discovery.
In short, the Chilterns and the Thames Valley together represent a wonderfully paradoxical mixture of world-famous tourist sites and lesser-known attractions full of quirkiness and character. From Windsor Castle to Whipsnade Zoo, Britain's oldest road – The Ridgeway – to National Trust properties such as Waddesdon Manor and Hughenden, the Henley Regatta to the Grand Union Canal, Bradt's The Chilterns and the Thames Valley is the perfect companion.

About Matthews, Helen

Helen Matthews is Chilterns born and bred. She and Neil have lived in Prestwood, a south Buckinghamshire village in the heart of the Chilterns, since 1991. Neil won the ‘Best Unpublished' category of the Bradt/Independent on Sunday travel writing competition in 2008. He has since had travel articles published in Optima, Best of Britain, Wanderlust and elsewhere. Neil has written two books: Journeys from Wimbledon Common (2012), a travelogue exploring the places which gave the Wombles their names; and Victorians and Edwardians abroad (2016), a history of the Polytechnic Touring Association. Helen was a founder member of a local conservation group and has served on the local committee of the National Trust and as a member of Chiltern District Council.