The core route of the Chiltern Way makes a 221km circuit (with 4141m ascent, just over three Ben Nevis climbs from Fort William) in a rough ellipse. From the conventional start at Hemel Hempstead station, the route takes in Chalfont St Giles, Hambleden and Ewelme. it then passes through (or close to) Princes Risborough, Stokenchurch and Dunstable before looping round the edges of Luton on its return to Hemel Hempstead.
Walkers should note that the route has been moved away from Junction 9 of the M1 to take advantage of the Nickey Line railbed walk through Harpenden and on to Redbourn. The old route is still to be found on maps, but the new route is available as a PDF document from the Chilterns Society: follow the Updates link from the main Chiltern Way page. Note that the logistics at the head of the “try the first stage” PDF link are out of date: a change of buses in Chesham is necessary.
Over the past two decades, three extensions have been created:
This extension (45km; 575m ascent) breaks off the main route north-west of Beaconsfield, and passing through Burchett’s Green and Henley-on-Thames to a point between Henley and Sonning Common. This extension is often called the Berkshire Loop, but it is not a loop and does not return to the core path: its endpoint is on the southern extension.
This extension (51km; 860m ascent) leaves the core route to the west of Maidensgrove, and makes for the River Thames at Mapledurham (picking up the end of the Berkshire extension on the way), leaving the river at Goring and rejoining the core route south-east of Ewelme.
This extension (44km; 608m ascent) takes a wider berth around Luton than does the core route, starting at Sharpenhoe Clappers and taking in Barton Hills, Great Offley, Chapelfoot and Whitwell before returning to the core route at Peter’s Green. A significant part of the extension borrows the route of the Icknield Way Trail and the Hertfordshire Way.