While visiting friends in Hertfordshire it was a warm sunny day, so we had a walk on part of the Chess Valley Walk. Our friend is the vicar at St Lawrence Church in Bovingdon
so, before setting off for the walk we had a wander around the churchyard and I admired the invertebrate hotel which is under construction in the grounds. Mine is very small in comparison and constructed from a six-bottle wine box, not pallets.
The River Chess is a chalk stream. It arises in the Chiltern Hills and flows for 11 miles through Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire in Rickmansworth. We parked near Chenies Manor which was built in 1460 by Sir John Cheyne it soon became the seat of the Dukes of Bedford. It was closed on the day we were there, but you can visit and it is also a wedding venue. The Chess Valley Walk is 10 miles. We walked a section of it along paths and some lanes.
We passed some horses in fields but also saw some ragwort in nearby fields. It is toxic for horses.
The walk passes through Frogmore Meadow which is a nature reserve. There are wildflower meadows
and further on, farmland.
Historically, the water of the River Chess, together with the fertile land, was ideal for growing watercress. This industry flourished in both Chesham and Rickmansworth in the Victorian era and supplied London. It was transported on the newly constructed Metropolitan Railway. Today the only working watercress beds are at Moor Lane, Sarratt which we passed. In 2014, persistent overflows from Chesham Sewage Treatment Works forced the watercress farm to cease sales, and to continue operation the farm now uses well water. We could not see the watercress fields from the path but this was close to them.
After a cold beer in the grounds of a nearby inn we returned to Chenies to pick up the car and return to our friends’ home.